'In Conversation With' Florence Jaquet

Webinar Recording

Pushing Up Daisies the Natural Way

Florence Jaquet heads up FJLA (Florence Jaquet Landscape Architect) - a practice specializing in Cemetery Design and Planning. With a special interest in Natural Burials, Florence has been responsible for more than 70 cemetery projects, both here and overseas.

In this webinar on Natural Burials Florence discussed:

  • Understanding the differences between traditional and natural burials from the ground up
  • Guidelines around what is considered a natural burial and how they differ around the world
  • The importance of understanding how natural burials perform a role of ecological restoration
  • The difficulty and frustrations of not having any legislation to support natural burials in Australia

Transcript

John Haley

All right, well, thank you everybody for joining me for today's event, which is the latest in our conversation with series. Today, I'm going to be with Florence Jaquet, who I'll introduce for properly in just a moment. But before I do, just a couple of points of detail. We'll be talking with Florence today for around 30 minutes and there will be a nice chunk of time at the end for questions. So to that end, please do submit anything you'd like to hear more about or that you'd like Florence to address, punch that into the Q&A section, if you would. There's also a chat section. We do have some colleagues who will be monitoring that. So just try and keep the questions to the Q&A so that it makes a little bit easier for me to identify where they are at the end, if you could.

John Haley

Today's event is going to be recorded and we'll be distributing copies of those recordings, as we always do, along with some supporting materials to anybody who's registered. And if there's anybody, you know, who you think would be interested in today's event or would benefit from it in any way, then please pass those recording details around to anyone that you think might be interested in.

John Haley

So my name's John Haley and I'm part of the ANZ team here at OpusXenta. And I'm going to be hosting today's event for you all. And it's my very great pleasure to now introduce you to my guest and today's featured speaker Florence Jaquet from F.J.L.A Florence Jaquet Landscape, you can see a little bit about Florence on screen at the moment. But, Florence, thank you very much for joining us today. We really appreciate your time. Y

Florence Jaquet

Yeah, good morning, John. Thanks very much for having me.

John Haley

No, thank you. I'm really quite looking forward to today's one. When you and I caught up before to, you know, do a little bit of planning and that type of stuff. I found that, frankly, I found it really riveting, to be honest. And I know some of my colleagues that were on that same call expressed the same thing. So I think we've got a pretty good set of content for you ahead today. And Florence is, as it says here: an immensely talented and credentialed speaker and landscape specialists in this area. Some of you will have encountered her. She's spoken on various cemetery and crematorium events and things in the past as well. And today, of course, Florence, we're going to be talking about pushing up daisies the natural way. And you told me when we when we first caught up that there was there was a French term that kind of inspired this, I think.

Florence Jaquet

Yes, in French we say manger les pissenlits par la racine, which means eating the dandelions from the roots, which, you know, gives you a picture basically, you're lying there in your hole and looking up and all you can see is dandelions, big tap roots coming towards you. Yeah, it's interesting. I looked up to see what it meant because I've heard the same expression in English, you know, pushing up daisies, in English it comes from supposedly a poem about the war in the First World War and where there was daisies on the on the graves in the fields. But in France, it's attributed to Victor Hugo, apparently in Les Misérables that obviously I haven't read very well because I do not remember that at all. And that's where it comes from.

John Haley

Oh, very good. I like that. And I suppose we'll kick off too with the obvious one. So today we're going to be talking about natural burials in particular, and hence the pushing up dandelions or eating the dandelions from the roots, pushing up the daisies. I suppose the obvious one is what, what is a natural burial? What is the difference?

Florence Jaquet

Yes, if we look at, you know, the traditional one and let's start from from from the top down, so if you look at this, look at my little note, I don't miss anything.

Florence Jaquet

But if you if you look at the traditional one on the top, you would have either flower arrangements of some sort. You'd have a headstone, a sign that's usually stone, polished, would have come from unsustainable sources probably transported at great cost from either India or China or somewhere, on top of that, you would have on the more flat parts, you'd have either more stone or you'd have a lawn area, which is highly manicured.

Florence Jaquet

Which requires, obviously, petrol driven equipment...

John Haley

The mowing, the edging...

Florence Jaquet

You have you have deep graves, they can go up to three deep, and then when you look at the casket itself, it is often varnished. It will have metal handles, it will have plastic lining or even lead lining and when you look at the body, the person might be buried into synthetic material or cloth or clothes and they might even be embalmed. So when you look at the natural way, well, this is exactly the opposite. So you start again from the bottom, this coming back up, you'd have a body that if it is dressed, it's it's dressed in natural fibered clothes. It's certainly not embalmed. The coffin would have to be made out of natural product. So either a timber that is not varnished or wicker or a shroud, the shallow graves tend to be no more than two. In England, they recommend only one deep, because they see that the decomposition as nutrients to to the ground and adds to the cycle of growing. In Australia, we're going to be a bit more careful about how much nutrients we feed our native plants because they don't like it. So I am not against going down to two and I think that once you disturb the soil anyway, there's air and water that goes down that will help with the decomposition. So I'm not opposed to it at all.

Florence Jaquet

And then when you go to the top, you're back at the surface now. And the surface is is as natural lowest  strata that you would find normally in in wherever you are, so it would be whatever grasses grow there, it's not a lawn that's manicured, kept to a certain level. You would have sometimes no individual markers or just a stone, a natural stone that hasn't been milled or sawn, or you would have a biodegradable timber marker or sometimes if you have nothing, you would have either a GPS that is buried in the grave with you or you'd have... They found also that the GPS can be a little bit difficult to track once you have too much mulch over the top, the signal doesn't work very well. So sometimes they do two metal rods, one at the head and one of them at the feet. And you come with a metal detector, and you might have if you've got no markers whatsoever, then you might have a sign at the entrance of the ground with your name engraved or with a small block.

Florence Jaquet

So it really looks it's a philosophy, really. It sort of tried to look obviously at minimizing your your carbon footprint. It looks at not using any chemicals in the process. It looks at not using even powered, you know, equipment during the process. So in England, sometimes they even have horse drawn carriages, as you see on the picture, people carrying the coffin rather than want to take anything that is driven by petrol, you know, as a philosophy, you take it as far as you like.

John Haley

And I guess within that, too, is there, it's such a broad term, as you've said, that, you know, it can be as as completely natural as you want it to be or, you know, somewhat, somewhat less, less so. Is that any type of standard or framework around what it means to call, call something a natural burial?

Florence Jaquet

Well, there are guidelines which have been produced by ACCA, for example, they looked at it and I think it was 2008 and started the natural burial guidelines. So that's available to ACCA members. It tries to define it but there is no regulating body. In England they're a little bit more organized and they have a lot more members actually have an association with members, and they've got 300 plus natural burials over there, in the States as as they often are quite driven by systems they do it very well and they have an organization that regulates it, so you can't call yourself a natural burial area if you haven't met the key criteria, which I think is is really important. If you look at what we're doing here or even what's being done overseas in places I've visited, places which were mown lawn with just indigenous trees and this is called a natural burial. I've had places where it's only the actual process of burial that is natural, not necessarily what happens at the surface.

Florence Jaquet

So, yes, I think there's there's room to tighten it a little bit and to improve.

John Haley

It's a bit more of a moveable feast from a standards point of view.

Florence Jaquet

Yes people sort of state things and it's difficult to manage because there's always pulls in different directions and depending on where there is OH&S issues, because, you know, the equipment has to be this to protect your workers or whether it's an affordability issue, whether it's, you know, you haven't got a forest to like we have here in this beautiful setting and you need to start it from scratch. There's a lot of obstacles in the way. So people might choose a lesser version that suits their particular bit.

John Haley

But it's at least at least a start and a place to build from, I suppose.

Florence Jaquet

That's right. Yeah.

John Haley

And I guess, you know, you mentioned just then the pictures we got on screen at the moment are you know, some really beautiful forest type settings. But of course, living here in Australia, there is a wide diversity of environments, of course. And, you know, when we spoke last time, you talked about some of the some of the concept of an ecological vegetation class, I think I got that right from my notes.

Florence Jaquet

Yes.

Florence Jaquet

Yes. So basically, you know, I'd I'd like to see that the natural burial is there to perform a role of ecological restoration. You know, that's where the potential is. It's great to do it the natural way, as we call it, the natural way and to minimise your footprint. But we really need to be not just talking about not trying to be negative. We have to try to be positive in the climate sort of impact that we have.

Florence Jaquet

So in restoring the ecology and in producing something that would normally be in the environment that you're you know, you're there. I mean, we do work all over Australia. So obviously the vegetation there differs a great deal. But what is great about ecology is that botanists are extremely organized people I'm not one, but botanists and ecologists are extremely efficient and extremely organized. So they've classified the entire country into little subcategories.

Florence Jaquet

So you have you know, you would be familiar with the type of ecology we would be talking about, you know, the rainforests and the grasslands. And, you know, there's very broad terms like this but when you look at the state level, there's the ecological vegetation classes or communities which are called EVC for short, which the ecologists use. So they would go on the site and assess the vegetation and it's likely to fit in with one of these categories.

Florence Jaquet

So if I take, for example, Victoria, in Victoria we have about twenty eight different classes. So one might be the western basalt plain, the other one might be the grassland or whatever.

John Haley

And I think I live in Gippsland Plains or something.

Florence Jaquet

It was something.

John Haley

Yeah, something like that.

Florence Jaquet

Something like that.

Florence Jaquet

So if you take the Western Plains, for example, within that there's 70 different subcategories. And to you and I, they don't look that different but to the botanist, they do it just it's all into the fine detail. So all of that to say that if you wanted to have a list of plants that you should be planting in your area, there is plenty of material out there to guide you and you won't be able to find a whole range of it but if you were to restore at least the more common of those, the most available on the market, of those, you would be able to restore the ecology and make a positive impact. And that's where I think the natural burial has got room to move.

John Haley

And  drawing out of that. You know, when we, you mentioned to me this concept of a bio banking or again, I think they've changed the term for it fairly recently. But the idea that there is almost a carbon offset trading scheme that you can start to tap into here as well, is that right?

Florence Jaquet

Yeah, that's right, for example, in the work that we've done in New South Wales, we've we've done some sites and we've used the concept of natural burials in areas where there is protected vegetation. So when it is actually protected, it is it gets a lot more a lot trickier because you you might have very stringent legislation around it. So let's say in in New South Wales, for example, one of the vegetation that's often encountered on a site is the Cumberland Plain Woodlands.

Florence Jaquet

And there's very little left of it. So the legislation is very strict and you have to protect it and you are obliged to to safeguard it. And if you happen to impact on it for whatever reason, then you have to offset that impact somewhere else. And it is the same in Victoria in some form. So let's say you remove one tree that normally is protected, you might be asked to replace it by 4, 15, 20 of something, something else or of the same.

Florence Jaquet

So there is this offset scheme, but there's also the bio banking thing so you can also, if you've got the land, receive or be the receptor for somebody else's scheme and therefore get income from that. So if you've got the opportunity to plant something, then somebody who needs to offset something else on their side can pay you and you can then develop either a forest, a meadow or whatever. And I think there's a lot more opportunities to do that and work with the legislation to to make that happen, because that has a huge positive impact again.

Florence Jaquet

And it should be something that you are allowed to to use yourself. So where I come to grief, for example, with the Cumberland Plain Woodland, is that the legislation is so tight. I think I talked to you last time about it, it's frustrating because there is potential to do good, but it is stopped by a little bit too much bureaucracy. If the Cumberland Plain woodland is considered to be so protected that the legislation requires you to fence it off and nobody can go in there, and it's just to me, it's like saying, oh, you should go to the Alpine Region it is fantastic. Sorry, you're staying at the boundary and you are not going to come in.

John Haley

So you could look at it with some binoculars.

Florence Jaquet

So you can look at it from the photos that are on the border at the entrance. No, it really needs to be experienced. So when we've done, for example, a natural burial in an area of Cumberland Plain woodland, my point was to the Department of Environment was, look, we are going to restore it. The whole point of the natural burial is that we are going to restore it. We are keeping all of the protected trees, it happened that the understory of all these trees was totally mangled and butchered because it was trampled by cows and it had been agistment for many, many years. So there was nothing of the low flora left. And this is where the natural barrier was an opportunity to restore that. You dig someone and you do your burial and then on top, you sprinkle some seeds of something that should have been there. So we are restoring it and know the answer that I got was by creating burials in a patch of protected Cumberland Plain woodland, I was going against the aim of the protection, which is conservation. So even though I was conserving and improving it, no to them, I was digging a hole and I was therefore damaging it. So I had to consider that by pursuing this natural burial area on that patch. I was forced to offset it somewhere else. And I had to go and find a space four times the size and replant it somewhere else because I was seen to have damaged that particular patch.

Florence Jaquet

And to me, it defies logic. To me that patch would have been the opportunity for us to generate some income to restore this ecology to what it was and what it should have been.

John Haley

Like I guess that feeds back into what you are saying before about the lack of any really meaningful standards and the opportunity to advocate around that. Is that the same globally? You touched on, on the UK a little bit as well. Are we encountering these same sorts of challenges overseas in places like the US?

Florence Jaquet

Yes, yes, the US to be a member, they're called the Green Burial Council, to be accredited you need to own and manage, you need to be a non-profit - and your main goal has to be conservation. So you won't cut it if you just have a few trees with lawn burials or just a lawn burial underneath and I think I told you about a project in New South Wales which won an award, which basically was that. And, you know, everybody thought, oh, that's a brilliant idea but no, to me, it's not a natural burial. If you're going to have to come with mowers and continue to make it a manicured site as you would in in another type of landscape cemetery, then it is not truly natural in my eyes. So conservation is at the forefront in in the UK, not necessarily it's not as stringent, but the two that I found to be that I visited in England that I found to be really interesting were two that with trying to improve what had been a neglected forest so, and they were both in the vicinity of London or in the outskirts of London, and both of them were on private property on these very large mansions and hadn't been looked after and one of them, for example, was really interesting because it was it was the old forest that used to produce the wood for the bakers in London.

John Haley

Oh, really.

Florence Jaquet

For a very specific purpose. And it was let go and it was infested with weeds and there was really very little ecology left in there. It was a monoculture so what they did was to restore that, these trees that they use are often trees that coppice. So you chop them back and then they re-shoot off the base and you get your next growth and you reuse that.

Florence Jaquet

So there is a whole management system that that is in place that they've been able to restore, because in the last hundred years, since the bakers no longer needed, that timber that that forest was let go and there was an opportunity for them to restore the ecology from the invertebrates, you know, from the worm to the bugs to, as you see in some places, you know, the bee farms or the insect farms, you know, just to let the logs go, because these are habitat for bugs, for frogs, for something else so it's not the manicured look. It is very much the forest the way it is intended to be, you know, with this constant recycling of leaves that comes down, trees that come down and rot and refeed and feed the cycle. So that was really interesting because they really understood the philosophy and the ecology and they were applying it everywhere they could, even in the use of material in their building, even in, you know, the star rating of their building, the sustainability around everything they were doing.

John Haley

And I guess, you know, to that end, do you. This this strikes me as an opportunity for yes, for potentially the larger in Victorian terms, the class A Cemeteries and that type of stuff. But it also seems like there's an opportunity for some of the smaller Trust runs and Council run type places to engage with the with their councils and and look at some of these wasteland type areas.

Florence Jaquet

Just realized that the neighbour has decided to mow his lawn, can you hear the mower?

John Haley

Unfortunately, he has just come on now. I can just hear him a little bit.

Florence Jaquet

Hang on I'll just close the window.

John Haley

No problem. There's an advertisement for burning through some some fossil fuels with the mower.

Florence Jaquet

All right. I want to talk to my neighbour about his timing.

John Haley

And it's burning through the fossil fuels with the mower as you mentioned, that's one of the real no no's, right?

Florence Jaquet

That's right. So where were we. Sorry. Sorry, John.

John Haley

We were talking about whether this represents an opportunity not just for the for the larger organizations, but for perhaps some of the smaller Trust or council run type ones and tapping into potentially.

Florence Jaquet

Yes.

John Haley

You know, scrap wasteland within council areas.

Florence Jaquet

Yeah, that's right. So, you know, there's you can have it as small or as large as you like. I mean, if you happen to have an area which has got some trees and already has that feel, I mean, if you're going to have a woodland burial, then it's important to have enough of a patch of woodland that when you walk into there, you feel like you're in in the woodland itself. And if you turn around, you don't see anything else.

Florence Jaquet

So you have to have the ambiance that goes with it. But it doesn't have to be always a woodland. It can be a meadow. This one actually on on the picture is it is in the north of England and it's it started on the original, the first one that was devised in the U.K. is in Carlisle and they learned the hard way that they started their natural burial system by saying you you will have a tree planted on your on your grave.

Florence Jaquet

Fantastic. So you you know, the roots will feed off you, the cycle and all this stuff. Well, then you think about the fact that next door, you know, a meter or one twenty or one point two metres next door is another person. You say, well, he's got a tree like a tree. So you ended up with this grid of trees that end up fighting against themselves and then grew.

Florence Jaquet

And as you all know, if you're doing a plantation of something, even in the forest, you've seen that ultimately you have to come back and slash as they grow to leave room for the next one. So every tree that you were chopping, you'd get a riot because somebody planted it.

John Haley

That was somebody's memorial.

Florence Jaquet

You know, it is really insensitive. So what they've done here is that they only allow certain people to have trees and they have this grid system where they can have more of a garden feel, I suppose by hoping that not everybody chooses a tree and in summer they've got the advantage in England to have these beautiful green meadows. In Australia we have to be a bit more careful about that, but we also have our own form of meadows and if you've been in Western Australia, you know, the wildflowers is just such a showcase. So we were for example, you were talking about small scale. We were approached a few years ago by a small class B Cemetery in Victoria, in Yackandandah, in Yackandandah, they had noticed that they had native grasses that were starting to grow in one particular corner and bless those plants, they decided to grow in the top corner where you get the most beautiful view onto the valley. So that was an ideal spot to just have the burial area in there and to be able to not only collect the seeds from what was growing there, propagate them and then bury there and then re re-establish the soil.

Florence Jaquet

So it wasn't a woodland, it was an area of grassland because that was growing. So we got, you know, as I said, out of twenty eight different EVCs, and within that, 70 subclasses, there will be a type of vegetation in there that will suit lots of different situations and if it is a grassland, then it can be as tall as you like. So, yeah, the scope to do it at all sizes with all types of plants and different fields, different atmospheres.

John Haley

And I just looked, we're we're starting to come towards the end of our time. But before we've still got plenty of time for questions and things. You know, we talked at the very start about I guess there are the challenges and constraints and those types of things. I mean, it strikes me that as much as this might be a challenge, it could quite conceivably be not just a marketing opportunity but let's let's speaking in blunt terms. I mean, there are revenue opportunities around, you know, natural handcrafted coffins and caskets and those sorts of things as well.

John Haley

I mean, it doesn't it's as you said at the start, whilst it needs to be natural and simple and all of those good things, that doesn't mean that there's not potentially a commercial opportunity around this here, even if that's not always at the heart of it. Am I correct?

Florence Jaquet

Yes. Yes. So, you know, it's a bit of a catch 22. There's people who are looking for it but can't find it. I mean, in in Australia at the moment, I think we have less than 10 natural burials around the whole country so if you happen to be in a very large state like Queensland or New South Wales two in those states is not going to be particularly good for you unless you happen to live nearby.

Florence Jaquet

So there's a bit of a supply and demand issue, but I can really see that the next generation is really sustainability conscious, environmentally conscious and a lot of them are interested and and conscious of their footprint. So I think that there will be opportunities in the future, but there's the baby boomers like me who who are also interested in that and also thinking about it. So it's it's a matter of trying to make it appealing enough. So often it will come. People have said, you know, there's not much market. So I'll only open the tiny little corner here but if that corner doesn't look appealing enough, then people will not necessarily go to it because it looks like a traditional burial wrapped up with, you know, a lot of fancy stuff that they can't really see. You know, the fact that you're wrapped in a shroud or you have a very small coffin or a very simple coffin is not all that visible. So it's, sometimes they make it really cheap to attract people. Sometimes they've got, and I visited one I won't say where it is, but I visited one which admitted to making it dearer because they didn't have that much land and they didn't really want to sell it that much.

Florence Jaquet

So they made it more expensive in order to for people not to not to go for it.

Florence Jaquet

So, you know, there's a...

John Haley

Supply and demand is a reality. Let's be honest...

Florence Jaquet

And you were telling me actually that there's a company out there that makes coffins, because if you see this, as most of your listeners would know, especially if they're in the cemetery industry, the the first port of call is the funeral director. So if the funeral director is not into it or doesn't, is not going to find a commercial benefit from it.

Florence Jaquet

An outcome yes, he will it will probably not push for it. There are a few that are pushing for it, but on a philosophical level. But if you are going to choose a shroud as opposed to the top range with lacquer and all-lined and beautifully manufactured coffin. Obviously, there is a lot less return for the funeral director. So you were telling me that there is this company that actually makes a full range of very expensive natural burial coffins to the shroud itself.

Florence Jaquet

And you can make shrouds that are, you know, hand embroidered or in silk and there's a lady that does that who's an artist. And, you know, there's there's a lot of opportunities there to to make something that is very not only ecological, ecologically friendly, but very sensitive and very appropriate to the mourning process, so you don't see, it's not about cheapening it, it's about making an exit out of life.

John Haley

Appropriate to your philosophy.

Florence Jaquet

Yes. Of of of what you believe in.

John Haley

We might have to wrap that part here I think, just looking at the time, but we we still have time for some questions and we've got, we've got a couple and please throw any more that you've got in as well. But just before we do get to the questions, first of all, thank you very much Florence. As I as I was sure it would be, a fascinating topic, just I find it absolutely fascinating myself. So thank you very much for sharing your knowledge with us.

Florence Jaquet

You are welcome.

John Haley

Not that you're going to disappear. We've got a few minutes yet.

John Haley

Yeah. Before we do move on, you can see my contact details and you can see Florence's website there in relation to particularly our website, I'd like to direct you as well to if you visit it, on the top right-hand corner, there's two buttons in particular, the blog and the events button. The blog leads you, as you would expect to blog articles and things of general interest. The events, not surprisingly, lead you to events. We the next one I'm going to be running in this region is going to be focused on marketing automation so that is creating marketing journeys for your customers and communities and journeys that can branch and take different ways. And, you know, it's a it's a fantastic tool for integrating something like this into your marketing journeys, into the communities of the families and identifying that these are people that have shown an interest in sustainability, in ecology, natural burials, and taking them down a certain path of information so that when there either be pre-need or at-need, you can take them down the right way and gather the right set of information around that.

John Haley

But fundamentally jump onto our site, jump onto Florence's site as well, take a look around and anything that catches your eye register for. Also, before we jump to the questions. And again, there's a couple to come, but please keep throwing them in. I'll say what I do always say here we run these sessions at OpusXenta for the community, for the death care sector. So please reach out and let us know not just what you like, but also what you don't like, but also any additional topics that you'd like to hear about in the future, anyone that you know that you would that you think you'd really like to give an opportunity to speak to the community. Again, I got a reference to you, Florence, from someone else within the community, and I'm very thankful for that, too.

John Haley

So, yeah, please reach out. Let us know. And we might jump into the questions now and there's one here and to some extent we've touched on this a little bit, but it's asking a question about what suggestions or what experience you have in terms of getting ecologists and regulators and that sort of that those that ilk I supposed to move into a slightly more open approach to embracing the opportunities that sustainable design rather than just a almost a blocker type mindset, I suppose we've touched on this a little bit, but do you have anything else that you would like to add or that you can think of?

Florence Jaquet

Well, you know, to be fair, ecologists are probably on the on the right side of the equation, but they are very conscious of and they know the legislation back to front, so there's only so much they can do and move within that legislation. So I would say it's more within the regulations and if somebody could tell me I could crack that nut, I would I would be more than happy to launch into battle, because that is the most frustrating part of it, because it's almost like you can see how it can happen. And there's this obstacle in the way that or this person in the way that still doesn't see it. And so I would love to be able to modify or talk to regulators to be able to modify the legislation in such a way that they understand what we're trying to do and that we're working with the same aim in mind.

Florence Jaquet

You know, like it's like it's like you furiously agreeing and yet they think that we're not on the same wavelength. So, yes, if anybody's got any ideas on how I can...

John Haley

There's a silver bullet out there we're looking for.

Florence Jaquet

Yes, that would be great, but ecologists in general understand what we're trying to do. They just their hands are tied.

John Haley

There's a couple of questions now that have come in that are more or less the same, essentially asking about the challenge of damaging tree roots during this process. Do you have any thoughts around that?

Florence Jaquet

Yes. So what do we do, which is inspired from the ones that we saw in England, is that especially if you've got existing trees, is that you first, if you would just follow the proper process, you'd get an ecologist or arborist to assess your trees, you'd pick the best ones. And usually what they do is assessing the tree they come up with what they call the SRZ and TPZ the trees and which sounds great, but the SRZ is the structural root zone, which you mustn't go into, which is basically a circle around the tree.

Florence Jaquet

And then a further circle, which is called the TPZ which is the tree protection zone, which usually we're trying to do no more than 10 percent damage into it. So once you've selected the tree that you think is worth retaining, then you manage the number of burials within the root zone. So you keep out of the structural root zone you can go into the tree protection zone, but you would manage it, and what they do in England, they have worked out from statistics that and because they are allowed to fill graves, that they can bury one and the second one is likely to be five to eight years later, you know, the partner will die a bit later, will come into the same grave, and that gives time for the roots to regenerate. They also place the graves in the alignment of the roots. So instead of cutting across the way the roots radially grow from the centre of the tree. Instead of putting a grave across it, which would chop several at a time, you put them parallel to the way these roots grow. So you do a lot less damage and you would also stage it in such a way that you would only allow, let's say, five graves around that tree every 10 years.

Florence Jaquet

So you'd have to have another tree somewhere else that copes with the other numbers and you rotate them. So you you never damage the whole of the root system. You only damage a tiny little bit.

John Haley

Oop. I don't know whether you can hear my dogs barking at the door or another covid webinar intrusion. Sorry about that.

John Haley

I personally, when I was doing a bit of the research for this myself, I also read about the idea of essentially using almost an auger to to bury people effectively standing up and to minimize the footprint that way. I'm not sure the practicalities around it but I read a little bit about that while I was doing some research myself.

Florence Jaquet

Yeah. There is one cemetery in Victoria that does it. Private one, I think. And when you consider that people bury up to two or three verticals, actually doesn't save that much space. But yeah, I don't know much about how the way well, how they do it in that particular cemetery but I've heard of of people considering it and it is definitely a very ancient way of doing it you find in archaeology, often you'll find people being either, you know, squatting or in a fetal position and put into a hole vertically. So, yeah, there is some some merit.

John Haley

Got a few more still, there's quite a few questions here. One here. Are there any restrictions around the type of quality of the ground grade and that type of stuff that you can use for these types of settings? And I suppose my my commentary into that is that I suppose you could use this as part of a rehabilitation strategy for any quality ground grave I suppose.

Florence Jaquet

Yeah, Yeah, that's right. So, you know, just by the time you can dig into it and it allows you to have a burial and the soil is enables that, then there's no issue and it still gives you the opportunity to put topsoil on the top or and because we have this leaf litter that we we're letting be and, you know, we can collect it somewhere else and even collect all the mulch from somewhere else on site and put it on there. We actually improve the top layer. And so, yeah no, there are no restrictions that I know of.

John Haley

Another one here and you touched on this very lightly, the idea of risk and health and safety as people not just being originally interred it, but during visiting and that type of stuff. Do you have any experience or thoughts around that?

Florence Jaquet

Oh, yeah, most of the OH&S Issues are really relating to, you know, carrying the coffin, taking it to the place, if you've got to take it by hand or, you know, these things are heavy so that's where most of the OH&S issues come into it. It is no more dangerous than walking into your local bushland. And I think you have to put and I think that's what they do in England. They they they put signs to say, you know, this is not it's not all sealed and...

John Haley

Enter at our risk type of stuff.

Florence Jaquet

Yes. We've we've come to to be such a nanny state in that in a way. And just, you know, the liability issues and the insurance issues for cemeteries is diabolical. So you do what they do is they tend to have paths that are mulched that are visibly paths that runs through the forests and then there is offshoots as to where these trees will occur. And only the people who tend to tend to the graves will go and stray off that particular footpath to go to their graves so the actual distance from the reasonable path to something that is a bit more like your forest floor is minimised.

John Haley

And I guess there's a related one here. You know, we touched on the idea of trying to eliminate as much as is practical, petrol mowers and all of those sorts of things. And it's probably a little bit the same as what you said there. You know, the question here is how do we make sure that the vegetation doesn't take over everywhere, that we can maintain some paths and some safe access but I suppose it's a little bit the same answer that you you almost have to say well, there will be a certain amount of parts and we just find the right way to go.

Florence Jaquet

And and, you know, looking at the statistics also about visitation, you know, Dr Philip Batchelor has done a great study on that and the industry as well as is really after a number of years, people do not visit anymore. And after a few generations, people don't even know it's there. So. You know, if you look at the ecology, when we're talking about the ecology, before we're talking about an ecology that's self-sustaining, sustainable, you know it is really saying it doesn't need chopping, it doesn't need clearing, it is an ecology that has found its own balance so it's it's important to think of it that way so that you do not see it as being messy and disorganized, because it might be that just as the ecology that it looks like this, you know, it is not a neat product, but it is a philosophical product. So unless you have weed invasions, which obviously you have to do something about and you have to keep that under control, the rest is is usually self sustainable and and having said that, in the EVC list that you can draw from, there's often quite a lot of choice and you can select plants that you think are more suitable to it. So if you don't want that bushy look with the shrubs that are up to two metres or something, then you select the ones that are more like your Dianellas and something else that's more like a metre high and might you can you can mitigate some of these issues by choosing the plants carefully.

John Haley

Well, we come across, we go ever so slightly over our schedule time, including Q&A. And I think there's one or two more.

Florence Jaquet

If you want I can answer some of the questions by email if that if that helps to keep to the time.

John Haley

Yeah, well, maybe we might, one more question and then maybe if you have any final words that you would like to say and then we might wrap it up so that we we don't run grossly over time. Does that work for you Florence?

Florence Jaquet

Sure

John Haley

Alright, so we might go with one last one here, a question being, how do we deal with a burial site and the issue of subsidence over time? Do you have any thoughts around that?

Florence Jaquet

Yes, we just we just keep topping up and each time we top up, we put more of those seeds that we want to to get back there or if we have plants that are already sort of established or we've put them in in small pots or in tube stock, then we lift those and if they're small, they will readjust. But it's the same as everything else. You do need to top up because it's, that's physics, you know, we've stirred it up...

John Haley

It will settle and subside over time.

Florence Jaquet

But you know, most of them will if you go to a lot of them, you will see that they have substantial mounds, you know, which helps in not having to top up regularly and there's an expectation that if you go to a natural burial site or if you imagine that you would walk into a forest and found, let's go to the Wild West in the movies and they buried somebody in the bush, you know, you'd make a big pile and that would settle over time. So I think there's a general expectation that that's fine and it's part of the process.

John Haley

Very good. Well, we might wrap up the questions. Do you have any final thoughts or anything that I didn't throw to you that you would like to say before we close off for the day for us?

Florence Jaquet

No, no. I just I just think that, you know, if there's one point that you have to remember for this is this, all of this talk is really the opportunities that we have to to to have a sustainable outcome. And in something like this, especially since all of our burials are for perpetuity, you really need to think about what the maintenance of these things look like in perpetuity. Anything that we can make sustainable is a bonus. Anything that restore the ecology that we probably have damaged in in the process of development is is really important and yeah, I think that's a missed opportunity. So there's a lot of potential for that we should keep that in mind.

John Haley

I, I agree wholeheartedly myself. I think, as I've said a couple of times, I think the whole this whole area is both fascinating and I think there's a massive opportunity myself as well.

Florence Jaquet

Well I hear that David Attenborough is really getting into Instagram. And I think I need to reach out to him and say that this is your next, this is your next campaign.

Florence Jaquet

Yes. Challenge, yes he'll do better than me at changing the regulations.

John Haley

He's probably not ever so slightly more reach than us. But we're trying. We're getting better.

Florence Jaquet

That's right.

John Haley

Well, thank you very much for your time Florence. I really appreciate it and thank you to everybody who joined us today and submitted questions. And keep an eye on both Florence's website and ours and see what we have for you next.

John Haley

Thanks to everybody. Thank you.

Florence Jaquet

Have a nice day. Keep safe. Bye

 

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