There are cute, fuzzy animals cleaning up the Vale Cemetery in Schenectady. Vale Cemetery is one of only six certified green burial sites in the country. Vale is the only one in New York state. They use sheep each year just before winter to clean up the natural plots.
What is a Green Burial Site?
This is more of an all-natural burial. There are no chemicals used on the body like embalming fluids and the body is not cremated. The body is simply put in a biodegradable coffin or just a shroud without a vault made from concrete. The main objective of a green burial is to completely decompose the body so it can return to the earth naturally according to Funeral Consumers Alliance.
Why are sheep used to clean up the cemetery?
The sheep are brought in to naturally clean up the grounds. They arrive after the first frost of the year. They eat the weeds, wilted flowers, and grass in order to tidy up the Vale Cemetery just before winter. Dirk Schubert who is the sheep herd manager for the State University of New York College of Agriculture and Technology at Cobleskill talks about the goals of using the sheep:
They’re a nice zero-fossil fuel mower for us to use here on the site. They’ll probably spend maybe two, hour-and-a-half, two hours right now going around eating and then they’ll kind of go lay down, take a nap, digest a little bit for an hour, hour-and-a-half again, and then they’ll get up after that and eat some more.
Wouldn't it be great to hire some sheep?
This story got me thinking of how cool it would be to hire these sheep. Wouldn't it be funny to have them dropped off on your lawn a couple of times a month and that's how you mowed your lawn? I know it would take a while, but how adorable would that be?