Wendy Schneider, Executive Director
Michael grew up in the Mojave Desert with dreams of escaping the big city for wild spaces. After studying environmental science and business at the University of Oregon he worked with federal and local agencies studying hydro-ecology on Oregon’s beautiful coastline. He returned to the desert for a field position with US Geological Survey leading botany crews through the Mojave Desert, Death Valley, and the high Sierra mountains. Afterwards he founded a local organic produce service for the amazing communities of Bishop, Lone Pine, and Mammoth Lakes. As a non-profit volunteer in college and direct monthly supporter of environmental non-profits Michael understands how highly donors value the work that each dollar of donations enable. Michael is excited to work closely with each staff person to effectively manage budgets, communicate results, and analyze opportunities for the donors and our mission.
Jora Fogg, Preservation Manager
Julia Runcie, Stewardship Manager
Halfway through her first week in the Eastern Sierra, Julia Runcie decided she wanted to stay forever. She led canoe tours for the Mono Lake Committee, tracked Sierra Nevada bighorn sheep for the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, and volunteered with Inyo County Search and Rescue before returning briefly to her native Vermont to earn a Master of Science in Ecological Planning. Now, Julia leads Friends of the Inyo’s on-the-ground efforts to restore and steward the Eastern Sierra’s spectacular public lands.
Ben Wickham, Membership and Communications Manager
Wanting to be in the mountains, Ben took the first job out of college that allowed him to do so, and that summer at Merced Lake in the Yosemite Wilderness convinced him that mountains are where he should be. He migrated between Yosemite, Idaho, Montana, and the Eastern Sierra, working in the tourism industry to afford himself the opportunity to explore high alpine terrain on skis, deep forests by foot, and rapid rivers by kayak. Over time Ben discovered that he wanted to more actively help people engage with the landscape around them, so he taught at the McCall Outdoor Science School while receiving a Master’s in Natural Resources with an emphasis in Environmental Education at the University of Idaho. Ben is excited to help Friends of the Inyo connect the public with their lands here in the Eastern Sierra.