About Us

Carquinez Regional Environmental Education Center (CREEC) is a tax-exempt 501(c)(3) public interest charity that was incorporated in 1995. The role of this nonprofit organization is to effect wildlife habitat enhancement and maintenance and restoration projects in the communities and open lands surrounding the Carquinez Strait—one of California’s most significant wildlife migratory corridors. CREEC aims to restore and conserve the area’s natural resources through cooperative, constructive, and mutually beneficial partnerships with the industries, families, and agencies that live and work along the Strait.

The CREEC Youth Program is dedicated to environmental improvement in the Carquinez Strait region. Students participate in habitat restoration, native and butterfly plant propagation, and plant care. Participants earn a stipend for their participation after completing ten volunteer hours. The program started in 1998 and initially included five students for a ten-week summer project. It has expanded to a year-round opportunity for youth to earn a stipend while they learn by improving the surrounding community and open space. Tasks are designed to create a hands-on learning experience in environmental restoration, basic horticulture, environmental science, nonprofit management, and basic work skills.

Email: CREECcarquinez@gmail.com

CREEC encourages and educates our youth and communities to restore and conserve native ecosystems.

CREEC's Board of Directors

CREEC is led by a dedicated volunteer Board. If you are interested in becoming a board member, email us!

Board Meetings are held monthly (every second Thursday) on Zoom at 7pm. Board Meeting dates for 2021 are listed below. If you would like to join a meeting, please email us for the access info.

January 14, February 11, March 11, April 8, May 13, June 10, July 8, August 12, September 9, October 14, November 11, December 9

Susanna Van Greunen is the President of the CREEC Board. She has been involved with CREEC since she responded to a Facebook post looking for board members in 2017. She was new to Crockett at the time, and since she loves gardening and working with children, she thought CREEC was the perfect opportunity to get involved in serving the community. Susanna’s background is in IT—specifically, Quality Assurance and Technical Product Management on native apps. She is changing careers to be an Emotion Code and Body Code practitioner who does energy healing.

Nancy Hawthorne is Secretary of the CREEC Board. Her history with CREEC goes back to the beginning of the organization when she volunteered at the Scene on the Strait art show fundraiser. She is a retired educator who worked with students in grades K-8. She loves the idea of educating children in ways that encourage them to become actively committed to improving their local environment. Nancy also volunteers for the Red Cross and raises puppies for Guide Dogs of America.

Dean Kelch is Treasurer of the CREEC Board. He is a long-term resident of Crockett who has been involved with CREEC for 20 years. In his varied career, he has always worked with plants, both wild and cultivated. As a researcher and lecturer at U.C. Berkeley, he co-authored the paper Flora of the Carquinez Strait Region, Contra Costa and Solano Counties, California. Dean has served as Director of the Ruth Bancroft Garden in Walnut Creek, State Noxious Weed Coordinator, Primary State Botanist, and President of the California Botanical Society. Currently, he is a Program Manager with the California Department of Food & Agriculture.

Anamarie Avila Farias is proud to be a lifelong, third-generation Contra Costa County resident. She is a former Councilmember for the City of Martinez. In her professional role, she has contributed over 25 years of public service, policy work, and community leadership. Anamarie is a dedicated public servant who has worked in several local government housing agencies administering Affordable Housing and Community Development programs. She is a gubernatorial appointee of Jerry G. Brown, Jr. and currently serves on the California Housing Finance Agency’s Board of Directors. Anamarie is actively involved with youth programs and is a current Board Member for the Juvenile Hall Auxiliary of Contra Costa County.


On average, 12 children are active participants in CREEC’s education program each school semester. CREEC typically averages 5 events per year, including trash cleanups and tree plantings, which draw 30–50 volunteers per event. CREEC also holds weekly plant sales on Saturdays from 10 am–2 pm.