- Providing a natural and beautiful burial ground for all to visit
- Respecting a family’s funeral and other end-of-life choices
- Honoring the need for a “place” to remember loved ones
- Protecting and restoring our environment by planting only native species
- Our Mission is to provide ecologically friendly burial and to restore our 35-acre forest
The People of Penn Forest
Nancy Chubb – Co-Founder
Nancy was born and raised In the Washington DC area and came to Pittsburgh to go to Chatham College. Her love of Western Pennsylvania began in her childhood when she would visit her grandparents’ farm, Hidden Brook, in Coraopolis Heights during the summers.
Before creating Penn Forest Natural Burial Park, Nancy and Pete established a nonprofit, Green Burial Pittsburgh, to educate themselves and others on natural burial and to explore the possibility of launching a green cemetery in Pittsburgh.
In 2021 Nancy retired from a professional practice in psychology to oversee the operational responsibilities of Penn Forest after the retirement of her husband and co-founder, Pete McQuillin. While always involved in Penn Forest, she has found it rewarding to be able to invest more time and energy into the land that she loves. Nancy loves to share this rewarding experience with others, promoting stewardship of the land while offering an earth-friendly burial option to her community. She has immense confidence in her team of dedicated employees and volunteers and believes Penn Forest will thrive in the coming decade.
Pete McQuillin – Co-Founder (11/22/44 – 1/8/22)
Click here to read Pete’s obituary.
Pete dedicated the last 14 years of his life to the creation of Penn Forest Natural Burial Park. His entrepreneurial talents and environmental passions were critical to establishing the first all-green cemetery in Pennsylvania. In May of 2020, Pete began training Laura, the current manager on all things involved with managing and running a green cemetery, and later retired in early 2021.
Prior to Penn Forest, Pete was a member of local Kiwanis Clubs, Chambers of Commerce, and Community Development Corporations and often on the boards of these groups. He was an active member of several Unitarian Universalist congregations, most recently the Allegheny Unitarian Universalist Church on the North Side and Sunnyhill in Mt. Lebanon. Pete’s passion for social justice led to his involvement with Pittsburgh United, Pittsburgh Interfaith Impact Network, Black and White Reunion, and many political campaigns. He had previous careers with PPG in international sales and product management, at Menasha Packaging in new product development, and as a consultant in executive team building with Fourth River Associates.
Laura Faessel – Manager
In 2012, Laura went back to school for environmental studies at Slippery Rock University. She spent her final semester comparing the burial methods of five different cultures, developing a respect for how other cultures care for and bury their dead. This is also when Laura first learned about green burial and discovered Penn Forest.
Laura approached Penn Forest and was hired in 2017 to assist Pete McQuillin, Manager and co-founder. She was their first full-time employee. When Pete retired in early 2021, Laura was promoted to the job for which she was a perfect fit, Manager. She has fully embraced all that running a green cemetery requires and has to offer. Laura oversees the cemetery operations including sales, marketing, record-keeping, forest restoration, property maintenance, and the supervision of workers and volunteers. She has been a speaker locally at the Phipps Native Plant and Sustainability Conference (2018) and nationally at the Green Burial Council Conference (2020 and 2021).
Laura grew up in Allegheny and Butler counties and currently lives in Valencia with her two teenage daughters. She enjoys spending time with her family, camping in western Pennsylvania or playing board games. And cooking and baking too, of course.
Maria St. Clair – Assistant Manager
Maria St. Clair had been interested in cemetery work and all things relating to death long before Penn Forest found her at the beginning of the pandemic in early 2020. She joined the team as Assistant Manager right before Pete retired in early 2021. At Penn Forest she combines her interest of all things death-related with her love of nature and sustainability. Maria believes the death-care industry should be as concerned with the environment as our other life undertakings and should contribute to a family’s sense of spiritual well-being. For Maria, seeing the positive impact that green burial has on a family is one of the most rewarding aspects of her job.
Focusing on the small and often overlooked details of the natural world, Maria is fascinated with and passionate about all things ecological. With a degree in photography, she photographs the tiny treasures hidden amongst nature on a daily basis, both inside and outside of her work life. She posts photographs of these findings to the Penn Forest Facebook page, educating people on seldom seen, and sometimes rare mushrooms, insects and plants.
Maria is a Penn Hills native, and has lived in Pittsburgh her entire life. She considers the forests of western Pennsylvania to be an underrated wealth of natural beauty.
Annette McCloud – Volunteer
Working in the gardens at Penn Forest, Annette connects with nature and shares its bounty and healing effects with those who are grieving. Annette’s expert tree planting is evident throughout the grounds at Penn Forest and has had a significant impact on the land. She enjoys learning about the care and maintenance of the native flora and applying this knowledge. She is proud to be a part of an organization whose ecologically sustainable methods and dedication to community make the world a better place to live for all inhabitants.
Annette is a native of southwestern Pennsylvania, residing in the neighborhood of Point Breeze with her husband and dogs. She is an outdoors enthusiast who stays active in all seasons regardless of weather conditions. She values her large family of siblings and treasures spending quality time with them, as well as being the primary caregiver for their elderly mother. Annette earned a BA degree in Public Service from the University of Pittsburgh, reflecting her lifelong commitment to being a helpful member of her Pittsburgh community.