Life Forest at Whistle Ridge Farm in Auburn, Maine is Life Forest’s premier Woodland Burial location. Whistle Ridge Farm hosts a total of 80 acres, utilizing multiple land protection and land use purposes, and has made a commitment to dedicate a protected parcel for the purpose of Life Forest Woodland Trail Burials.

Woodland Trail Burial, a 3 x 3 plot in a natural wooded area. This plot allows for 1 opening with as many sets of cremains or composted remains buried at that one time for no extra fees.

Auburn, Maine is located 45 minutes north of Portland and is one of the largest cities in Maine. Landmarked by the beautiful and powerful Androscoggin River which runs through Auburn, Auburn is also known for its gorgeous mineral contents of apatite, tourmaline, and quartz. Rock lovers often search Mt. Apatite Park’s 4 miles of trails and water-filled quarries and mines.

Whistle Ridge Farm has proven their dedication to the protection of both land and wildlife through their efforts in creating habitat blueprints and working to preserve and protect Maine’s wildlife and natural resources. Most notably, Whistle Ridge Farm is the host for Compassionate Composting, an environmentally friendly, gentle return to the earth for large animals through an educated approach to composting. 

Meet our Stewards: Michelle & Chelsea

Michelle is the owner and founder of Compassionate Composting where she has met a significant need for a humane method of large animal respect upon death, that was also environmentally responsible. Michelle has served as an assistant instructor for the [regional] Technical Large Animal Emergency Rescue, and is also experienced in the use of specialty equipment and mechanical handling techniques of large animals. Michelle attended the Maine Compost School and received a zoning ordinance amendment with the assistance and support of the Maine Compost Team.

Chelsea works as an independent carpenter, loves the outdoors and animals. Chelsea’s excellence in her carpentry brings physical strength and stamina, problem solving and math skills, patience, creativity, and communication. Chelsea’s commitment to land conservation efforts and attention to detail, serve as the inspiration for her to offer the best options for both people and animal companions after their passing.

More About Compassionate Composting

Compassionate Composting is an eco-friendly above-ground burial service for beloved horses, livestock, and pets. They do great work in the death care of larger animals such as horses and livestock, and offer similar services to smaller companion animals. By request, we can place your companion animal in a private burial pile and return his or her remains to you (like getting the ashes back after a private cremation) in the form of a finished soil amendment. You can use this compost product for landscaping, flower beds or in your pet's favorite field.

At Compassionate Composting, the process begins by rolling the animal onto a similar stretcher, she explained. It takes three people to move the body of a 1,000-pound horse – Melaragno’s retired mom often pitches in. The animal is laid on a bed of shavings and sawdust that contain manure and other organic material – the same stuff that’s shoveled out of stalls. “That material is what your horse is used to,” Melaragno said. “It’s their home environment.” The animal’s body is then covered in the same material. After four to five months, she turns the pile and adds more shavings. By this point, the animal’s soft tissue has disintegrated. She turns the pile regularly every couple of weeks after that.

There seems to be a growing receptivity to the concept of composting animal companions with this above-ground burial method. Animal owners seem very relieved to know their companion is being handled with respect and that they are utilizing an environmentally responsible option.

—Michelle Melarango, Owner and Founder of Compassionate Composting in Auburn, Maine. 

To learn more about Life Forest woodland burial options, please contact us.