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Green Funeral Conference
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Green Funeral Conference

 Export to Your Calendar 10/2/2019 to 10/4/2019
Where: Santa Ana Star Casino
54 Jemez Canyon Dam Road
Santa Ana Pueblo, New Mexico  87004
United States
Contact: CANA Staff

Online registration is available until: 10/2/2019
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As a death care professional, you know it is essential to be prepared to meet family needs and provide expert guidance. Consumers want their funerals to reflect their lives, and that often includes incorporating green values. Though there are widely varying definitions of “green,” the requests for green funerals, or even just greener options, will continue to increase.

Over 200 U.S. cemeteries—nearly every state has at least one—offer some type of green burial option. Whether in natural burial grounds, conservation preserves, or hybrid cemeteries, it is becoming easier for those who want a green burial to have one.

Not sure how to serve families who want a greener option? Or do you already offer these options but want to network and gain ideas for promoting them within your community? Join Passages International and the Cremation Association of North America October 2-4, 2019 in Albuquerque, NM as we come together to explore the shades of green when it comes to funeral practices. Then plan to stay through the weekend for the International Balloon Fiesta!


Download our Advance Program to see everything we have planned for the first-ever Green Funeral Conference.


Program Schedule

Wednesday, October 2             

5:00p – 7:00p          Welcome gathering in the hotel bar

Thursday, October 3                

7:30a                        Continental breakfast

8:00a                        Welcome remarks

8:15a – 12:00p        Green fundamentals, marketing & selling green, legal and cultural trends

12:00p – 1:00p        Lunch

1:00p – 4:00p          Practitioner panel, consumer preferences

4:45p                        Bus departs for Passages International, Inc

5:00p – 7:00p          Reception at Passages International, Inc

Friday, October 4

8:30a                        Continental breakfast

9:00a – 12:30p        Shrouding, manufacturer panel, roundtables




Ed Bixby
President, Green Burial Council

Ed Bixby is the owner and operator of Steelmantown Green Burial Preserve in Steelmantown, NJ, as well as Purissima Natural Burial Ground in Half Moon Bay, CA. Ed’s extensive background in land use and development includes being a licensed New Jersey real estate broker and the owner of Fox and Fox Builders, LLC. Ed’s experience in the development industry has provided keen insight into better land use practices and drives his passion for the natural burial movement and the benefits it provides to the present and future generations. Ed has led presentations on natural burial for numerous organizations and has provided educational training for both funeral directors and cemeterians alike. Ed resides in southern New Jersey with his two daughters Ava and Mina.

Darren Crouch
President and founder, Passages International, Inc

Over the past several years, Darren has been published in The Director Magazine, The American Funeral Director Magazine, Funeral Business Advisor, The Cremationist and the ICCFA Magazine. He has also been quoted in both the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal and has spoken at several national and international conventions including the Asia Funeral Expo, the National Funeral Directors Convention and the ICCFA Convention.

Darren holds a BSc. (Hons) degree from Manchester Metropolitan University in Manchester, England and now lives with his wife and two daughters in New Mexico, an area renowned not only for its exceptional beauty but also for its leadership in solar power, green building, and design.


Linda Canyon and Donal Key
Natural Burial New Mexico

Dr. Donal W. Key's formal education is human development and counseling. He worked for decades in mental health in-patient psychiatric care and private practice, healthcare management, and consulting. He has been a hospice director, educating staff and assisting the dying and their families in obtaining a peaceful death. Dr. Key also hosted The Journey radio show, chronicling people’s end of life stories, and is a national speaker for healthcare providers on Hospice and Palliative Care End of Life Rights and Choices.

Linda Jo Canyon, OTR/L, is a registered, licensed occupational therapist with a dual degree in psychology and specialties in the rehabilitation of cancer patients and hospice and end of life care. She educates and empowers families and friends of the dying in end of life care and assists with burials. Linda is also a long-time national speaker for healthcare providers on the topics of rehabilitation after cancer treatment andHospice and Palliative Care End of Life Rights and Choices.

Gracie Griffin
Vice President Customer Relations, Bellefontaine Cemetery and Arboretum

Mrs. Griffin began in Customer Relations with Bellefontaine Cemetery in September 2012. Previously, Gracie taught social studies in the Parkway School District and later became a yearbook representative for Walsworth Publishing.

As a former educator, Mrs. Griffin’s passion lies in helping people. Through educating on important topics like pre-planning and green burial, providing guidance through genealogy research, and serving families in their time of need, Gracie fulfills this passion at Bellefontaine.

Gracie earned her BA in Education from the University of Missouri-Columbia.

In her spare time, she enjoys relaxing with her family, trivia events, and disc golf.

Esmerelda Kent
CEO, Kinkaraco

Native Californian, Esmerelda Kent , a left a career in show business as designer with the company Industrial Light and Magic in 2004 to pioneer green burial at Fernwood Cemetery, California's first cemetery to offer the option . There she redesigned the ancient burial shroud into a secular 21st Century funeral product . In 2005 her prototype was purchased by the HBO show "SIX FEET UNDER" and she was hired as the green burial expert on the set. That year she launched KINKARACO® Green Burial Products selling directly online to the public. 

Luis Llorens
President and Chief Engineer, US Cremation Equipment

Tanya Marsh
Professor, Wake Forest University School of Law

Tanya Marsh teaches Property, Real Estate Transactions, a Seminar on Law, Business, and the Economy, Funeral and Cemetery Law, and Professional Development. Her scholarship addresses commercial real estate, the regulation of community banks, and the laws regarding the status, treatment, and disposition of human remains. A graduate of Indiana University and Harvard Law School, before joining the Wake Forest faculty in 2010, Marsh clerked for the Indiana Supreme Court, practiced commercial real estate and corporate law with two large Indianapolis law firms, and spent five years as in-house counsel with a public shopping center REIT. Marsh is involved in the leadership of the American Bar Association's Real Property Trust & Estate Law Section and is a frequent contributor to that section's CLE offerings.

Nicki Mikolai
Sales Manager, Resomation America LLC

Kilian Rempen
Marketing Manager, Passages International, Inc

Kilian was born and raised in Albuquerque, New Mexico, where he fostered a love of nature and the outdoors while being introduced from a young age to the world of commerce and advertising. After a brief stint touring with a rock band, he studied Marketing and Advertising at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, and moved to Colorado where the “green bug” was cemented. After a short time living in Thailand, he returned to Albuquerque to pursue his career, finding the perfect match at Passages International, a company pushing for greener practices in an industry that touches everyone’s life at some point. Today, Kilian enjoys being able to spread the word of an environmentally-friendly company, and is delighted to see that the general population of the world is moving towards minimizing their environmental impact.

Gail Rubin, CT
The Doyenne of Death®

As an award-winning speaker, she uses humor and funny film clips to attract people to topics many would rather avoid: taking care of advance medical directives, estate planning and funeral planning. She is an active member of the National Speakers Association serving as the 2019-2020 president of the New Mexico Chapter, and is active in Toastmasters International.

Gail pioneered the Death Cafe movement in the United States. She hosted the first Death Cafe west of the Mississippi in Albuquerque, New Mexico in September, 2012.

She also held the first Before I Die Festival west of the Mississippi in October, 2017. Her 2018 Before I Die New Mexico Festival won the ICCFA’s KIP Award for Best Event. In 2019, she introduced one-day Before I Die Festivals, hosted by funeral homes and cemeteries.

Paul Seyler
Division Manager - Marketing, Matthews Environmental

Glenda Stansbury
Marketing & Development Director, InSight Institute

Glenda Stansbury joined InSight in 1996 as Marketing & Development Director. She has worked as an educator, teacher trainer, and seminar developer. She is a practicing Celebrant, adjunct professor at the University of Central Oklahoma Funeral Department and is a licensed funeral director/embalmer.

Sam Sieber
VP of Research, Bio-Response Solutions



Registration is $495 and includes two continental breakfasts, lunch and the reception at Passages International. Register online at the button above or by calling the CANA offices.



A block of rooms has been reserved at the Santa Ana Star Casino Hotel for $155/night plus taxes. To reserve, call 844-466-2378, and provide code 906 (or mention the Cremation Association of North American block) to receive the discounted rate. This rate is good the evenings of October 2 and 3, as well as two days prior based on availability. For those wishing to stay over for the International Balloon Fiesta, we have a rate of $209/night for the nights of October 4 and 5.



Passages International, Inc, lead sponsor for this event, invites all attendees to a reception featuring hors d’oeuvres and drinks and a tour of the Passages facility. Bus transportation to and from Passages and the hotel will be provided.


International Balloon Fiesta

The International Balloon Fiesta kicks off on October 5. If you plan to stay over for the weekend, we have a rate of $209 at the Santa Ana for the nights of October 4th and 5th. Space is limited.

Looking for a place to watch the launch Saturday morning? Head over to the parking lot at Passages International and have a mimosa while you enjoy the view from this prime location!