Pioneers of change
Changing the funeral industry wouldn’t happen without dedicated people working behind the scenes. Here are the generous individuals and organisations behind Earth Funerals.
Leading the way
Kevin Hartley is the founder and director of Earth Funerals. He has more than 20 years of experience in the funeral and cemetery industries, giving him a broad and deep understanding of the sector.
In 2016, he played a key role in establishing the first private natural burial ground at the Aldinga Arts-EcoVillage in South Australia. Working with the late Hon. Bob Such (Independent MP for Fischer) and a community group (Natural Earth Burial Society), he lobbied for legislative changes to establish the burial grounds.
Kevin has won awards for his innovative bio-coffin designs and is considered an authority on natural burials.
Support from Starfish Initiatives
Earth Funerals wouldn’t exist without the support of its auspice partner Starfish Initiatives. Starfish provided an incubation service that allowed us to 'borrow' their charitable structure and legal framework. Thanks to them, we moved effectively through early scoping and feasibility phases, and were able to secure philanthropic funding for concept development.
In 2019, with essential structures in place, Earth Funerals spun off from Starfish into its own Charitable Trade Corporation under the guidance of a uniquely qualified, all-executive Board of Directors.
Dr Vanda Rounsefell
Executive Director (Adelaide)
Vanda has a background in wholistic & environmental general medical practice. In 2000, she expanded her interest from restoring individual health to that of larger scales - housing, landscapes, cities and countries. This led to private involvement and research into ecovillages and sustainable living, sustainable death practices and to her leading the establishment at Aldinga Arts-EcoVillage of the first SA natural burial ground under new SA legislation. She wrote a PhD entitled “From EgoCity to EcoCity : an ecological, complex systems approach to humans and their settlements”. She trained in and served on the Board of The Natural Step, a powerful sustainability model, and set up Ecoweb Human Ecology Services, an eco-counselling consultancy. She retains her medical connection through assisting surgeons in private hospitals.
Executive Director (Melbourne)
Joe was the founder and executive director of the Green Burial Council in the US. He was a pioneer of natural burials in the US, developing the country’s first natural burial ground in a major metro area. He served as Senior Fellow of the Environmental Leadership Program and former Commissioner for the City of Santa Fe’s Sustainability Commission, and has been a consultant to several conservation organisations exploring natural burial.
Dr Gina Price
Executive Director (Perth)
Gina was a founding partner of the Sociocracy Consulting Group, and is an expert facilitator of sociocratic governance. In other words, she solves problems by creating harmonious social environments. Her group has provided training for NGOs, eco-villages and businesses in the US, Australia, New Zealand, Alaska and Brazil. Previously, Gina worked as a polar scientist—over-wintering in Antarctica and conducting research in Alaska. Her disciplined scientific rigour, and deep respect for life itself, make her a valued member of the Earth Funerals' family.
Starfish Initiatives – Armidale, NSW
The Madden Sainsbury Foundation – Sydney
The Earth Welfare Foundation – Sydney
The Pace Foundation – Sydney
Rose M Gilder – Victoria
Josette Wunder – Sydney
Ross Knowles Foundation – Sydney
Greater Bank – Armidale, NSW
Judy De Jong – Armidale, NSW
Jeremy Smith – Armidale, NSW
Elizabeth Phelan – Sandringham, VIC