Mary Ann is committed to supporting the community in understanding after-death care and disposition options, especially home funerals and green burials. Mary Ann’s connection to the ranch began in 2010 with coordinating a teen girls camp with The Rose Circle (now Rogue Valley Mentoring). Her magical wedding weekend at our campground was in 2014. She lives in Ashland with her husband David, Iggy the cat, and Cody the dog.
Owners Suzanne Willow and Lanita Witt are dedicated to the conservation of a 445-acre gem located at 5,000’ elevation within southern Oregon’s Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument near Ashland. Since 1985, they have focused on restoring balanced working forests and wetlands, and improving wildlife habitat. The owners are committed to land conservation, restoration, and regenerative organic agriculture.
To carry this commitment forward in perpetuity, they established The Forest Conservation Burial Ground as an extension of stewardship beyond their lifetimes.
Joanne Kliejunas joined our small team in 2019 as a volunteer eager to help us make natural burial an option in our community. Joanne has taught classes in the Ashland area to encourage end-of-life decision making by completing an advance directive and to prompt reflection and conversations with loved ones about life, death and their connectedness. As a textile artist, she encourages our clients to select shrouds repurposed from natural textiles that have been meaningful in their lives. She has also salvaged beautiful, slightly damaged table and bed linens and prepared them as shrouds for purchase from The Forest. Joanne’s professional experience as a non-profit manager has contributed to The Forest’s development and planning, as well as outreach in our community.
Daniel Collay grew up on his parents’ farm outside of Eugene. There he gained an early appreciation for farming and the environment. In high school he enrolled in the Rachel Carson Environmental Science Academy where he learned broad sustainability concepts, practical restoration skills, and became a certified master recycler. He followed his passion for the environment into college, graduating with a Bachelor of Environmental Studies and a Minor in Outdoor Adventure Leadership from Southern Oregon University. During his studies, he learned about sustainable development, food systems, and environmental policy. For his Capstone, he designed, created, and implemented a botanical tour showcasing trees on campus. Daniel grew his farming knowledge while interning with the Berggren Demonstration Farm in Springfield Oregon. He also was Trip Leader for the SOU Outdoor Program in college.
After starting in January of 2018 he has found a lot to love here at the ranch. The land seems to offer endless opportunities to support the community, not only with the bounty of food but also with its wealth of knowledge, history, and beauty. He thinks the work here is an excellent way to grow his love of farming, environmental education, and leadership.
Tim Nohr began work with the Forest Natural Burial Ground in August 2020. Originally from Wisconsin, he graduated from UW-Madison with a BA in English in 2000 and moved to Ashland that same year. He feels honored to facilitate natural burial and ceremony in this unique, vibrant landscape. Tim is grateful each day to be working with the elements while assisting the deceased, his/her family, and loved ones to reconnect with the life-sustaining cycles of the Earth.
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