By Heather Janssen

PLACER COUNTY (CBS13) — A Placer County cemetery hopes to provide life after death, by healing the planet while honoring loved ones who have passed away.

The new location is dedicated to “green burial” and is one of only a handful in the state.

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It hopes to be a place of peace and respite. For Jorge Flores, who lives near Antioch, it’s exactly what his nature-loving mother wanted.

“Trees, nature, sun. Peaceful and relaxing – that’s what she used to love,” Flores said. “My mother probably would say – I love nature. I was born in nature, I will die in nature.”

Morgan Oaks Eternal Preserve in Placer County is where his mother, Lutgarda Flores, is buried. Her final resting spot signifies life after loss, with a tree memorial planted in her honor.

“She was a wonderful woman,” Flores said.

Lutgarda Flores was the first to be buried at the sustainable cemetery, but won’t be the last. Morgan Oaks’ general manager, Juan Martinez, helped green burial get its start in the Sacramento region.

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“I see the change in the culture, especially in California,” Martinez said. “The idea here is to minimize our carbon footprint, to minimize the cremation rate in California right now.”

With 160 acres of land, the brand-new cemetery is among the few in the state dedicated entirely to the cause. A goal of preserving the planet, with no casket contamination and eliminating the need for embalming. Everything is biodegradable.

“We’re not polluting the ground here,” Martinez said. “We’re not putting anything toxic in the ground that’s going to release into the groundwater. It’s all just natural.”

Describing it more as a park than a cemetery, Martinez hopes it’s serene and sustainable. For Flores, it is.

“If I was to pick a place for myself,” Flores said. “I’d probably do the same thing.”

Flores hopes it’s an environment he can set foot in for years to come.

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At Morgan Oaks, staff say interest has grown tremendously in the green burial process. Martinez said many have come forward to say this is what they’d like done for them, too, when they pass.

Heather Janssen