About Us

Simplicity. Affordability. Honoring the ones you love.

Whatever approach is best for you, your families and friends—whether it’s a simple, private gathering of family and friends, a traditional religious graveside service, a service brings together the outpouring of a wide community—we do our utmost to help you honor the memory of those you love in the most fitting way.

Greensprings Natural Cemetery Preserves’ Trustees and Staff


Burial Coordinator: Jennifer Johnson After serving as a Greensprings trustee and secretary for more than six years, Jen now works as a liaison with funeral directors and families to plan and officiate at burials. She studies healing modalities, medicinal plants and Native American spiritual practices, and plays Plains Indian flute, guitar and percussion. Jen is in awe of nature and the creative processes of life, and enjoys a life of simplicity. She lives in Corning, NY.

Reach Jennifer at 607-329-2279 or grannyintipi@yahoo.com

Caretaker: Samuel Hernandez has been the resident caretaker at Greensprings since 2005. From the beginning of Greensprings’ operations, he has helped develop burial procedures and has assisted with gravesite preparation, and he is also responsible for maintenance of the graves, trails and facilities. For several years, Sam worked as a carpenter and woodworker, practicing primarily in the construction of timber-framed strawbale homes. Since 2012 he has been attending school full time, in preparation for studying medicine. He is also a volunteer with the Newfield Fire Department.

Executive Director: Joel Rabinowitz After serving as a trustee for Greensprings for over two years, Joel became Greensprings’ director in July 2007. He previously worked as a research analyst and database manager in the development offices of Ithaca College and Cornell University, and also as a staff historian for a public archaeology company. A member of the Finger Lakes Land Trust, he served on its board and chaired its development committee. Joel and his wife Dorothy live in Groton, NY, and enjoy hiking, cross-country skiing and bird-watching in the beautiful Finger Lakes region.

Reach Joel at 607-898-5113, 607-279-7393, or jrabinowitz2003@yahoo.com

Greensprings’ Board of Trustees

Our trustees share a common passion for protecting natural beauty and finding commonsense solutions for social concerns. We do everything from developing presentations, signs, and brochures to laying out trails and burial areas; from legal research to and fundraising and promoting natural burial; and, of course, providing oversight for Greensprings’ day-to-day operations. We’d love to do a presentation for your organization—don’t hesitate to give us a call.

Richard Cahoon, president, is a consultant in international intellectual property management and commercialization. He is an adjunct faculty member at both Cornell and the University of New Hampshire School of Law, and previously served as director of the Cornell Center for Technology, Enterprise, and Commercialization, where he managed inventions by Cornell researchers. He served as a board member and vice president of the Finger Lakes Land Trust, and on boards of other nonprofits and several companies. Richard received his Masters in land rehabilitation from Montana State and his Ph.D. in natural resources from Cornell. He lives near Freeville, NY, with his wife J’nelle. They have three children.

Mary Beth Gehring, treasurer, is the community office manager for Tioga State Bank. For 20 years before that, she was a dairy farmer. She has served on boards of many local organizations and nonprofits, including the Newfield Town Board, Tompkins County Farm Bureau, and the Newfield United Methodist Church. She was a founding member of Community Foundation of Tompkins County and still serves on its finance committee. She also serves on the Newfield Community Good Neighbor Fund and has long been interested in land use issues. Mary Beth lives in Newfield, NY, with her husband Richard and enjoys gardening and other outdoor activities.

Deena Freed is a founding member of EcoVillage at Ithaca (NY) and remains an active member, having served on the Process Steering Committee since it began 15 years ago. She was president of EcoVillage’s First Neighborhood for four years, starting many projects there through the years. Deena is also a serious amateur classical guitarist who studied in a Music for Healing Program and is a music volunteer at Hospicare of Ithaca. She is a former special education teacher, mother of three, and grandmother of six.

Linda Holzbaur has worked for many years on issues of peace and social justice, ranging from home birth and homeschooling to indy publishing and banning weapons in space. Currently a community organizer for the Tompkins County Workers Center, Linda and her four grown children and their families live in and around Ithaca, NY. Linda enjoys eating local food, dancing, hoppy beers and people with developed humor senses. She is committed to walking whenever possible.

Steve Lawrence has coached for the U.S. Association for Blind Athletes and brought Shot in the Dark, a “beep-baseball” team for those with visual impairments, to three wins at the World Series of Beep Baseball. He has written over 1,000 articles—mostly sports and health related, but including many eulogies and memorials—and is a graduate of the Celebrant Foundation and Institute. Steve works as a membership account executive with the Tompkins County Chamber of Commerce. He lives in Newfield, NY, and takes great pride in having raised (with their mother) three beautiful daughters who have great friends, do well in school and sports, and tolerate all but intolerance.

John Rogers runs a construction and construction management firm in Ithaca following a 20-year career in the nonprofit housing field at Ithaca Neighborhood Housing Services. He has wide-ranging community connections along with a practical, results-oriented approach to promoting Greensprings’ vision. He’s been on a number of area nonprofit boards including the Finger Lakes Land Trust (serving as president), and he currently serves on the board of the Community Foundation of Tompkins County. He lives in Ithaca, NY.

Jennifer Shirk is a PhD candidate in the Department of Natural Resources at Cornell University, and a full-time researcher/educator at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. She has a background in herpetology and conservation education, and combines those interests to support public participation in scientific research. This work involves managing a website (citizenscience.org), organizing field-building conferences, and leading professional development workshops for researchers and educators around the United States and beyond. When not traveling, she has the honor of residing at Greensprings, along with her husband Sam Hernandez.

Founding President Emeritus

Mary Woodsen is Greensprings’ founding president. She served as president of the incorporating board of trustees beginning in 2003, and as president of the board of the cemetery from its opening in 2006 until 2011. She then continued as a trustee through June 2012. An internationally-recognized advocate of the natural burial movement, Mary currently serves as research director for the Green Burial Council, which provides guidance and certification for funeral providers and cemeteries offering a natural alternative to conventional burial practices. A freelance journalist, Mary has published numerous articles on ecological and environmental subjects, and she is a science writer at Cornell University. Mary has also received training with the Environmental Leadership Program. She is a member of the Finger Lakes Land Trust, the Society of Environmental Journalists, the Society of Conservation Biology, and the National Association of Science Writers.

In memoriam

Carl Leopold, a long time Trustee of Greensprings, passed away in 2009 at the age of 89. He was a professor emeritus at Cornell University, the founding president of the Finger Lakes Land Trust, and a co-founder of the Tropical Forestry Initiative, which works to reforest eroded mountain farms in Costa Rica. He was an active conservationist ever since the early thirties, when he began restoring (along with the rest of his family) a worn-out farm in Sand County, Wisconsin, now an icon for conservationists everywhere.

Trustee Contact Info

Dick Cahoon 607-844-4953 rsc5@cornell.edu

Deena Freed 607-277-4270 deena@ecovillage.ithaca.ny.us

Mary Beth Gehring 607-564-7016 MGehring@tiogabank.com

Linda Holzbaur 607-280-8496 ljholzbaur@yahoo.com

Steve Lawrence 607-342-2267 stevesportsdude@gmail.com

John Rogers 607-229-2523 johnrogers@hotmail.com

Mary Woodsen 607-233-4174, 917-842-0987 (cell) marywoodsen@nasw.org