President John Christian Phifer is Executive Director of Larkspur Conservation and a member of the Tennessee Funeral Directors Association, the National Home Funeral Alliance and a founding member of Conservation Burial Alliance. He received his mortuary science and funeral arts degree from John A. Gupton College in Nashville, TN, home funeral guide training through Final Passages, and end-of-life doula certification through the Conscious Dying Institute. He has worked in small town settings and in large metropolitan funeral homes and cemeteries, but finds himself most at home in the woods.
Vice President Heidi Hannapel is a conservation burial consultant with Landmatters located in Durham, NC. Heidi is a compassionate facilitator who values collaborative projects. She has designed workshops and resources for growing stronger nonprofit organizations focused on best practices, community engagement, and standards for long-term sustainability. Heidi works with conservation burial partners and land trusts on burial site assessment, community relations and partnerships, project planning and development. She is a founding member of the Conservation Burial Alliance and co-founder of Bluestem Conservation Cemetery.
Secretary Jodie Buller has been the Cemetery Director at White Eagle Memorial Preserve since 2013, after training as a structural integration bodyworker and a decade doing community radio and food systems outreach work. She was on the steering committee for the Portland, Oregon festival Death:OK in 2015, helped to develop Funeral Resources and Education websites for Oregon and Washington State, and is a founding member of the CBA. When at White Eagle at Ekone Ranch, she lives and works in a community of multiple humans and animals -the rest of the time she lives in a wee cabin in the woods in the Skagit Valley.
Treasurer Laura Starkey is the founder and Executive Director of Heartwood Preserve Conservation Cemetery and former Director of Conservation Lands for woodlands on the Starkey Ranch. A third-generation Floridian, Laura began Heartwood on a corner of her family’s former cattle ranch as a way to protect an intact, longleaf pine flatwoods ecosystem while providing a meaningful, earth-friendly option for human burial. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Music and a Master’s in Applied Linguistics, has trained as a community organizer, is a Certified Prescribed Burn Manager, and is a founding member of the Conservation Burial Alliance.
Director Cassie Barrett works as a green cemetery operator at Carolina Memorial Sanctuary, a conservation burial ground, where she has been since 2016. There she assists families with burials, runs business operations, and occasionally even digs graves. She also has a passion project, Center for Conscious Living & Dying, a collaboration with hospice doctor Aditi Sethi, which focuses on providing end-of-life guidance. Her biggest mission is to encourage and empower people to prepare for their own death and live a fuller life. She is a founding member of the Conservation Burial Alliance.
Director Laura Cameron stumbled upon green burial in 2018, after her mother—an ardent conservationist—suffered a disabling stroke. The remote setting of White Eagle Memorial Preserve echoed the wilderness parks the family loved to roam in life. The life-changing experience of giving her parents, aunt and husband natural burials there inspires Laura to tell others who cherish the earth about conservation burial. Laura is the Washington State Auditor’s Office staff editor, and serves on the American Copy Editors Society’s Education Fund Board. She holds an MA in journalism from England’s University of Bournemouth and a BA from SUNY Purchase.
Director Carlos Gonzalez (he/him/el) is the Operations Coordinator for Prairie Creek Conservation Cemetery, a non-profit community cemetery which is based in Gainesville Florida. He holds a BFA from the Pacific Northwest College of Art and had taught previously before entering the natural burial movement. Carlos is keen on educating people about body disposition options, land conservation/restoration practices and building a strong community in and out of the state of Florida.
Director Amy Henricksen has worked at Kenyon College since 2004, and joined the Philander Chase Conservancy, Kenyon’s land trust, in 2013. Amy assists in all aspects of the Conservancy’s work, but her primary focus has been the creation and management of Kokosing Nature Preserve. Amy earned an undergraduate degree in business administration from Alma College and a graduate degree in health administration from The Ohio State University. She and her husband, Chris, live in Mount Vernon, Ohio with their two children.
Director Freddie Johnson is one of the founders of Conservation Burial Inc. (CBI), the non-profit organization that manages Prairie Creek Conservation Cemetery (PCCC). He served as CBI's Board President for three years prior to being CBI’s Executive Director from 2011-2021. He helped found the non-profit Conservation Burial Alliance (CBA) in 2016 and presently serves on that Board of Directors. Freddie has been deeply engaged with the home funeral and natural burial movement since 2006 and has given hundreds of presentations about burial and funerary history, caring for our own dead, and conservation burial grounds.
Director Brianna Leverett is a student at Northwest Mississippi Community College in their Funeral Science program. She is a certified apprentice embalmer and NFDA certified cremationist. Her relationship with the death industry began in 2018 after experiencing a loss of my own loved one. For Brianna, the loss sparked the need to nurture and assist other families with the transitions of life. Providing exceptional service, dignity and honor to someone during their final rites became her lifelong endeavor. Brianna is grateful to educate and offer respect to the deceased and our planet through conservation burial.
Director Hannah Mann has been the Family Services Associate at Foxfield Preserve since October of 2021. A graduate of Hiram College, Hannah received her BA in Biomedical Humanities in 2020, and later received her MA in Medical Ethics & Humanities in 2022 from Northeast Ohio Medical University. Her thesis was focused on the expansion of primary palliative care skills to a variety of healthcare specialties to improve empathy, quality of life, and access. Prior to joining Foxfield Preserve and the Conservation Burial Alliance, Hannah worked for several social justice agencies, including Advocates for Youth and the ACLU of Ohio.
Director Mary Ann Perry is the sexton at The Forest Conservation Burial Ground in southern Oregon. The Forest is on the grounds of the 445-acre Willow-Witt Ranch within the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument. Mary Ann is passionate about community engagement and education. She is a home funeral guide and end of life planning advocate. She earned a BS in Natural Resource Planning and Interpretation from Humboldt State University and an MA in Education from Southern Oregon University. When time is free, she can be found in the wilderness.
Director David Ponoroff began working the conservation burial field while completing his BA in Political Science and Sustainability Studies at the University of Florida. While there he began volunteering and then working with Prairie Creek Conservation Cemetery. David spent nearly five years at Prairie Creek developing not just the organization, but the community of volunteers and related educational programming surrounding it. Today he serves as the Assistant Director of Larkspur Conservation, Tennessee’s first and only conservation burial ground. David is a founding member of the Conservation Burial Alliance..
Director Jeff Masten is a conservation burial consultant with Landmatters. Jeff works with private partners and land trusts on site assessment, land and risk analyses, project development, financing models and funding opportunities for conservation acquisitions and conservation burial projects. With over 20 years in the field, Jeff’s expertise is in building partnerships, and creating and leading cutting-edge conservation programs. Introduced to conservation burial in 2006, Jeff has supported the development of conservation burial projects in North Carolina and throughout the country. He is a founding member of the CBA and a co-founder of Bluestem Conservation Cemetery.
Director Shawna Wagner (she/her) has been raising money for the environment for nearly three decades. Currently, she’s a stewardship officer at Sierra Club. Shawna’s interest in conservation burial started when she attended the funeral of a dear friend. Moved by the intimacy of green burial, she later learned about the environmental values inherent in her friend’s choice to be buried at a memorial preserve. She was hooked. Currently, she's supporting the Bluestem community in their fundraising efforts. She's hoping to help conservation cemeteries flourish across the country.
Past Directors and Officers
Director and Co-Founder Sara Brink has been the Communications Manager at the Foxfield Preserve since 2012. She has presented about conservation burial at Cleveland Museum of Natural History Conservation Symposium in 2018, and at the Land Trust Alliance national Rally in 2019 and 2021, encouraging conservationists to embrace natural burial as a powerful tool for their cause. In October 2015, Sara was named as one of the “Pioneering Women of Natural Death Care” in American Cemetery & Cremation magazine. Sara is a founding member of the Conservation Burial Alliance and a strong presence in the conservation burial community nationwide. Inception - 2022
Director and Co-Founder Dr. Billy Campbell had been talking about conservation burial in the context of land restoration for years before opening Ramsey Creek Preserve in Westminster, SC, in 1998 with his wife, Kimberley. The preserve has served as a laboratory for developing the specific techniques for green interment and project design. It was here that Billy developed most of the standards for what is now known as conservation burial. Dr. Campbell addresses both practical and philosophical issues related to restoration of conservation land as it pertains to natural burial. He is a founding member of the Conservation Burial Alliance. Inception - 2022
Director and Co-Founder Kimberley Campbell manages the day-to-day operations of Ramsey Creek Preserve with her husband, Dr. Billy Campbell. Ramsey Creek is celebrating its 22nd year as the first green burial ground in the US and first conservation cemetery in the world. Kimberley's work has helped shape the interpersonal side of cemetery management, "healing broken hearts and broken landscapes" by offering a different alternative. Kimberley shares how she participated in getting Ramsey Creek on the map. She is a founding member of the Conservation Burial Alliance. Inception - 2022
Director and Co-Founder Lee Webster is a lifelong conservationist, author, public speaker, and educator about funeral reform, particularly home funerals and green burials, and founding member of the CBA. Her work with major end of life and death nonprofits inform her contributions, including leadership positions is Green Burial Council International (former President and Vice Chair for Education), National Home Funeral Alliance (former President and Vice President), National End-of-Life Doula Alliance (co-founder, treasurer, and director), NHPCO Doula Council (co-founder), and NH Funeral Resources, Education & Advocacy (Director). Inception - 2022
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