May 17 through 23 is recognized as Maine Old Cemetery Week by the Maine Old Cemetery Association as a continuing part of its mission to encourage and support the preservation, maintenance, and study of old cemeteries. MOCA President Clyde Berry, encourages local historical organizations, civic associations, Boy and Girl Scout troops, and fraternal and veterans groups to lead community projects to care for local burial grounds in preparation for the Memorial Day holiday, May 25.
On May 16, MOCA will kick off the annual observance with its Spring Program, May 16 in New Gloucester at the First Congregational-Christian Church. The church is located at 19 Gloucester Hill Road. The Spring Program features a report on the intricate carvings of 19th century stone carver Bartlett Adams (1726 to 1828).
While MOCA encourages the active care of burial grounds, Berry discourages members of the public from undertaking cleaning or repairing gravestones without appropriate training. A Cleaning and Leaning Workshop will be held May 23 in Waterboro, hosted by the Waterboro Cemetery Committee. The workshop is MOCA’s program of Cemetery DOs and DON’Ts. A $20 donation is requested for registration including a pizza lunch. More information is available from Angela M. McCoy of the cemetery committee at (207) 651-1059 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
As individuals and groups visit local cemeteries during Maine Cemetery Week and/or on Memorial Day, they are encouraged to report any cemetery vandalism or damage they may observe. These should be first be reported to local authorities, but also on the MOCA website.
Collecting data on vandalism and/or theft is MOCA's way of tracking vandalism trends and of compiling information to help as it advocates for changes in cemetery law.
While MOCA works to document and research Maine cemeteries, it is always interested in trends in cemetery maintenance, restoration and response to vandalism. Reports of cemetery activity is always welcome and the results of MOCA work, membership and volunteerism can be found at http://www.moca-me.org/