The Life Forest Team

Mel

The concept of Life Forest was created by Mel and her desire to bury her mother in a place that did not yet exist. Her dream of a space unlike any other where healing would be found through nature by burying cremains under trees, but also having the protective qualities of a traditional cemetery became a mission within reach thanks to the talents and efforts of the people introduced here.

As the concept designer for this non-profit cemetery approach, and with graduate studies in Leadership and a bachelor’s degree in Anthropology and Sociology Mel has always been intrigued by the human condition and how our life experiences such as pain, illness, belief, community, tradition, and family can shape us. Mel believes that a genuine kindness and respect for others, as well as the situations that have shaped people's lives, is the starting point in achieving that feeling of fulfillment that we all deserve to have. 

John

Growing up in small-town England, John traveled to the United States as a young man. It is here in the United States that he established his family life and a successful business career. As a Founder of Life Forest, John's business acumen helped bring the concept to life. Through a passion for listening to the needs of others and working to meet those needs. He understands the importance of creating a space that evokes a sense of peace, and he brings his work ethic and personal passion to redefine how we feel when we visit our loved ones.

Danielle

Danielle is Life Forest's Family Support Specialist ensuring that your questions receive the gentle guidance and answers necessary for you to make important end of life decisions around burial.

Life Forest was proud to have Danielle join the Life Forest Team after a long leave from the banking industry to raise her family. At Life Forest, we value the sacrifice, commitment and love it takes to be a stay-at-home parent, and Danielle's ability to stay calm raising three sons attests to her strength and fortitude! Having always been in member services during her career, Life Forest is the perfect fit for her to continue her passion to be of service when people need it the most.

Danielle lost her mother and mother-in-law early in life and these experiences have given her a desire to help others in the grieving and healing process. Danielle and her husband of nearly 30 years as well as their three boys are life long residents of New Hampshire.

Mike

Mike is our Cemetery Facilities Supervisor and Tour Guide.  He can be found most days on the land with visiting families or preparing the grounds for upcoming services. 

Mike loves the outdoors and brings that warmth to his work.

Jessica

Jessica Johansson, M.Div. serves as Director of Community Engagement at Life Forest. From social media initiatives to community events, she is dedicated to fostering meaningful connections and strengthening the bond between Life Forest and the communities it serves.

Jessica, the owner of Sacred Journey End-of-Life Services, is also an end-of-life doula for people and companion animals, death educator, and ordained Interfaith minister. She is the founder of Sacred Journey End-of-Life Services in Jaffrey, NH. Jessica also currently serves on the National End-of-Life Doula Alliance Board of Directors.

 

Traci

Working for several years in the Death Care industry as a Funeral Director, and with a strong passion for animals and the outdoors, Traci is Life Forest's Director of Burial Services.

Traci also spearheaded Life Forest's Guardianship Program which you can learn more about through her free 2 credit CEU Course on Redesigning the End, Protection of Human Rights and Dignity Through Burials.

Traci is the owner and operator of Denver Undertaking Services LLC, and graduated from the New England Institute at Mount Ida College in 2012 with a BA in Bereavement Studies and Funeral Service. Prior to that, she obtained her BA in Psychology from Southern New Hampshire University.  

Caitlyn

Dr. Caitlyn Hauke became interested in the Death Care Industry as a way to help her grieve the loss of her father. She has found her way to Life Forest, where she combines her education and leadership to serve families as the Director of Strategic Planning and Development. Caitlyn is proud to offer a more ecologically-friendly Death Care option to grieving families in a place that provides peace and healing.

Caitlyn has a Ph.D. in Microbiology and Immunology from Dartmouth College, serves as President on the Green Burial Council Board of Directors, and has experience as a municipal cemetery trustee as well.

Addie

Addie is our Life Forest Team Administrator, promoting support, communication, and encouragement between Life Forest team members. Addie keeps record of team meetings, as well as helping to facilitate team communication through the use of technology such as Slack, Google Docs, and DocuSign. She reviews all documents prior to digital filing to ensure accuracy. She also sends words of encouragement each morning to the Life Forest team!

Addie has learned to understand and respect those who are struggling in life, as she was adopted at 10 months old from an orphanage in China. This experience has taught her to be grateful for the life that she has and has empathy for those that are not as fortunate. 

Jamie

Jamie holds one of the most important roles at Life Forest as our Groundskeeper.  When visiting Life Forest you most likely will see Jamie watering the memorial trees, hand digging our burial tree plots, keeping any invasive species at bay, as well as keeping a protective eye over your loved one's final resting place.

Fate brought Jamie to Life Forest and we appreciate that he is an integral part of the Life Forest team.  Jamie is not a stranger to loss. Jamie lost his wife Bobbijo to cancer. Jamie found passion and healing in creating a Cancer Awareness Float in memory of his late wife. Jamie was widowed with 2 school aged sons, providing him with an empathy for others who have experienced the loss of a loved one.

 

Colton

Dr. Colton Sawyer brings mathematical and technological brilliance to Life Forest® as our Director of Mapping Technology, ensuring that our mapping data is accurate and that data points are in line with real world coordinates. Working as an Associate Professor of Mathematics at Southern New Hampshire University, Colton's research is based on modeling biological systems using physiologically-based pharmacokinetic (PBPK) modeling techniques.

Learn more about Colton's essential role in developing Life Forest's GIS data storage, design, and environmental information.

Theresa

Theresa, Life Forest’s Tree Doctor,  advises our team on appropriate forest and soil maintenance as well as closely monitoring each memorial tree after planting.

"Botany was an early interest for me. I spent my summers designing, planting, and maintaining various garden sites in Michigan and Ohio. I spent my winters reading everything that I could about plant life that thrived in those regions.

 

Racy

Racy is Life Forest's Shroud Artisan. With an established career in surgery, Racy takes the skill set of surgical stitching and gentle patient care to hand sew our family's beautiful wool burial shrouds.  

In the surgery environment, Racy became well-versed in showing respect and compassion to people in trauma, as well as in the respectful handling of human remains. She brings this important level of expertise to Life Forest.

Sasha (Intern)

Sasha Kramer is a first-year PhD student in the anthropology department at Johns Hopkins University. She will be studying Life Forest this summer as a component of her dissertation on the intersections of mourning, spirituality, and ecology in the green burial movement.

Michelle

Michelle, Co-Founder Whistle Ridge - Life Forest Host Site, Maine is the owner and founder of COMPASSIONATE COMPOSTING where she has met a significant need for a humane method of large animal respect upon death, that was also environmentally responsible. Michelle has served as an assistant instructor for the [regional] Technical Large Animal Emergency Rescue, and is also experienced in the use of specialty equipment and mechanical handling techniques of large animals. Michelle attended the Maine Compost School and received a zoning ordinance amendment with the assistance and support of the Maine Compost Team.

Chelsea

Chelsea, Co-Founder Whistle Ridge - Life Forest Host Site, Maine works as an independent carpenter, loves the outdoors and animals. Chelsea’s excellence in her carpentry brings physical strength and stamina, problem solving and math skills, patience, creativity, and communication. Chelsea’s commitment to land conservation efforts and attention to detail, serve as the inspiration for her to offer the best options for both people and animal companions after their passing.

Rick - Professional Adviser

Dr. Rick Van de Poll is the principal of Ecosystem Management Consultants (EMC) of Sandwich, NH and is a Certified Wetland Scientist (#110). Rick comes to Life Forest with a passion to provide services that help soften our footprint on the Earth.