Bios of our Board of Directors and Staff


Barbara Wishingrad, President (also Sweetwater ED)

Barbara Wishingrad has been an environmental steward for over thirty years. She holds a certificate in Permaculture Design (May 2007), is an Accredited Professional through ARCSA (American Rainwater Catchment Systems Association) (Sept 2008), a Certified Water Harvesting Practitioner through Watershed Management Group (July 2009), a Certified Greywater Installer through Greywater Action (Nov 2009) and an EPA Certified Watershed Wise Landscape Professional (May 2016). Barbara has studied Ecological Design, Water Management, Watershed Restoration, Keyline Design, Soil Food Web, and organic gardening.  She has a BA in History from UC Berkeley, and has two years of study in Landscape Design at SBCC.  Barbara is a founding member of Sweetwater Collaborative, as well as a project designer and workshop instructor. Barbara is also a member owner of Regenerative Landscape Alliance (ReGen).

Watershed and Resource Management Related Trainings and Workshops

  • August 2019 MWEL- Mastering Water Efficient Landscapes workshop, Santa Monica, CA
  • May 2016 EPA Certified Watershed Wise Landscape Professional, Los Olivos, CA
  • Nov 2012 Applied Watershed Restoration Course, Quail Springs, New Cuyama, CA
  • Aug 2012 Water Harvesting Apprentice Training, Santa Barbara, CApril 2012 Green Infrastructure Technical Training, Tucson, AZ
  • Oct 2011 Stream Restoration Technical Training, Tucson, AZOct-Nov 2010 Internship, Watershed Management Group Co-op, Tucson, AZ
  • Spring 2010 Green Gardener Certification, Santa Barbara, CA
  • Nov 2009 Greywater Design and Installation - Greywater Action, Los Angeles, CA
  • Oct 2009 Soil Food Web, Elaine Ingham, Orella Ranch, Gaviota, CA
  • July 2009 Water Harvesting Practitioner – Watershed Management Group, Tucson, AZ
  • Dec 2008 Rainwater Catchment Accredited Professional – ARCSA
  • Nov 2007 Keyline Design Course, Orella Ranch, Gaviota, CA
  • May 2007 Permaculture Design Course, Quail Springs, New Cuyama, CA
  • 1974 Organic Gardening, El Mirasol, Santa Barbara, CA

Barbara's background is in holistic health, midwifery, therapeutic bodywork, and child development

     Shelly Best, Treasurer

Certified IRS tax preparer, bookkeeper, board member CA Foster Parents Assoc., committed to environmental sustainability and water wise practices, as well as healthy relationships and learning to work collaboratively

Matt Gries, Secretary
Matt Gries is a licensed Architect (DesignARC), member of the CEC Partnership Council, and cofounder of the Water Commons Alliance. For over 15 years, Matt has focused on resource, climatology and sustainability issues that are inherently tied to the design process, with a particular passion for solving problems related to water management. Matt is now working with the AIA Santa Barbara in order to promote a bottom-up approach to architecture and landscape design that is more deeply integrated with Santa Barbara's complex water scenario.

Jean Zeibak, Director

Certificate in Permaculture Design (October 2015), community activist, Reiki master degree (2013), Had my front yard water efficiency landscaped by Sweetwater Collaborative into a food forest. Love of environmental sustainability volunteering  - Sweetwater projects -Farms



Barbara Wishingrad

Coordinator/ED, workshop and classroom instructor, project designer

Fred Hunter

Workshop and Classroom Instructor, Project Designer

Fred is CEO, lead designer, and a member owner at Regenerative Landscape Alliance (ReGen), and was the owner operator of Dreamscape - Santa Barbara from 1989 - 2017.  Fred holds a bachelors degree in Environmental Biology, is a certified Permaculture designer, California DPR certified qualified applicator, and is ReGen's landscape contractor of record.  In his spare time, he is project manager for Finca Alazan Permaculture In Playon Sur, Costa Rica, adjunct faculty member in the Environmental Horticulture Department at SBCC, and an instructor for Sweetwater Collaborative.

Joshua Graning

Workshop and classroom instructor, project designer

 Joshua Graning is an enthusiast of all things regenerative. He has a Permaculture Design Certification (PDC), Greywater installer’s certification, and is a Green Gardener. Josh is a member owner of Regenerative Landscape Alliance (ReGen) as well as ReGen foreman, greywater specialist and earthworks expert. He has studied Environmental Horticulture at Santa Barbara City College. He is actively learning about Rainwater Harvesting, taking courses in Earthworks, and passionate about integrated design.  He has been involved and has led many community projects throughout the last few years. He loves riding bikes and rollerblading.

Arborist training - Bill Spiewak (SBCC) 2013

PDC - Mike Gonella (SBCC) and Warren Brush (Quail Springs) 2013 

Green Gardener - Mike Gonella (SBCC) 2014

Earthworks course - Warren Brush (Casitas Valley Farm) 2014 

Greywater course - Laura Allen 2015

Natasha Elliot

  • BFA in sculpture at California State University Long Beach
  • Studied Permaculture and Horticulture
  • certified Green Gardener
  • Landscape designer
  • Landscape Contractor
  • EPA-certified Watershed Wise designer
  • Landscape Drafting Instructor, SBCC