Purpose: The Town of Huntington is committed to the continued preservation and maintenance of historic cemeteries located throughout the town. This program seeks community volunteers to assist the Town in meeting its preservation and maintenance goals.
Mission: Cemetery Stewards will periodically audit and monitor the Town's historic cemeteries, and routinely advise designated Town authorities of needed maintenance, such as lawn mowing, leaf raking and removal, fence painting and repair, tree and brush pruning, fallen tree limb and tree removal, weeding, signage maintenance, gravestone repair, repairs of vandalism, etc.
Setting the Benchmark: The Town of Huntington is legally responsible for the maintenance and care of some 60 historic cemeteries. At the initiation of this program the Town Historian will identify and inventory all the cemeteries mandated for care. Each cemetery will be given a preliminary site status evaluation, chronicling the cemetery's condition. Upon completion of the Town-wide inventory and status evaluation, a plan of preservation action for each cemetery will be established. Preservation and protection plans will vary depending on the size, location, condition, historical significance, and accessibility. Preservation best practices will be applied. Some cemeteries, i.e. isolated burial locations with only one or two graves, should most probably be left undisturbed, and should be checked occasionally by neighbors for any vandalism. Larger, readily accessible and more significantly historic cemeteries should have established routine maintenance plans including grass mowing, leaf raking, tree pruning, trash removal, etc.
Volunteer Steward's Role and Function: The primary role of a Steward is to be an attentive observer, and guardian of the historic cemeteries. The Stewards are to routinely visit (suggested at least four times a year) an assigned cemetery, and audit its condition against an established benchmark standard. A status report including recommendations for maintenance, repair, and future action should be sent to the Town Historian. The role of the Steward is not to do the necessary maintenance themselves or to arrange for such work directly. All work must be conducted under the Town Historian's guidance and direction.
Volunteer Steward Requirements: Stewards can be concerned neighbors to historic cemeteries, community volunteers, or persons with special interests, skills or experience in cemetery maintenance or preservation. Persons with appropriate professional skills or experience such as landscapers, arborists, historians, masons, the clergy, etc. would be encouraged to participate, not only as Stewards for an individual cemetery but as a resource to consult with other Stewards in the program. Stewards need to be able dedicate the required time to conduct the audits, and should be a minimum of 18 years of age.
The Role of the Town Historian:
The Town Historian will coordinate the program and maintain an up to date list of all Cemetery Stewards and the cemeteries for which they are responsible. The Town Historian will receive all status reports and will arrange for the Department of General Services or outside contractors, if needed, to perform the required work. The Town Historian will develop a report form for Stewards to complete after each inspection.