We are growing the Novasutras Movement together, working to build community through event facilitation and organizing. Here are a few of our most engaged Uplifters: Melissa*, Willow*, Cayden*, Alexandra*, Carol, Paul, Derek, Benny, Leoma, Kendon, Lionel, and our founder Michelle.

* These are our most recent interns. We’re also grateful for our previous interns Lidia, Athena, Kate, and Mina.

See yourself here – become a Novasutras Uplifter.

Melissa Shum

Go Getter – Intern: February 2023 – Present

Melissa is a student at University of California, Santa Cruz, majoring in Business Management Economics. She is passionate about meeting people from all walks of life and hearing new perspectives. In her free time, she likes to take walks outside while playing Pokemon Go.

Willow Jones - Novasutras intern

Willow Jones

Eco Enthusiast – Intern: January 2023 – present

Willow is a Outdoor Educator, Nature Guide, and Permaculture Design specialist. They majored in Environmental science at MCTC, Minneapolis. They are passionate about exploring the link of direct action protests and community care, to discover how the two can complement each other, to create a more robust and inclusive environmental movement. Pronouns: he/they

Cayden Campbell

Buzz BuilderIntern: November 2022 – Present

Cayden is a business management economics major at University of California, Santa Cruz and is highly passionate about marketing. He has experience working as a brand ambassador and coordinating events (FaZe Clan). Novasutras has given him a platform to grow his unique skill set while being able to contribute to a just cause. As an Uplifter, Cayden enjoys being able to be connected to the world and people around him.

Pronouns: he/him/his

Cayden Campbell - Novasutras Intern Nov 2022
Alexandra Anest - Novasutras Intern Nov 2022

Alexandra Anest

Politically Passionate Intern: October 2022 – present

Alexandra is a student at  University of California, Santa Cruz,  double majoring in Feminist Studies and Politics. She is incredibly passionate in her activism for sustainability and humanitarian work.  She participates in several organizations at UCSC to ensure the university fulfills and expands its promises regarding environmental justice.

Carol Long

Carol Long

Community Cultivator

Carol is a committed local activist in Santa Cruz, engaged with our local chapter and the Santa Cruz Climate Action Network. Her devotion to the Novasutras community is evident in her participation in our Discussions in Difficult Times, group meditations, and local events. She’s also an avid gardener, evoking the beauty of our plant kin through the work of her caring hands.

Paul Schaafsma

Global Justice Visionary

Paul brings a huge heart, probing intellect, and great passion for change to all his work. He initiated the #Amazon4Amazon and #ClimateJustice4Africa campaigns, and the Child Eviction Fact Force. He offers presentations based on his expertise in the work Hannah Arendt and his experiences in the redwoods of Northern California.

Full bio…
Blog posts, pages & mentions…

Derek Tennant

Conversation Convener

Derek shares his boundless compassion and skill as a conversation facilitator in our regular online events. He brings wonderful insights from his experiences in disaster relief and his knowledge of economics and life in Thailand. He lives within the gift economy/ecology ethos.

Benny Drescher

Ocean Whisperer

Benny combines ecosystem wisdom and yoga, bringing dynamic energy, playfulness, and deep gentleness to his work. His activism includes allyship with local indigenous land protectors, and he has been seen practicing Civil DISCObedience for the climate. He helps organize our Uplifters, and offers hatha yoga guidance.

Blog posts, pages & mentions…

Leoma Scott

Wise Play Maven

Leoma shares her genius and unique energy in online conversations. Her knowledge of the natural world and research on systems thinking are teamed with an artist’s perception and a penchant for playfulness, guiding us into laughter and fresh perspectives.

Blog posts, pages & mentions…

Dr. Kendon Smith (1935 – 2022)

BodyMind Mender

Kendon merged a lifelong career as a psychotherapist with a passion for healing the planet, one mind at a time. A devout awe-theist, he explored the wisdom of the implicit self in a quest to help us all reconnect with the truth of Nature, without and within.

Full bio…
Blog posts, pages & mentions…

Dr. Kendon Smith at Climate+Land+Water meditation in Santa Cruz, California, July 2021. Sign reads: "Love the Earth, Serve Life"

Lionel Church

Novasutras Prime Catalyst

Lionel has been actively working on developing Novasutras as a healthy organization since mid-2019. He brings years of expertise and tremendous energy to operations orientation for us.

Michelle Merrill

Novasutras Founder & Community Organizer

Michelle cultivated the ideas for Novasutras over many years, until the seedling of the organization finally emerged into the sunlight in November 2017. Michelle now handles most of the content, communications and website development for the organization, in addition to leading guided meditations and other events.

Full bio…
Some blog posts, pages & mentions…

Want to work with us in creating a world abiding in agaya and ubuntu?