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 nonprofit 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.

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.

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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 nonprofits Michael understands how challenging nonprofit 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.


Bryan Hatchell
Desert Policy Associate

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. Bryan is leading coalition efforts on the Conglomerate Mesa, ensuring the integrity of the DRECP, and much more.

Louis Medina
Communications Director

Lou was born in El Salvador and came to the U.S. at age 10. A lover of languages with an M.A. in Applied Linguistics, he has lived in Japan, China, Spain, England, and traveled extensively overseas. He found a calling in charitable work in the early 2000s and, except for a stint as a reporter for The Bakersfield Californian from 2006 to 2009, has worked in the nonprofit sector since. He fell in love with the Eastern Sierra during a trip in the mid-twenty-teens and is pleased to be a part of the FOI team to help further its important mission. He is a cat dad.

Kayla Browne
Desert Lands Organizer

When she experienced the beauty of the Eastern Sierra for the first time thru-hiking, Kayla knew she needed to make this area her home. After moving to Lone Pine from her home state of Michigan in 2017, she became involved with the Alabama Hills Stewardship Group, still volunteers with the Bureau of Land Management caring for the Alabama Hills, and spent the summer of 2021 working as a Trail Ambassador with FOI. In her new role as Desert Lands Organizer, she is excited to connect people and communities to the untouched landscapes that make this area so exceptional, focusing on Conglomerate Mesa and southern Inyo County. Kayla enjoys all the recreation the east side offers, including mountain biking, trail running, rock and ice climbing, hiking, and skiing.

Trail Ambassadors

Lindsay Butcher

Lindsay is returning this season as our lead Trail Ambassador. She joined the FOI team last spring and hasn’t gone running for the hills! Originally from San Diego, Lindsay grew up spending summers in the Sierra on family camping trips. After graduating from SDSU with a B.S. in Nutrition she dove into a career in enology and wine making. However, after working multiple vintages in California and Australia she discovered her hobby of rock climbing was becoming an obsession. So she ran away from real life to work and play in Yosemite National Park. She made the transition to the east side permanent two years ago and is excited to hit the trails once again, to be an ambassador for the land and trails she loves.

Tess Irving-Ruffing

Tess grew up on the sunny beaches of San Diego. She attended college at UC Santa Barbara  where she studied Physical Geography. She has a deep love for the ocean and initially thought she could never leave it. But once she stood at the top of the Mammoth Crest and looked west at the vast, breathtaking country, the Eastside had stolen her heart. Tess continues to be awestruck and humbled by the Sierra Nevada range. She has a passion to preserve the lands that have been so healing for her and is excited to do so with the Friends of the Inyo. In her free time Tess enjoys snowboarding, running, climbing, hiking and shooting pool at the local brewery.

Lily Emerson

Lily grew up in the rainy Pacific Northwest, learning to enjoy the many wonders of the outdoors while slightly soggy. After obtaining a degree in Environmental Engineering from Portland State University, Lily decided to move to the Eastern Sierra. She started down a career path of working outside and sharing a passion for the outdoors with others. Lily enjoys skiing, rock climbing, finding cool lizards, and mostly being outside. Lily is excited to spend time maintaining trails and picking up micro trash in the Eastern Sierra this year.

Board of Directors

From left to right Martin Powell, John Louth, Jeff Dozier, Sam Roberts, Sydney Quinn, Paul Shock, Chris Lizza.  Meghan Miranda, Marjorie Shock, Ellen Wehr, and Tom Boo not pictured above.

Chris Lizza, President, Lee Vining

Chris is a lifelong resident of the Eastern Sierra who relishes the untrampled public spaces as much as the small social circles locals enjoy. He graduated from Mammoth High School in 1979, where he was elected Student Body President, and went on to receive a BA in Political Science at the University of Vermont, a Master’s from the American Graduate School of International Management in Arizona, and a JD from Loyola Law School in Los Angeles. Although he does not currently practice law, he remains an active member of the California Bar Association. Since 1999, he has been  owner and operator of the Mono Market, a community grocery store in Lee Vining, and works seasonally full time on the Mammoth Mountain Ski Patrol. He is a graduate of the Sierra Leadership Institute of the Sierra Business Council and has chaired the Mono Basin Regional Planning Commission from 2003 until he was appointed to the Mono County Planning Commission in 2011. Chris was chosen to serve as Foreman of the Mono County Grand Jury from 2008-9, is Captain, Training Officer, and Senior EMT on the Lee Vining Volunteer Fire Department and Treasurer of the Mono Basin Historical Society. As a longtime contributor to numerous environmental groups, Chris was invited by the Wilderness Society to lobby representatives in Washington D.C. in support of the Wilderness Bill sponsored by Representative “Buck” McKeon and Senators Feinstein and Boxer in a successful 2008 bipartisan effort. Friends of the Inyo welcomed him as a board member in early 2011. “As a conservationist and a business person, I believe I can bring many diverse interests together to achieve sustainable and sensible solutions to land use issues.”

Paul Shock, Treasurer, Sacramento

I am originally from the East Coast and moved to California after graduating from the University of Virginia, GO HOOS! My wife, Marjorie, re-introduced me to the wonders of backpacking, and the majesty of the Eastern Sierra. We discovered Friends of the Inyo on a Bulletin Board in the Lone Pine Rangers station while picking up our first Mount Whitney Permit.

Throughout the years my wife and I have been super impressed with the quality of the work completed, and the character of the staff. I joined the board to give back to the lands that have given so much to me, and to preserve the legacy of conservation and stewardship that is FOI.

Ellen Wehr, Secretary, Sacramento

Ellen grew up in the Finger Lakes region of upstate New York and ventured west for college, graduating from the Evergreen State College in Washington State with a degree in environmental science. Following her passion for the environment, she graduated from Lewis and Clark Law School in Oregon with a focus in water law. After working on water and land-use issues for a decade in private practice law firms in Sacramento, Ellen now serves as General Counsel for the Grassland Water District, helping to deliver water to the 75,000-acre Grassland Resource Conservation District that includes private, state, and federal wildlife refuges in the San Joaquin Valley. Ellen’s interest in serving on the Board of Directors stems from her love of the Eastern Sierra and a desire to contribute to the organization’s work on matters of environmental and water policy, growing our membership base, and helping with programs and campaigns. She volunteers with campaigns led by the Access Fund and has served as a board member for a local non-profit rock climbing group. Her work in California connects her to many others in the water and environmental communities in Sacramento and throughout the state. Ellen lives on fertile ground in midtown Sacramento where she cultivates an urban garden and orchard with her husband Kevin and rescued German Shepherd, Emmylou.

Sam Roberts, Mammoth Lakes

Sam has been coming to the Eastern Sierra since before he could walk. When he was three his family moved to Cartago for two years to be closer to the mountains and his father’s work. Sam’s family loved the outdoors and summer vacations were always spent camping out. Camping trips led to backpacking, then on to rock climbing and mountaineering. His climbing adventures have taken him from the granite walls of Yosemite Valley to the summit of 24,580-foot Noshaq in Afghanistan. It was while working as a rock climbing guide in Joshua Tree National Park that he found another passion: photography. He has been a professional photographer for 25 years, first shooting outdoor adventures, then doing commercial and corporate work, and now mainly landscapes with his wife, Karen, a fine photographer in her own right. Sam has been active in several other conservation groups including the Friends of Joshua Tree, the LeConte Memorial Lodge and the National Parks and Monuments committees of the Sierra Club, and the California Wilderness Coalition. “I’m looking forward to give back to a region that has given me so much in my life.”

Jeff Dozier, Mammoth Lakes

I am a Distinguished Professor Emeritus in the Bren School of Environmental Science & Management at the University of California, Santa Barbara, where I have taught since 1974. I founded the Bren School in 1994 and served as its first dean for six years. In my research, I study snow hydrology, Earth system science, remote sensing, and information systems. My current work focuses on snow, water, and ice in the Sierra Nevada and High Mountain Asia, where more than a billion people depend on snowmelt for their water resources, and where the austere surface infrastructure requires that most of the analyses come from remotely sensed data. My study of the optical properties of snow let me help Disney Animation Studios win a 2014 Academy Award for Best Animated Feature Film, Frozen. A long-time backcountry skier, mountaineer, and rock climber, I led six expeditions to the Hindu Kush range in Afghanistan and have a dozen first ascents there, hence my interest in the world’s mountains. I am a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the American Geophysical Union.

John Louth, Bishop

John Louth and his family have lived in the Bishop area for 25 years. John recently finished a 37-year career with the Forest Service managing the Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest and the visitor information operation at the White Mountain Ranger Station. John is active in several civic and volunteer organizations and is a co-owner of the Mountain Rambler Brewery. John recently participated in the Bishop futuring event and sees Bishop as a wonderful place to live, incorporating the best of the past and striving for the best of what the future holds for our community.

Martin Powell, Lone Pine

Martin Powell grew up in Lone Pine and appreciates getting to call that place home today. He is an avid hiker of the Sierra and desert ecosystems who regularly visits Whitney Portal, Cottonwood/Horseshoe Meadow, and the Alabama Hills for both exercise and bird photography.  The great outdoors are extremely important to him.  He is concerned that our Eastern Sierra public lands stay open, accessible, and well maintained. Naturally he is a strong supporter of Friends of the Inyo. Recently retired, he enjoys traveling the world looking for that perfect bird picture. With those efforts in mind, Martin has made trips to Nome, St. Lawrence Island, Panama, Wisconsin, and Florida.  Martin leads tours for the annual Owens Lake Bird Festival,  an endeavor he finds particularly fulfilling and rewarding.  He enjoys giving back to Friends of the Inyo and all the agencies that make the festival possible.

Meghan Miranda, Mammoth Lakes

Meghan moved from the mountains of North Carolina to the Eastern Sierra in 2016 for a job with Mammoth Lakes Tourism, where she manages the website As a member of the Friends of the Inyo board of directors, Meghan is excited about helping visitors and locals alike connect with the Eastern Sierra on a deeper level by joining in Friends of the Inyo’s efforts to the protect the lands we love.

Sydney Quinn, Big Pine

Sydney Quinn migrated from the desert of Phoenix, AZ to the San Francisco Peaks of Flagstaff at the age of 17. Fortune had it that she learned to ski in a physical education program at Northern Arizona Univ. in 1968, which led to a passion for skiing. Moving to Mammoth in 1970 and an 18-year career of ski teaching began a lifestyle and reverence for the mountains through years of backcountry exploration in winter and summer. “Andrea Lawrence, one of my beloved mentors, was the impetus for my involvement in environmental activism beginning in the ’70s. She appointed me to the Mono County Planning Commission in the 1980s. That experience was a valuable education in non-partisanship and commitment to community. The benefits of living in the Sierra far outweighed any monetary gain or professional life—for a while anyway. A bit of panic set in at 40, and I decided to finish my masters in psychology and take a real job.” After 17 years at Mono County Mental Health as a psychotherapist, she retired and settled near Big Pine with her husband, Dennis, a magic dog, two crazy cats and a flock of chickens. With knees sacrificed to skiing and backpacking, she is settling more into a rural lifestyle with a garden of greens at the foot of the East Side of the Sierra Nevada. “Preserving our wondrous backcountry through the opportunities provided by Friends of the Inyo is an honor and commitment that I take seriously.”

Tom Boo, Bishop

Tom Boo is a physician at Northern Inyo Hospital. He fell in love with the Eastern Sierra region in 1996 when he moved to Bishop from Ventura with his wife Helene. Six years later, he took a hiatus to work in public health, mostly in South Sudan and Kenya, and returned to Bishop in 2009. He is a volunteer medical director and a board member of Hospice of the Owens Valley and recently joined the Starlite Community Service District. Dr. Boo believes that working with Friends of the Inyo is a great opportunity to try to live by the maxim to “think globally, act locally.” He has a passion for natural places and has been deeply concerned about global and local environmental issues since his days as an undergraduate biology major.

Marjorie Shock, Sacramento

Growing up on the East Coast, I always dreamt of living in California.
With a double major in Spanish and Sociology from Virginia Tech, my initial plan was to live and work with migrant farm workers in San Diego. However, supporting myself was essential. I completed graduate school and secured a job as a psychotherapist for the employees at UC Davis MedCenter. During this time I learned to rock climb in Owens River Gorge, backpack in Evolution Valley and back country ski in LeeVining. These activities in the eastern Sierra replenished me emotionally and spiritually.
The past four years have heightened my awareness for the need to address diversity, equity and inclusion. I am delighted that I have recently retired so I can devote myself to the activities important to me.  Being involved with FOI is one of those activities. I hope to create a more inclusive community while serving on the board.



Kyle Hamada
Communications Consultant

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. He was the Communications Director from 2018 to 2021, and still loves to visit the Eastern Sierra when he has time.