Feature Friday

Published on January 4th, 2013 | by growwny

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Feature Friday: Forest Lawn Cemetery

Forest_Lawn_ChapelBY: KRISTEN KASZUBOWSKI, GROWWNY TEAM

One of the first times I looked over the Go Outside Map, I was a little shocked that Forest Lawn Cemetery was listed. Aren’t cemeteries a place of final resting? I’ve always thought that you only go to the cemetery to visit and maintain your loved ones graves, so the idea of sending people there to run, walk, bird watch and more seemed strange. Noticing my apprehension towards trekking Forest Lawn, my team assigned me to write its Feature Friday piece. They assured me that this cemetery was designed for both the dead and the living, and they were right.

As soon as I pulled into Forest Lawn, I saw firsthand how this cemetery connects people and nature. I stopped in the front building to borrow the bathroom key, and on my way to the door I noticed two large turkeys among the graves. My jaw dropped, amazed that there were turkeys in the middle of the cemetery, let alone in the middle of Buffalo.

FL_Turkeys

Forest Lawn is surrounded by busy Buffalo streets, yet is a serene and peaceful get away where you can connect to the past and nature. Mirror Lake is usually full of ducks and geese, and additional birdhouses through the cemetery have hosted over 240 different kinds of birds. As I was watching the birds, I was engulfed by the smell of pine needles and sap. I made my way from section to section, finding different birds, different trees and different stories along the way.

FL_Geese FL_Birds FL_Geese_2

After leaving Mirror Lake, I decided to hike up the hill toward Section A. I noticed a large white figure in the distance.

FL_Sculpture_in_Distance

I hurried toward it and discovered a beautiful fiberglass sculpture of a man being lifted up by an angel.FL_Sculpture

Sculptures such as this one are scattered through the cemetery, as well as artistic mausoleums. All the works of art tell a story, give tribute to a lost one, or provide a place to sit and reflect.

The cemetery isn’t just a place for bird watchers, art admirers or those visiting a lost loved one. On my walk through, I was passed by a couple of joggers and many cars heading toward the Chapel. Forest Lawn hosts many events, from tours to its wintertime weekly Sunday In The Cemetery Chapel Concert & Lecture Series, which starts Sunday, January 5 and runs through April 28.  In addition to tours and the chapel events, Forest Lawn holds other events year round, on Memorial Day, Veterans Day, etc.

If you are looking to learn something new, take a relaxing walk, or try and snap a couple of waterfowl pictures, visit Forest Lawn.

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