Staff & Volunteers
Meet our Regeneration Staff & Volunteers
Regeneration is growing thanks to our dedicated volunteers, generous donors, and committed staff!
Our work in 2016 included assembling a team and crafting a vision and mission statement and initial goals. In 2017, Regeneración began implementing projects: a mural on Rodriguez Street; Our Mother Earth series of environmental justice films in partnership with the Watsonville Film Festival; a video research project with Watsonville High School video academy seniors; and the Healthy Children for a Healthy Planet festival.
Director Nancy Faulstich founded Regeneración in 2016 together with a small group of Pajaro Valley residents. Nancy was motivated to work for climate action and resilience upon realizing the plight that younger generations, including her daughter, will face. Her goal was for everyone in the Pajaro Valley to become fully aware of the reality of climate change and to move together to address the causes and fight for justice.
Prior to her work with Regeneración, Nancy served as a bilingual preschool and kindergarten teacher and literacy specialist with the Pajaro Valley School District for 25 years. She has a BA in Women's Studies and Masters in Education with a bilingual (Spanish) certification.
In conjunction with her work as an early childhood educator, Nancy has led parent and women’s support groups and organized to address and eliminate racism and anti-semitism. Nancy approaches her work with Regeneración as an ally focused on elevating the leadership of people of color.
Elizabeth Hernandez is a recent graduate of the University of California, Davis where she studied Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems with an emphasis on Food & Society. She is a Watsonville native, born and raised. Her parents have lived in the Pajaro Valley and have worked in the strawberry fields for 15+ years as strawberry pickers . Elizabeth's agricultural background has inspired her to pursue environmental justice for her local community. She is hopeful to further bring utmost awareness and education about the complexity of our food arriving from farm to table.
During her studies at UCD she interned as a Garden Educator at Birch Elementary to help introduce the food system, agricultural practices, and to inspire children to create a healthy lifestyle. She has also conducted research on the effects of pesticides to lower income, Latinx/Chicanx groups of people in the Pajaro Valley. Her most recent accomplishment was her senior capstone project. Elizabeth and her team Rooting for Health created a feasibility study to create a first ever garden & outdoor classroom at a Communicare Clinic in Northern California. This project will result in "increasing awareness of preventative care , including the role of fresh food" for the patients of Woodland, Ca.
Elizabeth is delighted to join Regeneracion as an office assistant and to grow alongside the organization.
Natalie Olivas is a recent graduate of California State University Monterey Bay where she studied Environmental Studies with a concentration in Science for Sustainable Communities. Her childhood in Los Angeles and Kern County exposed her to the extreme outcomes of environmental degradation which drove her to pursue a career in environmental justice.
Throughout her time at CSUMB, she developed and analyzed environmental policy and gained experience recording and interpreting data through environmental fieldwork. She has worked to implement sustainable business practices through the California Green Business Certification in the cities of Seaside, Salinas, Monterey, and Pacific Grove. She continues to volunteer in Conservation and Science at the Monterey Bay Aquarium, assisting in sustainability certifications and research. Most recently, she interned for San Benito County where she worked to perform outreach, education, and policy development. Natalie is thrilled to be joining Regeneracion as an Organizer to work with the community for collective climate action.
Mariela Lopez is a recent graduate of the University of California, Santa Barbara where she studied Sociology with a focus on Environmental Sociology and a minor in Italian Studies. She was born and raised in the Salinas Valley, a community known for its extensive agricultural fields and farm workers. There she was exposed to the inequalities and extreme working conditions that many agricultural workers, including her parents, had to endure. Through this Mariela developed a passion for community service and the advocacy for environmental and social justice.
During her time at UCSB she studied and conducted research on the effects that one's environment has on their social and educational opportunities. She also conducted research on food insecurity and its prominence within low-income and underrepresented communities. The results of which led her to increase her community activism and involvement in hosting community service events such as beach clean ups, educational workshops, and community dinners. Most recently, she was on the board for Hermanas Unidas Inc. an organization that strives to bridge the gap between first-generation low-income students and their success in higher education. Mariela is excited to join Regeneración and work with the community to strive for sustainable and equitable access to transportation.
Electric Vehicle Equity Coordinator