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MORE Environmentalists to Know!

Amazing environmental work is being done in Orange County. At the forefront of this are individuals who are dedicated to seeing our earth prosper. In honor of Women’s History Month, this article will highlight the incredible contributions of three modern day women committed to restoring and protecting Orange County’s local habitats. This is a continuation of our blog, “Orange County’s Environmentalists Today” by Eric Pena and “Women in the Environmental Movement” by Gina Thompson. Be sure and check out these posts before or after reading this article!

Photo Credits: Climate Action Campaign

This is Ayn Craciun, a Policy Manager based in Orange County. Craciun first worked in corporate communications, but through volunteer work she began to transition into environmental public policy issues. Ayn began publicly supporting the historic organic landscaping policy for Irvine, CA, in 2016. This policy works to keep wildlife, pets, people, and open space reserves all safe from toxic pesticides. Her work spurred her into new opportunities, and in 2018 she was an essential member in creating support for the Orange County Power Authority. Her work with climate action has helped build support for renewable energy. Today, Craciun is on staff at the non-profit Climate Action Campaign. She has played a significant role in Irvine becoming the first city in SoCal and the third city in California to pledge zero carbon goals by 2030. Craciun’s work highlights why voting for the environment is so essential to the future of Orange County’s climate action. To learn more about Ayn Craciun and her work, visit Climate Action Campaign.

Photo Credit: Orange County Coastkeeper

Dyana Peña is the Deputy Director of Programs for OC Coastkeeper. Her work focuses on supervising their education programs, restorations, and public cleanups. Within her role she has been able to serve over 30,000 students. Some of her additional responsibilities involve coordinating partnerships for strategic development. Peña’s personal mission is to ensure that justice, equity, and inclusion are at the forefront of OC Coastkeeper’s work. Peña’s educational background includes a B.A. in Urban Studies with an emphasis on Environmental Sustainability, along with a second B.A. in Drama. Peña’s service to the environment is not limited to just OC Coastkeeper. She is also involved in the Sierra Club Angeles Chapter as a participant in the Executive Committee and the Orange County Political Advisory Committee. The Sierra Club allows her to focus more on political activism. She has served in various capacities in the Sierra Club, including previously being the Executive Committee Vice-Chair. Additionally, she is an advisor for Orange County Environmental Justice. Peña’s passion for the environment and people has led her to pursue a life of serving the community through her work with various organizations. If you’d like to learn more about Dyana Peña and the nonprofits she’s involved in, check out Orange County Coastkeeper and Sierra Club Angeles Chapter.

Photo Credits: Sacred Places Institute

This is Angela Mooney D’Arcy. She is the Founder and Executive Director of Sacred Places Institute for Indigenous Peoples. D’Arcy is part of the Acjachemen Nation, Juaneno Band of Mission Indians and has spent around two decades serving Indigenous peoples and local nonprofits. D’Arcy attended Brown University for her bachelor’s and then went on to the Los Angeles School of Law. It was here that she received her J.D. with a concentration in Critical Race Studies along with a focus on federal Indian law. Aside from her role at Sacred Places Institute she is also the co-founder of the United Coalition to Protect Panhe, which is a sacred place for the Acjachemen people. D’Arcy’s influence in the community is extensive as evidenced by news articles being written about her work. One of those articles is “Local Native American tribes and environmentalists are ‘Turning the Tide’ to join forces in contemporary activism” by Dana Point Times, which highlights her role in protesting potential offshore drilling in the United States. To learn more about Angela Mooney D’Arcy and the nonprofit she founded visit Sacred Places Institute website.

These three women are modern examples of what it looks like to live a life of serving and honoring our earth. There are so many others in our community who also have dedicated their lives to bettering our local habitats and we want to extend our gratitude to all of them. If any of their stories have inspired you to become more involved with environmental work, check out OC Habitats’ Eventbrite. This is a great way to sign up for local restorations and education programs in Orange County!

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