We are growing! Check our calendar for community events offered at Bluestem. Some events may be on the land and others will find us communing out in the world or online during our Bluestem Conversations. This online practice began at the start of Covid, took a short pause over Summer 2023, and returns in the fall with guest speakers. Click here for Zoom offerings through Bluestem Conversations.
Join us weekly at Bluestem for our Quiet Hour. Every Friday from noon to 1pm. Once a month we plan a community gathering.
Join us weekly at Bluestem for our Quiet Hour. Every Friday from noon to 1pm. Once a month we plan a community gathering.
Contact us for scheduling and reserving at Bluestem.
October 20, 2023
CONVENING OF FAITH LEADERS
A gathering of faith leaders from around the Triangle at Bluestem for food and fellowship. Faith leaders who have led memorial services at Bluestem will share their experiences supporting families with burial. Discussion will include sharing Bluestem's mission and how it can best serve congregations. Contact us for more information.
October 7, 2023
FOREST BATHING AT BLUESTEM Registration required
We are hosting our very first, very special Forest Bathing exercise at Bluestem, a 2.5-3 hour event planned especially for Bluestem volunteers who've been such an important part of building this special place. We are partnering with Aimee Vandemark, LCSW and Forest Guide, whose own practice beautifully aligns with Bluestem values. For details and to register for the event, click here. Hope you can join us!
October 6, 2023
HOW DEVOTION TO LAND AND PEOPLE RESTORES AND BUILDS COMMUNITY
Bluestem will present a workshop at the Homegrown Preaching Festival sponsored by our friends at the Resource Center for Women and Ministry in the South. Following the festival themes of Repair, Release, Renew, Bluestem members will share their stories and lived experiences growing this sacred space. Click here for more information.
September 22, 2023
INSPIRING FUTURE CONSERVATION LEADERS
Thanks to our friends at the Hillsborough Wine Company for helping to raise funds with us for training future conservation leaders in green job skills! Crews of apprentice trail-builders will build out their skills at Bluestem, clearing invasives, carving out terrain, attending to stormwater run-off, and constructing bridges to cross our creeks. Hosting these future environmental leaders allows us to share this sacred space with future leaders and brings more awareness to conservation burial.
July 28, 2023
BAGPIPES AT BLUESTEM
Join us in saying farewell to a beloved volunteer heading off to new adventures in college. Bring a potluck dish to share, Bluestem will supply the cold beverages. Dog friends welcome. With a special tribute "on the pipes" from our friend, Jerry Hudson.
July 1 & 4, 2023
BLUESTEM AT THE ENO
Bluestem volunteers celebrating the natural and nourishing attributes of the Eno River with our conservation partners, Eno River Association. Find us at our booth in the Meadow right up next to all the music and dancing!
June 3, 2023
HIKE WITH BLUESTEM VOLUNTEERS
A special event for Triangle Land Conservancy members, sharing the story of Bluestem, and our green burial service to the community.
May 29, 2023
MEMORIAL DAY AT BLUESTEM
Flags will be flying along Bluestem Road in honor of fallen service members. Take a pause with us at 3pm in gratitude for their service.
April 25, 2023
ATTENDING TO A SACRED LANDSCAPE
A spring evening at Bluestem with Elon University’s Multifaith Scholars from the Center for the Study of Religion, Culture and Society. Hosted by Bluestem Community members, Lara Struckman and D Bouchard, the scholars will gather at Bluestem, for an introduction to its mission and vision, and invitation into exploring its climate resiliency roots, dedication to community service, and spiritual practice of attending to the land.
March 3, 2023
QUIET HOUR IN THE SANCTUARY
Caring for Bluestem takes energy and time. Our bodies fill up with tired muscles, dirty fingernails and the heart work of tending to people at the end of their lives. Join us for a period of quiet reflection in the natural sanctuary overlooking the pond. We will take this time to pause in our care for the land and move into individual practice of what it means to be present on it. Bring a camp chair, cushion, blanket, yoga mat, or sit on one of the cedar benches. If it is raining we will gather under the Barn. The hour is for silent reflection and open to the spirit of those gathered in it. Every Friday from noon-1pm. Contact us for more information.
February 11, 2023
A GATHERING AT BLUESTEM
Bluestem's land has a long history of being cared for by others. Today, it is being stewarded by individuals who've chosen to care for it as a place of reverence in nature. This year, we wish to grow Bluestem's purpose as a shared community space in order to tend to the full spirit of the land, and the spirit within us. A Gathering at Bluestem welcomes faith and community leaders to visit Bluestem on their own time to meander and wonder about this new open space. A facilitated dialogue and visioning will take place on Zoom. Contact us for the zoom link.
January 28, 2023
CELEBRATING BLUESTEM COMMUNITY
Join us to celebrate our hardworking volunteers, and Bluestem's first birthday! We will gather at the barn after our Saturday workday and provide everyone with a picnic lunch and beverages. Bring your camp chair and find a picnic spot under the barn, in the Sanctuary, or even -- if you've already picked one out -- at your burial spot. Bring a friend and introduce them to the pond and trails. Leashed dogs are welcome but please help them mind their manners. RSVP here.
December 24, 2022
A WINTER WALK AT BLUESTEM
Gate opens at 3pm. For anyone (and everyone) needing a quiet break from the pace of the holidays. Stroll our pathways and wooded trails with your senses attuned to all around you. Choose to walk on your own or in the company of others. Find your peaceful place in the comfort of nature.
November 11, 2022
ATTENDING TO BLUESTEM COMMUNITY
With gratitude to the many volunteers growing Bluestem Community, we have planned a special evening at Bluestem. We'll gather at the barn at 5:00pm for welcoming words and a community blessing. A light supper and beverages will be provided. Please bring your water bottles and a camp chair. Dogs are welcome, but please help them mind their manners by keeping them on leash.
FIELD TRIP FOR HOMEGROWN FESTIVAL
As part of their annual celebration of NC Women's Preaching and Ministry, our friends at the Resource Center for Women and Ministry in the South have planned a field trip to Bluestem, with a Ritual of Remembrance in the sanctuary. To register for the conference and learn more about it click here Homegrown 2022.
October 15, 2022
Or, we might call this event: Decisions You Never Thought to Think About !
Join passionate volunteers and experts from Funeral Consumers Alliance North Carolina, for a full day of speakers, exhibitors and vendors committed to educating about personal choice in death care. Experience the inspiring work of Mallory McDuff, Professor of Environmental Education at Warren Wilson College and author of Our Last Best Act; Joshua Slocum, executive director of the Funeral Consumers Alliance; and Tanya Marsh, professor of law at Wake Forest University and author of The Law of Human Remains. The Death Expo is free and open to the public. It will be held at the Moseley Center, 100 Campus Drive, at Elon University from 10AM – 4PM. Parking is free. Learn more and register here.
September 16, 2022
BIRDS, BEES AND BUTTERFLIES AT BLUESTEM
Dying to know what's flying around at Bluestem?! Join Bluestem Volunteer and birdwatcher Noah Rokoske, early on this Friday morning for a two hour wander around Bluestem's pathways and emerging hiking trail. Bring your best walking shoes, sun hat, binoculars, and water bottle. Get ready to spot Monarchs, Eastern Tiger Swallowtails, Indigo Buntings, Vireos and Bluebirds.
Pathways are mostly flat, wide, grassy, and sometimes irregular. Bring walking sticks or hiking poles if you like them. Or, select a natural one from a collection in the woods that Noah has been stacking. This is a first come first served event, with a cap of 30 participants. Kids are welcome. Sorry, no dogs this time. Bluestem has a porta-potty onsite but no formal bathrooms nor running water. Please plan accordingly. Register here.
August 23, 2022
WHAT ON EARTH IS A HOME FUNERAL
Did you know that you can care for your loved ones immediately after death? Home funerals are safe and legal in North Carolina, and with support, can be arranged for yourself or for loved ones. They do however, take time and intention in their planning.
Sara Williams is a home funeral guide who has been helping families care for their own dead since 2014. She supports families who choose to continue caring for their loved one after death, by planning and arranging for a home funeral, and most often, a green (natural) burial. During this presentation Sara will share her recommendations for honoring this sacred experience. She will walk us through caring for the body in the home, creating a ceremony that centers mourning and the healing journey, as well as advocating for a burial that is true to your economic, environmental, and spiritual values. Sara is an emeritus Board member of the National Home Funeral Alliance, and President of Funeral Consumers Alliance North Carolina (FCANC). Learn more about her work.
July 2 and 4, 2022
BLUESTEM BOOTH at the Festival for the Eno
Every year for the past 42, our good friends (and conservation partners) at Eno River Association host the Festival for the Eno on the Eno River. It is one of Durham's favorite summertime experiences, with live music, a juried craft show, food trucks galore, face paint for kids and splashing in the river. It is also a celebration of the Eno! This year, Bluestem's wonderful volunteers will be sharing the news about the Triangle region's newest nature preserve at the Bluestem Booth. Come by and say hey! Purchase tickets for the Festival here and thank you for supporting our friends, the beautiful Eno River, and clean drinking water in our area.
June 21, 2022
RADICAL REMEMBRANCE: Holding Space for Eco-grief
So many of us have experienced deep loss and change in these transitory times. We witness death and grief as part of the cyclical nature of life, yet frequently push the experiences and emotions to the shadows of our lives, rather than holding them as sacred experiences in the “family of things.” We will be led by Lara Struckman, spiritual activist, offering us a framework for exploring grief and eco-grief specifically, to unearth feelings that we might otherwise shy away from. Lara believes that seeing the tragedy of what’s lost helps us embrace the beauty of what’s left, and develop agency rather than apathy and despair for our aching world. With grief at the root of what it means to be human in an uncertain world, Lara calls her practice radical remembrance. The conversation will include a short grounding practice to help us tap into these tender places in our hearts.
May 24, 2022
BINGO AND BLUESTEM
A special in-person presentation for Bluestem neighbors and senior residents of Cedar Grove. Introducing Bluestem Community where opportunities for community service, ecological stewardship and spiritual nourishment will be offered at every season of life. And, for those who are interested, a conservation cemetery is open to all in support of green burial. At the Cedar Grove Community Center. For more information, contact Ms. Genie Taylor.
April 19, 2022
CALLED TO THE GOOD WORK
Bluestem friend and steward, Allen Brimer, has been working with land and people all his life. Currently pastor at the Church of Reconciliation, Allen spends his "spare" time working his garden, making exquisite pies and helping to build Bluestem Community. A wonderful storyteller with roots in Tennessee, Allen will share his experiences supporting people through all kinds of life choices and what he envisions for Bluestem.
April 12, 2022
BLUESTEM IN ORANGE COUNTY
A special presentation for residents of Orange County that have expressed interest in more green burial options in the county. We will review the requirements for green burial, share images of green burial experiences in conservation cemeteries around the country, and information about how green burial will take place at Bluestem. Q&A will follow.
March 29, 2022
Conservation burial is a growing movement that originated in the late 90s, with Billy and Kimberley Campbell's visionary work at Ramsey Creek Preserve in South Carolina. Today, there are a dozen conservation burial grounds scattered throughout the US. Last year, leaders of these special cemeteries prepared a "virtual field trip" for conservation staff and board members, as well as for green burial advocates promoting conservation burial as an important practice in community restoration and healing. On Zoom, we will watch the 30 minute presentation of Deeply Rooted together. Jeff Masten and Heidi Hannapel will be available to answer questions afterwards.
February 22, 2022
Join us for an online seated Heart Full movement practice followed by a meditation centering on the theme of love, compassion and caring for our hearts. This session will be led by Bluestem Steward, Franzi Rokoske. Franzi is completing her yoga teacher training with a focus on restorative yoga that combines mindful movement practices in nature. Until we can be in person at Bluestem, we'll turn the Zoom room into practice space!
January 25, 2022
RENEWING BURIAL TRADITIONS: Green Burial in the Triangle
A presentation and conversation with Anne Weston of the Green Burial Project, who will provide some background and basics on burials (green and otherwise) in North Carolina. Heidi Hannapel will describe the distinctions between green cemeteries and conservation cemeteries, and share some of the conservation strategies that are planned for Bluestem.
Find a recording of this presentation here.
LIVING WITH HOLIDAY SORROW
The holidays can be a difficult time for those of us in mourning or grieving the loss of a beloved. Our friend Mary Ellen Markant offers some reflections and thoughtful suggestions for supporting friends, family members, and ourselves during this winter season. Link to Guidelines for the Bereaved and Their Supporters.
OUR LAST BEST ACT
A highly recommended read by friend Mallory McDuff, that "explores the choices we make -- and how our death can honor our values and create a legacy for the world." Mallory will be on book tour in the new year, and we hope she'll be making a stop at Bluestem. Stay tuned!
HOSTING A BLUESTEM EVENT
If you are interested in leading a Bluestem Conversation on a topic related to mindfulness, sacred art, silent prayer, stewardship of the land, or any other topic, please reach out to us. ,