Clark Wang grew up in Ann Arbor, Michigan and came to Durham, North Carolina to attend Duke University, staying for medical school, then working his entire career in community psychiatry. His love of music led him to become an accomplished cellist, pianist, folk dancer, and accordionist. In 2004, Clark was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, which initiated a transformation of his thinking on food and the environment, and ultimately, on the impact of burial and cremation. Clark became an advocate for green burial and expressed a passionate hope for a better and cleaner future for all.
Jane Ezzard met Clark while working with him at Dorothea Dix Psychiatric Hospital. A New Yorker who found her way to Durham, Jane was not your average psychiatric nurse. She went against strict hospital conventions and became friends with her patients, making them laugh and dressing up in costumes. She and Clark each saw in the other a caring person who was dedicated to making a positive change in the lives of everyone on the ward. It was not long before the two went on their first date, to Clark’s folk dancing group. After Clark’s diagnosis, Jane was there to take care of him through it all.
Dyanne Matzkevich is the manager at Pine Forest Memorial Gardens in Wake Forest, North Carolina, where she opened the first green burial ground in the Triangle Area. When Clark approached Dyanne about initiating a green burial garden in their community, Dyanne had already been thinking about it and was enthusiastic to begin planning. It took a lot of hard work and persistence on her part, but now the green burial forest stands and a portion is deed restricted in perpetuity. (www.pineforestmemorial.com)
Joe Sehee is the founder of the Green Burial Council, a nonprofit that established the world's first standards for green burial. A Senior Fellow with the Environmental Leadership Program, Joe has been working in the green burial field since 2002 and has consulted for land trusts, park service agencies, and funeral organizations. He was the driving force behind a project in the Galisteo Basin Preserve, New Mexico to use burial as part of protecting 13,000 acres. Joe is working on spreading this concept of conservation burial throughout the US and internationally. (www.greeenburialcouncil.org)
Dr. Billy and Kimberley Campbell opened the Ramsey Creek Preserve in South Carolina in 1998. It was here that Billy developed most of the standards for what is now known as conservation burial. Since opening Ramsey Creek, the Campbells have participated in the development of multiple other functioning projects. Ramsey Creek is currently 72 acres, which they hope to expand to 300 acres as part of their larger goal of conserving one million acres through green burial and other conservation initiatives. (www.memorialecosystems.com)
Kelly Lennon Weaver, a mother of two and North Carolina native, met Clark and Jane at a cancer support group after having been diagnosed with breast cancer. She introduced Clark to holistic alternatives to conventional medicine, which she credited with enabling her to outlive her doctors’ prognosis despite avoiding conventional treatment, and Clark introduced her to the concept of green burial. The three of them remained close friends — and even purchased neighboring plots in the green burial woods at Pine Forest.