The acronym NIMBY means “not in my backyard.” Forensic expert Art Bohanan has the exact opposite view. He donated land behind his own home to Carson-Newman for their new Environmental Forensics Program. The land will be used to study how decomposition affects the environment.
Art and Dr. B.J. Ellington will be the guest speakers at the next meeting of the FBI Citizens Academy Alumni Association. Susan Seals of BoneZones.com arranged for me to meet Bohanan and Ellington yesterday. She also invited Helen Taylor of the East Tennessee Cremation Company to join us. After lunch, we all drove to the ridge top where the new type of body farm will be located.
The view from the ridge was spectacular. The only two houses visible in the distance were Art’s and his granddaughter’s. A weather vane showed which way the wind was blowing. Two wooden chairs marked the spot where Art and his wife go to enjoy the view.
The plan is to place one body per month at the new facility. Each would stay on site for about a year, meaning the maximum number of bodies on the land at any given time would be twelve. Only bodies free from infectious disease and other contamination will be accepted. The restriction protects students and staff who will be studying the remains.
Each cadaver will be covered by chicken wire, which allows for insect activity but prevents birds or mammals from carrying off any bones. Rather than use cement blocks to hold down the wire, they will use logs from a dead tree on the property. The environmentally-friendly choice also keeps the research results free from any substances in the concrete.