Prudence Memorial Park LLC was created to shape and preserve a natural area for the benefit of the natural environment, provide a final resting place for members of the Prudence Island community, establish a natural burial ground option for the general public, and to offer a place for quiet reflection for future generations of visitors.
Sharing a common interest in creating a natural burial ground on Prudence Island, Robin Weber and Lauren Jenness formed a partnership to realize that dream. We are third and fourth generation Prudence Islanders who are very tied to this small island community and, having investigated different strategies for moving forward with this project, decided that the formation of a limited liability corporation (LLC) was the most straight-forward mechanism for organization at the start of this endeavor. Although future organization structure may change, it is our intent to ensure sustainability of this burial ground in perpetuity.
Prudence Memorial Park, LLC utilizes a five-member Advisory Board to provide a wide array of skills and interests that help to direct us to meet our stated goals and make this natural burial ground a truly unique and special place.
For additional background information regarding the establishment of this natural burial ground, see Lauren's thesis document (Return to Your Roots: A feasibility study of a natural burial ground on Prudence Island, Rhode Island).
Prudence Memorial Park will be maintained and managed to increase the biodiversity of native species while limiting disturbance to the land and is intended to provide a peaceful, ecologically rich, and fitting memorial to those buried here.
Prudence Memorial Park will be operated exclusively as a natural or green burial cemetery in full compliance with RI General Law. Practices and policies will conform to the guidelines set forth by the Green Burial Council (GBC), who regulates Green Burial Standards for natural cemeteries in the United States. By these standards, a natural burial ground requires the adoption of practices/protocols that are energy-conserving, minimize waste, and do not require the use of toxic chemicals. Specific practices include:
Individuals who wish to purchase burial rights in Prudence Memorial Park will be required to formally agree to abide by the established Prudence Memorial Park Rules and Regulations which are designed to reflect these Green Burial Council standards for a natural burial ground.
This section of the website is intended to help individuals learn about the specific features of Prudence Memorial Park and, perhaps, to choose this cemetery for their final resting place.
Four general areas of the park (e.g. Grand View, Wildflower Meadow, Woodland Corner, and The Grove) are identified for full body burials and the interment of cremated remains. The purchase of burial rights is available to everyone regardless of their faith. These four general areas are intended to accommodate individual preferences for interment in differing habitat types (e.g. open meadow, open/closed woodland) so the actual boundaries of these areas are not pre-set and may expand or contract over time in previously unutilized sections (through the addition/removal of trees and shrubs) to accommodate the most and least popular sections.
The veteran’s only section is reserved for individuals who served in the U.S. Armed Forces who elect to be buried there. This area is situated adjacent to the park’s sole permanent pathway so that ready identification of the location will persist and provide an opportunity to honor these individuals into the future.
Before any area is used for burials, the land is will be maintained relatively free of brush, saplings, and fallen trees and branches. As the burial plots are filled, trees and other vegetation will be planted or allowed to regenerate naturally following the succession process of the ecosystem.
Prudence Memorial Park includes an area for the scattering of cremated remains. Located near the center of the park, the Scattering Garden spans the boundary between woodland and meadow and is adjacent to a modest depression in which moisture loving plant species will be incorporated. The area surrounding the Scattering Garden will support the greatest diversity of native plant species; making this location well suited for this purpose.
In this setting, ‘scattering’ cremated remains involves gently distributing the ashes over a small area of ground away from the walking path. The ashes are then gently raked in and covered with dry leaves or other organic debris. By spreading ashes in the Scattering Garden, rather than on private land, family and friends can return to this place over time as a form of remembrance.
As the property owner, Prudence Memorial Park, LLC is responsible for on-going care of the property. As the property is a natural burial ground, this obligation necessitates some activities that differ from those that are more customary in a conventional cemetery. Ongoing maintenance ensures that the burial ground continually serves as a revered place for the disposition for human remains and provides an opportunity for quiet reflection and remembrance. It also involves ensuring that, over time, the ecological values of the land are protected and restored.
To restore the natural ecology of the park, a variety of native plants will be incorporated to enhance biodiversity, provide multi-season forage and shelter for wildlife, and provide year-round visitor interest. Active control of nuisance and non-native plant species will also be implemented using mechanical means or natural non-chemical herbicides as necessary to ensure that these species do not have an opportunity to spread and crowd out native plants. Prudence Memorial Park will be generating a Land Management Plan to identify specific strategies to be implemented on the property to achieve ecological goals.
The 3.2-acre natural burial ground is located at on the southern end of Prudence Island’s highest ridgeline, which overlooks the East Passage of Narragansett Bay.
Prudence Island is accessible by ferry. The Prudence Ferry has its off-island terminal at Church Street Wharf in Bristol, RI with the on-island ferry landing located near the intersection of Pier Rd and Narragansett Avenue on Prudence Island. Visit Prudence & Bay Islands Transport for scheduling and reservation information.
To visit Prudence Memorial Park, visitors to the island should travel south (left) from the ferry on Narragansett Avenue for approximately 1.25 miles, then turn west (right) on Broadway. The park is located at the top of the hill.
Parking for access to park trails and burial sites will be limited to roadside parking on the east side of Alden Avenue and the north side of Hornbine Avenue. Due to limited visibility for passing drivers on the crest of the hill, roadside parking will not be encouraged or permitted on Broadway.
The park is open to the public from dawn to dusk. Visitors are asked to respect the sanctity of the land and the goal of maintaining a natural setting.