TNF’s managing partners Karen van Vuuren, and Daniel Ziskin, PhD. Our holistic funeral director is Eddie Volk, part of our exceptional TNF team.
Meet the Team
Karen van Vuuren, Managing Partner at The Natural Funeral
Karen van Vuuren has been a natural death care educator and end-of-life transitions guide since 2001. In 2003, she founded the non-profit Boulder-based organization, Natural Transitions, and has been the executive director since then. As a transition guide for Natural Transitions, Karen has supported hundreds of families to participate in green and holistic home-based death care.
Karen has organized and taught workshops on natural death care in Colorado and in other venues across the US. She is considered a pioneer of green and holistic funeral care in the US. Karen is a founding member of the National Home Funeral Alliance and in 2008, organized the first national green burial conference in the US.
Since 2011, Karen has worked as the managing editor of Natural Transitions Magazine, a biannual publication, distributed nationally and internationally. The magazine focuses on holistic and green approaches to end of life. Here is a link to a recent issue.
In addition, Karen is an award-winning documentary-maker. Her work on end-of-life issues has screened at film festivals nationally, and at the annual clinical conferences of the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization. Her two hospice documentaries on end-of-life are Dying Wish (a dying doctor’s decision to stop eating and drinking, 2008) and Go in Peace! (the caregiver’s role in healing the soul wounds of veterans with trauma, 2015).
Karen has also worked in independent and public radio as a reporter, and has produced radio documentaries. Her feature on wilderness rites of passage led by hospice physician and author, Dr. Scott Eberle, The Practice of Living and Dying, aired on National Public Radio.
Karen is a contributing non-Buddhist author to Andrew Holecek’s book, Preparing to Die: Practical Advice and Spiritual Wisdom from the Tibetan Buddhist Tradition.
Finally, Karen and her husband, Jamie (author and math missionary), own a math book publishing business Jamie York Press Inc. Karen is the business manager and public relations director.
The Natural Funeral is the culmination of her life’s work of revisioning end-of-life and funeral care. She is thrilled to be part of The Natural Funeral team, supporting its values and ethics 100 percent.
Daniel Ziskin, PhD, Managing Partner at The Natural Funeral
Daniel Ziskin is an Earth scientist, working for NASA, NOAA and currently NCAR. Although his professional specialty is data management of satellite observations, his life-long passion has been as an environmentalist. His expertise makes him a valuable member of The Natural Funeral team. Daniel is responsible for finance and technology.
Daniel has channeled his interest in the environment into service on the boards of many environmental, animal welfare and civic nonprofits. Currently he sits on these boards:
- Kindness Ranch Animal Sanctuary – President
- eGo CarShare – Vice-President
- Natural Transitions – Treasurer
- Time Bank Boulder – Vice-President
In addition to his scientific and nonprofit work, Daniel has been an entrepreneur. He owns and operates a computer support business called Escape Goat Data. Especially relevant, he has acquired start-up experience working as a co-founder of BEECO Corp. and Earthship Village Colorado.
Edrea D. Volk, Holistic Funeral Director at The Natural Funeral
Edrea D. Volk graduated from New England College in New Hampshire with a BA in Marketing in 1985. An epiphany led her to mortuary science, and she has never regretted the path that opened up before her as a result. Early on she was fortunate to make the acquaintance of Karen van Vuuren whose passion sparked her interest in natural funeral and burial practices.
In 2010, Edrea graduated with an Associate Degree of Mortuary Science. She became a Funeral Director for a corporation owning multiple funeral homes in the Denver Metro area. She’s incredibly grateful to all the families she helped through a very difficult process over the years. And she continues to feel called to work with people during end-of-life transition.
Edrea left the funeral industry in 2014. The approach to death care and sales practices of corporate funeral America was not a fit. She had remained in contact with Karen and a meeting a few years ago has allowed her to join The Natural Funeral team. A long-time resident of Lafayette, Colorado, Edrea is honored to join this group of authentic individuals to create a living arts center for holistic end-of-life education and green funerary care.