Freddie Johnson (Executive Director)
Freddie is one of the founders of Conservation Burial Inc. (CBI), the non-profit that manages Prairie Creek Conservation Cemetery (PCCC). He served as CBI's Board President for three years prior to becoming PCCC’s Executive Director in 2011. Freddie was president of a North Carolina sports company he founded in 1976, inspired by playing collegiate tennis at Pfeiffer University and the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, until 1989. That year he and his wife Peggy moved to Gainesville, and he began a 19-year career with a pharmaceutial company specializing in dermatology. He is a certified USPTA teaching (tennis) professional. Freddie has been a nature and animal lover since his childhood experience of growing up in and around the woods and creeks of North Carolina.
David POnoroff (Assistant Director)
David is a Floridian at heart, and a longtime nature lover. He started at PCCC as a volunteer grave-digger while studying at the University of Florida, moving on to intern, office manager, and eventually Assistant Director. David graduated from UF in 2017 with B.A.s in Political Science and Sustainability Studies, having written an honors thesis on the capacity of conservation burial grounds to engender opportunities for participative democracy. At PCCC David is a jack-of-all-trades, managing much of PCCC's communications, coordinating volunteers, giving tours, working with families, and much more. Gainesville and PCCC have become a second home to David, and he is routinely inspired by the place and his coworkers.
Joe Nieves (Land Manager)
Joe Nieves is a lifelong nature lover and South Florida native. Growing up between two national parks allowed Joe to explore coastal waters and wetlands. He is currently finishing his Bachelor of Science in Geology. Since relocating to Gainesville, Joe has developed an interest in fire ecology and pineland restoration. Joe started in land management as an intern for our partner Alachua Conservation Trust.
Chris Roeder (Operations Coordinator)
Chris Roeder came to Prairie Creek as a volunteer grave-digger in 2016, after 30-odd years as an environmental regulator and an instructor at the University of Florida TREEO Center. Following 9-11, Chris designed and implemented innovative emergency response and recovery strategies for Florida’s Dept. of Environmental Protection. Now, at PCCC, Chris facilitates gravesite preparation and burial operations, along with various public outreach and administrative duties. Chris is a life-long fan of Florida’s wild spaces, and sees his work here as a logical extension of his environmental interests, …in keeping with one of his favorite maxims, “service to humanity (and nature) is worship to god”.
Eli Chase (Operations Coordinator)
Eli Chase moved to Florida from Vermont when he was ten years old and slowly developed an appreciation for Florida's climate. Some years later he gained a keen interest in plants and animals when he ran into difficulty starting a home vegetable garden. Determined to learn more, he came to Gainesville in 2014 to study horticultural science at the University of Florida. Eli spent time working at the university as a research assistant, studying the effects of grafting tomatoes and melons onto disease resistant rootstock. Since graduating in 2016 he has worked on farms and gardens in and around Gainesville. He loves to learn about the complex interactions between plants, people, animals, and their environments.