Whispering Hills hosts Earth Day fair

Published 8:30 am Wednesday, April 24, 2024

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On Saturday, Whispering Hills Natural Green Cemetery and Memorial Nature Preserve hosted an informational fair in honor of Earth Day.

The “Down to Earth Fair,” featured talks from forestry experts, master gardeners and conservationists, as well as exhibits from environmentalist groups like Chattahoochee Riverkeeper and the Sierra Club.

Because Whispering Hills serves as a unique final resting place, financial and estate planners were also available to share and advise those planning end-of-life matters.

Exhibitors included the Native Plant Coalition, the University of Georgia and Troup County Master Gardeners and 4H, the Middle Chattahoochee Sierra Club, Chattahoochee Riverkeeper, Ujima Tribe, Willowood Garden, Campen Estate Planning, Element Home Loans, Grace Transitions, Higgins Funeral Home, Whispering Hills and Edward Jones.

Local experts gave talks on a wide variety of nature topics such as Native Plant Conservation from Ashley Desensi and Forest Management from Sam Breyfogle.

Attorney Daniel Campen provided information on Holistic Estate and End-of-Life Planning. Jeffrey Higgins, of Higgins Funeral Home, gave a talk on Personalizing Your Natural Burial Service.

Other speakers included Kim Poer (Enriching the Life to Death Transition), Ray Evanson (Empowering Your Golden Years) and Steve Boatner (Planning for the Future).

One of the speakers, Sam Breyfogle, explained that while Whispering Hills does its best to keep the forest natural, it still needs to be maintained.

“Forests change whether we do anything or nothing, so it’s important that Whispering Hills puts a little hand on the tiller so to speak to make sure that their forest is still accessible to patrons and loved ones that want to come inter their family members,” Breyfogle said. “Otherwise, forests kind of grow into rambles and brambles if not well managed.”

It’s important to consider the use when managing a forest. Whispering Hills kind of turns things on their head, he said.

“Most owners want to manage for timber or for a wildlife habitat. But this forest is managing for internment,” Breyfogle said, saying he would classify it as recreation as most people a Whispering Hills would be visiting loved ones.

Timber is also not part of the plans for Whispering Hills. They might cut some trees down for forest health issues but not to sell timber, he said.

“They are protecting the place. That’s what’s really exciting and phenomenal about what’s going on here is that this place could have been easily turned into subdivision rather than a nice open forest,” Breyfogle said.

Whispering Hills is a 20-acre natural cemetery inside a 140-acre nature preserve off of Mooty Bridge Road. The preserve features a forest, streams, horses and pastures, picnic spots, walking and riding trails and beautiful meadows. More than 100 individuals and families have chosen Whispering Hills as part of a movement toward natural cemeteries and burials.

For more information on Whispering Hills Natural Green Cemetery and Memorial Nature Preserve, call (706) 884-7435 or visit www.whisperinghillspreserve.com.