Category: Stewardship

Climate Action & Sustainability Plan

July 1, 2021

If we genuinely care about future generations, we must act now to protect planet Earth. The effects of climate change are clear, and it will take all working together to reduce the devastating damage happening here at home and around the globe. It is time for bold action!

Mount Auburn took a new bold step in June 2021 with the formal adoption by the Board of Trustees of a Climate Action and Sustainability Plan. The ambitious goals outlined in this new Plan aim to make the Cemetery carbon neutral by the year 2050 while also addressing broader environmental, social, and economic concerns. The Plan builds upon decades of ecologically sensitive best practices to further reduce the impacts of Mount Auburn’s landscape maintenance, burial, and cremation activities. The Plan also outlines goals to create a resilient and healthy ecosystem that benefits Mount Auburn’s flora and fauna while ensuring that all staff and visitors are valued, respected, and engaged. Lastly, the Plan makes an institutional commitment to align our financial investments with our values and the environmental and social stances we support. Ultimately, this Plan is about reducing what we take while increasing what we give back to the planet and the community.

The formal adoption of a Climate Action and Sustainability Plan marks the achievement of a significant milestone in Mount Auburn’s broader 18-Month Strategic Bridge Plan. With initiatives organized into three themes – Openness and Welcome, Beauty and Serenity, and Stewardship and Sustainability – the Bridge Plan will strengthen Mount Auburn’s core mission and build a foundation to support its future aspirations.


Achieve carbon neutrality by 2050.

Build resilience to environmental stress by increasing the biodiversity of Mount Auburn’s plant collections.

Create healthy conditions for urban wildlife.

Connect the community with Mount Auburn’s landscape through thoughtful educational programming and increased volunteer opportunities.

Inspire individuals, peer organizations, and communities to be sustainable by sharing our knowledge and celebrating our successes.


May the Lichens be with You!

June 29, 2021

By Lawrence Millman

If flowers are commonly placed on a loved one’s final resting place, why shouldn’t lichens be allowed to reside on that loved one’s gravestone? After all, a lichen on a gravestone occupies a branch on the tree of life considerably closer to the branch occupied by that loved one than a chrysanthemum. Plus, that lichen could have an aesthetic quality similar to an attractive mosaic.


Environmental Stewardship

June 1, 2021

Did you know that Mount Auburn is considered a model of environmental stewardship? Over three decades, the Cemetery has secured cleaner energy sources, established a sustainable grounds maintenance plan, and introduced greener burial and cremation services. Now, the Cemetery is working towards its most ambitious goal: carbon-neutrality by 2050.

Learn more about our current practices and our future goals below.


Electronics Recycling 2020

February 1, 2020

January 22 – 25th was the third year of our three-day effort titled “Clean Up, Clear Out & Repurpose” which culminated in Saturday’s public electronics recycling event.

We set aside a day for staff to organize their office – they set aside items of interest to the archives and organize paper documents for shredding and recycling. Everyone participated by joining us for a pizza lunch, including our grounds crew.

Company Electronics Recycling

On Friday employees and volunteers were invited to drop off their personal electronic items to be recycled along with items that Mount Auburn was recycling. Staff volunteered to host the drop off during the day, and the IT department brought our recycling up from storage along with batteries that the company had collected for recycling.

Eighth Annual Electronics Recycling Event Open to the Public

On Saturday January 25th, we invited the public to bring their electronics for recycling at the Operations Center parking area on Cottage Street from 10:00AM-1:00 PM. All materials were picked up by Northeast Material Handling. The rain held off and the weather was comfortable. Issac Ahanmisi, IT Associate , Jessica Bussmann, Director of Education and Visitor Services; Corinne Elicone, Events and Outreach Coordinator; and Greg Ghazil, Preservation Supervisor turned out to host the event with me and volunteer Caleb Stewart.

This eight year attracted even larger attendance. An estimated 70 vehicles delivered items on Saturday. The oddest items coming to our collection this year: an exhaust system, a bed frame and a check embosser. We filled 17 pallets which required two truck runs to clear, that’s up from 13 pallets in 2019 for an estimated 4,250 lbs of recycling.

This effort was sponsored by Mount Auburn’s Sustainability Working Groups under the leadership of Paul Kwiatkowski, Wildlife Conservation & Sustainability Manager and by the Information Technology Department at Mount Auburn.


17 bins of electronic equipment:

~4250 lbs, 707 items recycled

~500 lbs of scrap metal

70 lbs of alkaline batteries

#1 item recycled: 70 Laptop Computers