Evergreen Cemetery committee is looking for more volunteers to assist during monthly “Work Days”

Published: May. 20, 2022 at 9:42 PM EDT
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TIOGA COUNTY (WBNG) - Over in Owego, Evergreen Cemetery is a staple for the Southern Tier community and also placed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The cemetery dates back to 1853, which means restoration projects and general upkeep are recurring efforts.

“We were put on the National Register in 2002 as an archetypal example of a rural cemetery,” said Historian Peter Gordon.

The Village Public Works Department is in charge of maintenance and helps to keep the site up and running. Two groups assist with efforts to keep Evergreen Cemetery looking beautiful: the cemetery’s committee and the Friends of Owego Evergreen.

“Benefactors have contributed and also we’ve received money from other charitable funds through the Friends of Evergreen,” said Fran VanHousen, the commissioner of the cemetery for the Village of Owego board.

The Friends of Owego Evergreen is a not-for-profit dedicated to restoration and preservation efforts. Historian Gordon refers to the committee as the village board’s eyes and ears with raking, stick removal, removing dead trees, leading lectures for restoring gravestones, and more.

The committee is always looking for volunteers to join their fleet during “Work Days” to assist with over 60 acres. “A lot of what needs to be done is actually very simple. Just picking up sticks to clear for the mowers and rake the leaves out of the gutters. So it’s not particularly strenuous work,” said Gordon.

The cemetery committee gathers during the third Saturday of every month, which means the next one is slated for May 21.

Volunteers are asked to get to the hillside site by 9 a.m. Saturday, May 21. The instruction for proper grave cleaning will be around noon. If you can’t be there the entire time, you’re still encouraged to stop by and contribute what you can.

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