Staff and Contractors

Ann-Marie Benz: Executive Director

Ann-Marie joined ReScape California as their Executive Director in December 2014. The past decade she has spent in watershed work in central Arizona, because in the arid Southwest there is very little more important than water. She grew up in Southern California in an area that had advertisements showing flowing creeks that were actually being bottled by water companies. As David James Duncan wrote, “I was born, then, without a watershed. On a planet held together by gravity and fed by rain, a planet whose every creature depends on water and whose every slope works full-time, for eternity, to create creeks and rivers. I was born with neither.” This has driven her to work in healthy environments and to being Bay-Friendly. When asked why ReScape California, her challenge is to pick just one reason where are so many. Working at ReScape California is her part of trying to make our community the best place it can be. She enjoys connecting people with meaningful projects that will be of long-term benefit for our collective future.

Jennifer de Graaf: Director of Education

Jennifer de Graaf, PLA, LEED AP, BFQP, QWEL, has 20 years of professional experience in design and project management for a variety of project types, including parks, schools, hospitals, trail systems, streetscapes, historic properties, commercial housing, and estates and private residences. In addition to project work, she works as an instructor for UC Berkeley Extension in the landscape architecture program and is the lead trainer for Bay-Friendly Coalition/ReScape California.

Teresa Martinez Gonzales: Regional Program Manager

Teresa has over ten years of experience in non-profit program and fund development support and relationship management. Teresa has experience with affordable housing programs, and a degree in Anthropology from the University of California Berkeley.

Lakshmi Gunanayagam: Program Manager - Rated Landscapes

A native of the San Francisco Bay Area, Lakshmi graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Landscape Architecture and a minor in Sustainable Design from University of California at Berkeley in 2014. From 2013 to 2017, Lakshmi worked for a landscape architecture business in the East Bay, where her enthusiasm for learning about environmentally-friendly practices and how to implement them in Bay Area landscapes grew. With working at ReScape California, she hopes to encourage landscape professionals and the general public to be Bay-Friendly in their projects and daily lives. Beyond her experience in the field of landscape architecture, Lakshmi's perspective is rounded out by her passion for dance and has been a member of an award winning dance team that performs throughout California.

Gretchen Reed: Program Manager - Professional Trainings

Gretchen is a recent New York transplant to the Bay Area. Growing up in the rural landscapes of Upstate NY and the natural beauty of the Finger Lakes region, she developed her sensitivity to nature and passion for conservation. With a degree in Philosophy and a background in customer support, she joins Rescape California and the Bay-Area programs to organize and support the BFQP trainings.