Pushing up Daisies: An Expert's Guide to a Green Death - Atlas Obscura

Bala Cynwyd, Pennsylvania

Pushing up Daisies: An Expert's Guide to a Green Death

Learn about 'death positivity' and green funerary practices in the historic West Laurel Hill Cemetery.

Death, like taxes, is inevitable. And despite this inevitability, anxieties about our eventual demise are often reflected in traditional funerary practices (embalming, metal caskets, and concrete-lined burial vaults) that can be harmful to the ecosystem. So how could, or does, a less fearful approach to end-of-life wishes actually work as a boon to our environment? 

Join Atlas Obscura for a fascinating introduction to the death positivity and green funerary movements at beautiful West Laurel Hill Cemetery, one of the only certified green burial sites in the region. At this event you will explore cultural understandings of death, as well as how traditional funerary preparations impact both dead bodies and the planet. Amy Cunningham, owner of Fitting Tribute Funeral Services in Brooklyn, will outline what makes a "green" burial green and contextualize why these practices are gaining traction, along with the death positivity movement.

You'll also tour West Laurel Hill's "Nature's Sanctuary" and hear from Family Services Representative Michele Meckler and Funeral Director Patricia Quigley about the cemetery's take on green funerals and burials: trading embalming and concrete vaults for burial containers that maintain and protect natural habitats. The hosts will outline the various choices that can be made at each step of the death care process to limit waste, reduce the carbon footprint, and even nourish the local ecosystem.


  • Use the address 221 Belmont Ave., if you are using GPS. Guests who are driving should enter via Belmont Avenue and follow signs leading to the Conservatory,
  • Ample parking available at the Conservatory. 
  • Guests walking on the Cynwyd Heritage Trail can enter via the Barmouth trailhead and follow the signs to the Conservatory.
  • Event will be held rain or shine. If dangerous weather occurs, we will update all ticket holders on status and refund if we need to cancel for safety concerns.
  • Keep in mind there is a beautiful, short (about 6-8 minute) walk from the Conservatory to Nature's Sanctuary on paved paths.  


Email Sadie Francis at sadie.francis@atlasobscura.com.

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Advance ticket sales only. All ticket sales are final. No refunds or exchanges.