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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

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.

Deena Freed, vice-president is a founding member of EcoVillage at Ithaca (NY) and remains an active member, having served on the Process Steering Committee since it began 17 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.

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 is also the chair of 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.

Jennifer Shirk, secretary earned her PhD candidate in natural resources at Cornell University in 2014 and works as a 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.

Chris Dunham is student supervisor and head of user services in the library of the College of Veterinary Medicine at Cornell. Raised in the rural community of Kirksville, Missouri, Chris ventured to southern Chile while in her early 20s, residing there for a year and a half before returning to the States to complete a degree in Spanish/education. She spent 12 years teaching high school Spanish and a semester teaching English in Pachuca, Mexico. In 2006, she fell in love with and moved to the Ithaca area, and worked as an animal caregiver at Farm Sanctuary in Watkins Glen for several years. A hospice volunteer, Chris has studied end-of-life care at Naropa Institute, and helps organize the current series of Death Cafes in Ithaca.

Jenn Foy is a freelance graphic designer and photographer, as well as the communications manager at Planned Parenthood of the Southern Finger Lakes. Jenn has a background in development, donor relations, fundraising, and giving program management. After planning a burial for a close friend, Jenn became a volunteer at Greensprings and quickly felt a deep connection to our mission that led her to join our board. Jenn lives with her husband and two rescued beagles.

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.

Founding President

Mary Woodsen  served as president of the Incorporating Board of Trustees beginning in 2003, then as president of the cemetery’s Board of Trustees from 2006 to 2011, and continued as a trustee through June 2012. Mary is a well established advocate of the green burial movement and works with the Green Burial Council. She is also a freelance journalist and a science writer at Cornell University.

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

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

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