Headstones provide a small glimpse into history as you walk through cemeteries around the world. Seeing the names, birth and death dates and the small captions engraved into the beautiful stone can give you an idea of what that person's life was like. Was he or she a parent? Did he or she die as a child? Did he or she have an impact on many people's lives?
Unfortunately, time and the natural elements can be very damaging to headstones and cemeteries, but you can help keep the final resting places of perfect strangers and/or your loved ones in good condition by getting involved with cemetery preservation.
Document the Grounds
Take a day each month to stroll through the cemetery of your choice. As you walk through the cemetery, take note and pictures of things that could present a problem with the integrity, cleanliness and safety of the grounds.
To make this easier, ask for a map of the cemetery. You can use this to jot down issues that you find and easily direct management where you have found an issue that needs to be addressed.
If you find headstones that are falling, breaking or have already fallen to the ground, take a picture and show the groundskeeper. The longer the headstones remain in disrepair, the more difficult it could be to get them properly fixed.
Take a look at all of the plant-life that you find. Some of those plants could hold some historical significance and should be protected. If you see plants that are being damaged by insects, take a picture and let the groundskeeper know. If left untreated, these plants could soon die.
Identify Safety Issues
Headstones, monuments and even trees can pose a safety issue in a cemetery. If you find any of these that seem unstable, take note and notify the groundskeeper as soon as possible.
If you see any bee's nests, snakes, bugs or spiders that could potentially be poisonous, let the groundskeeper know. These creatures could actually cause injuries to people visiting or cause headstones to fall because they may be burrowing through the ground under the headstone.
Inspect the base of trees, shrubs and bushes that may be growing directly beside headstones. These plants can grow roots under the headstones that could eventually begin to damage them.
Taking a day each month to contribute to conserving your local cemetery can be rewarding, educational and will serve the families of those who have passed, as well as maintains the integrity, beauty and history of the cemetery.