Friends of the Inyo Staff

Wendy Schneider, Executive Director

A native of East Tennessee, Wendy began her political work in Washington, D.C. where she participated in campaigns and lobbying efforts on behalf of Al Gore, Handgun Control and U.S. PIRG.  Environment California recruited her to run their Los Angeles fundraising office, so she moved out West, became a lawyer, founded and ran a non-profit benefiting street children in India, and discovered the Eastern Sierra. As Executive Director of Friends of the Inyo, Wendy is excited to use her political, fundraising and legal expertise to continue increasing the organization’s ability to protect the Eastern Sierra’s public lands.




Michael Cleaver, Operations & Philanthropy 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 beaches.  Ecology Studies with the US Geological Survey lead to the Sierra mountains.  He knows a lot about local botany and ecology while possessing other strange skills.  As a volunteer and supporter of environmental non-profits Michael understands how challenging non profit work can be. Michael is excited to visually communicate FOI’s important work to a larger audience, and build a culture of fun to inspire every Friend of the Inyo.





Alex Ertaud, Stewardship Director

Though he grew up in Los Angeles’ San Fernando Valley, Alex is continually trying to repent for his original sin by doing all he can for the Eastern Sierra’s critters, ecosystems, and fellow humans. When not leading Friends of the Inyo’s stewardship initiatives, you can find him running and biking around, enjoying the spectacular topographical relief the Sierra, White, and Inyo mountain ranges offer. Alex has a passion for storytelling (and listening), particularly at the intersection of the natural world, adventure, and human experience. So next time you see him, share the story of your favorite epic.




Jora Fogg, Policy Director

Jora Fogg joined Friends of the Inyo in April 2014. As the lead on public lands policy, Jora comments on public lands projects across Inyo and Mono Counties, and leads exploration outings to highlight special places in the Eastern Sierra and California Desert. Jora grew up and went to college in Washington State, moving to California in 2004. Previously she spent four years in Colorado with Bird Conservancy of the Rockies as a biologist managing state and park service bird monitoring programs. She lives in June Lake with her husband and daughter.  Jora enjoys time “naturalizing” (especially birding), skiing, hiking, and cycling.




Bryan Hatchell, Desert Lands Organizer 

Born and bred in the Carolinas, Bryan cultivated his love for public lands and the Eastern Sierra serving on a trail crew, working at a variety of locations including Devil’s Postpile National Monument and Golden Trout Wilderness in Inyo National Forest. Inspired to take the next leap in his career, Bryan trekked to the Rocky Mountains where he earned his Masters in Sustainability Planning, with a focus on public lands planning. Bryan has since returned to the land that kickstarted his passion for conservation. As a 2019-2021 Wyss Fellow, Bryan is working as our Desert Lands Organizer, leading coalition efforts on the Conglomerate Mesa, ensuring the integrity of the DRECP, and much more.




Kyle Hamada, Communications Director

Although born in Los Angeles, Kyle grew up visiting the Eastern Sierra to fish, snowboard, and hike. He studied Environmental Geography and Environmental Science and Policy at Cal State University Long Beach and interned with the BLM’s Ridgecrest and Barstow field offices surveying wilderness areas. With years of experience as a producer in the advertising industry and as a freelance photographer, Kyle aims to create strong and effective messaging to further the organization’s positive impact in the Eastern Sierra’s wild spaces.




Summer 2019 Staff


Robin Hirsch, Trail Ambassador

Robin first came to the Eastern Sierra by way of Tuolumne Meadows in Yosemite National Park where he worked for nine seasons for both the concessionaire and finally the park service as part of their restoration crew. He looks for flowers, grasses, and mushrooms (all hail neolentinus ponderosus), scrambles about the rocks, and runs trail up and down the crest, being constantly reminded that its easily one of the most beautiful places in the world.




Anna Hoessle, Stewardship Crew Member

Nomadic by nature, Anna has been fortunate to put her environmental background to use in many exciting locations ranging from Alaska and Antarctica to the central Pacific Ocean. Originally from Ohio where she earned a civil engineering degree, she has spent her adult life living mostly in the western United States. Colorado was her first stop along the way, and she strengthened her academic skillset by earning a Master’s degree in Environmental Engineering. Her latest efforts before joining Friends of the Inyo include a volunteer position with The Nature Conservancy rehabilitating a wetland wastewater treatment system at Palmyra Atoll, a remote wildlife refuge. After spending a summer working in Tuolumne Meadows in Yosemite National Park, Anna discovered the Eastern Sierra and became immediately obsessed. Working in this incredible landscape and ecosystem to perform restoration and environmental protection is an absolute dream come true.



Luke Kinney, Stewardship Crew Leader

Luke Kinney was born in San Diego and has loved being outdoors his whole life. His father owned a surf shop in San Diego and thought him from an early age to be a steward of the natural world. Luke lived in Santa Cruz for six years, studying music, and  working with small start up companies until moving to the Eastern Sierra in 2015. Luke managed a local brewery in town while searching for a way to give back to the mountains he connects to. Luke joined the Friends of the Inyo as a Stewardship Crew Leader for the summer season of 2019 and plans on returning to school to finish a degree in Geology.



Lauren Newey, Trail Ambassador Leader

Lauren grew up on the East Coast, running trails, skiing, and making things, then decided these activities might be more enjoyable out West. She is dedicated to guiding people to rediscover their own relationship with nature by developing a more acute awareness of their natural surroundings and their physical bodies. She especially enjoys working with children and young adults to spark this connection early that can develop into a lifelong passion.



Kimball stewart, Trail Ambassador

Kimball’s excitement for being outdoors was sparked as a child while romping through the hills of New England. Born in Massachusetts, he grew up hiking in the White Mountains of New Hampshire where he gained a deep appreciation for wild places and the flora and fauna that inhabit them. Kimball studied Communications and Environmental Studies while at college in Portland Oregon before moving to the foothills of the Sierra Nevada. His love for the Sierra developed while working as a backpacking guide in Yosemite where he was able to share his affection for the mountains with people from across the globe. Now happily situated in Bishop, Kimball looks forward to helping protect and share the natural splendors of the Eastern Sierra.




Julia tawney, Trail Ambassador

Julia grew up in Portland, Oregon and was first introduced to the Eastern Sierra during an outdoor program trip in college. The last two winters Julia ski instructed at June and Mammoth Mountains, and spent summers leading youth backpacking trips in the Trinity Alps. Julia is passionate about connecting young people to place, and empowerment through outdoor recreation activities. She enjoys backcountry skiing, trail running, hiking, baking, and jumping into cold water. She is excited to spend her first summer in the Eastern Sierra as a trail ambassador.





Sam Worman, stewardship crew member

Although Sam was raised in San Diego, the Eastern Sierra have always been like a second home. Through family trips growing up, he cultivated his passion for recreating in the Sierra and surrounding high desert and dreamed of one day living in the mountains full time. After graduating from UC Santa Barbara in 2018 with a degree in Earth Science, this dream became reality. He now lives in June Lake, helping to protect public lands in the Eastern Sierra as a member of Friend’s of the Inyo’s stewardship crew while working as a ski patroller in the winter.