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Dear Friend,

Well, together we have gotten through another year of a worldwide pandemic, global warming, wildfires, drought, inflation and many other challenges - but many opportunities as well:

  • In 2021, Friends of the Inyo celebrated its 35th anniversary of protecting and caring for the public lands of the Eastern Sierra.
  • We launched our Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee and began conducting outreach in Spanish for the first time to Inyo and Mono counties' growing Hispanic community.
  • We stood against mining interests that threaten to destroy local public lands, protesting and rallying tens of thousands of public comments, many in opposition of destructive drilling in Conglomerate Mesa, and even joined a lawsuit to prevent similar drilling in Long Valley.
  • In partnership with the Keep Long Valley Green Coalition, we launched the Every Last Drop e-mail newsletter to call attention to issues of water justice (and injustice) in the drawn-out L.A./Eastern Sierra Water Wars.  
  • Thanks to the support of our donors and funders, we have continued to grow our staff, and will be introducing our new Desert Lands Organizer Kayla Browne and Operations Manager Karen Brorson in this issue of the Juniper. But, alas, we will also be bidding farewell to Operations and Philanthropy Director Michael Cleaver, who has chosen to move on to pursue a career in nursing. Since autumn of 2017, Michael has been instrumental in helping to streamline our operations while raising significant funds for our programs and providing unlimited support to the leadership and staff of FOI. He will be sorely missed. 

Read about our many goings on below—including about a job opening to help further the work of the Bodie Hills Conservation Partnership, of which FOI is a leading member.

Happy reading—and if you like what you read, happy sharing! 


Louis (Lou) Medina
Communications Director


What a success this year's #GivingTuesday Fundraiser was thanks to your support! Friends of the Inyo received upwards of $4,400 from late November through the BIG Giving Day, Nov. 30, the Tuesday after Thanksgiving. Our supporters answered our appeals that went out via e-mail, social media, on the radio airwaves: If you missed our interview on KMMT-FM on Giving Tuesday morning, click here to have a listen

Aaaand....If you missed donating to Friends of the Inyo through our Giving Tuesday Campaign, not to worry: Here you will find our End-of-Year Appeal, which will highlight our accomplishments in 2021 and let you in on a double-your-impact giving opportunity. You see, two anonymous “Donor Angels” have provided FOI with a matching gift, ensuring that all donations received in answer to this year-end appeal, up to $11,500, are doubled! Your gift made through the button below, therefore, will be worth TWICE AS MUCH! So, please our partner in protecting and caring for the public lands of the Eastern Sierra through your tax-deductible year-end donation and see it multiplied! Thank you!

FOI En Español

Don't forget to read our monthly column, Amigos de Nuestras Tierras (Friends of Our Lands) on page 9 of this week's (Dec. 9) issue of Mono and Inyo Counties' sole Spanish-language weekly, El Sol de la Sierra.  It will feature our year-end appeal ¡en español! with an opportunity for our Spanish-speaking friends to also participate in our double-your-impact giving opportunity. 

New FOI Staff Members

Desert Lands Organizer Kayla Browne

Operations Manager Karen Brorson

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.

Karen was born in Riverside, CA.  She discovered the Eastern Sierra on her first backpacking trip during college, beginning a lifelong love for the great outdoors.  While in L.A., Karen worked in the accounting department of large corporations, and with her husband, Mike, for his sole proprietorship for over two decades.  In 1998, Karen and Mike realized their dream of relocating to the Eastern Sierra.  One of Karen’s most rewarding jobs was earlier this year, when she worked as a paramedic for the Ventura County Public Health mobile vaccination team. Traveling to farms and communities to provide onsite vaccination clinics, she witnessed first-hand what dynamic and focused professionals can bring to an important endeavor.  She feels that same energy at Friends of the Inyo.

Bye, Michael Cleaver(Sniff!)

A Farewell in Michael's Own Words

It has been an honor to be part of the Friends of the Inyo family. Through the last four years, we’ve grown, celebrated victories, and fended off the hardest financial challenges in the organization’s history. From parties in the dirt to festivals, hikes, and conferences, it is the people who make Friends of the Inyo special, and I will miss the camaraderie, friendships, and shared adventures of our work.

During the last year, a new challenge began calling me, and I am returning to school to make a difference through nursing, and to explore a new world in healthcare. While I will miss the Sierra Nevada’s unique culture and stunning views, I will have plenty of excitement and challenges ahead. Nevertheless, it is hard to leave behind our cause and such great friends. 

I was worried that the transition could harm our programs, but am heartened by our newest team members, Louis, Kayla, and Karen, who are each stunningly qualified, passionate, and competent in their roles. They each have ideas and drive to continue my goal of nurturing and improving our organization. The entire FOI team has inspired and blessed this part of my life, and I am grateful for the time spent with all of you, together, at Friends of the Inyo. 

Michael Cleaver has served Friends of the Inyo well as our Operations and Philanthropy Director. Please join us in wishing him well in his new life adventure by writing to him before the end of the month at Michael@FriendsoftheInyo.org.

Bodie Hills Winter Outing, 9am - 3pm Sat., Feb. 5, 2022 

Join us for a fun outing in the snow as we explore the Bodie Hills. Bring your skis or snowshoes (or borrow ours) for a fun day of trekking. All ages and skill levels are welcome. You must RSVP through the corresponding Event page on our website using the button below. Multiple people from the same party or household must register individually. 

Advocacy Update 

The Opposition to KORE Mining's Destructive Drilling in Sage Grouse Habitat in Long Valley Continues!

On Saturday, Nov. 20, dozens of protesters from Mammoth Lakes, June Lake, Crowley Lake, Bishop, Mono Lake, Mono City, Independence and even Reno(!) came together, eye-catching signs in hand, in front of Stellar Brew in Mammoth Lakes to protest KORE Mining's exploratory drilling for gold in Long Valley. We are grateful for committed community members who see the folly and wantonness in permanently destroying irreplaceable lands for short-lived profits.

As reported in last month's Juniper and through our blog and social media channels, Friends of the Inyo, together with other environmental groups (see below), is suing the U.S. Forest Service, which greenlighted KORE Mining's operations that threaten an endangered fish and a dwindling population of bi-state sage grouse.

“Long Valley is an important place that needs conservation protection, not a gold mine,” said Wendy Schneider, executive director of Friends of the Inyo. “The area provides critical wildlife habitat for struggling species, it is culturally significant to local tribes, and important for the recreational tourism economy in Mammoth. Further, the water in the area is already overcommitted. Drilling activities will add to that burden and introduce the possibility of toxic contamination. The drilling proposal was strongly opposed by a majority in the community. The Forest Service should not have approved this proposal.”

Read the Oct. 21 media release from plaintiffs Center for Biological Diversity, Western Watersheds Project, Friends of the Inyo and the Sierra Club here.


December 10 marks the 75th anniversary of the Bureau of Land Management, which was established in 1946 by President Harry S. Truman. The BLM is an agency within the United States Department of the Interior and is responsible for administering federal lands. Headquartered in Grand Junction, Colorado, and with oversight over 247.3 million acres (1,001,000 km2), it governs one eighth of our country's landmass. 

Friends of the Inyo would like to wish the Bureau of Land Management a Happy 75th Anniversary! From Bodie Hills to Conglomerate Mesa, from Bishop to Ridgecrest, we are grateful for our partners in the local BLM field offices who work hard managing the public lands in their care. We look forward to years of continued partnership and promoting thriving public lands for all to enjoy.

Collaborative Efforts

Find news and updates from the latest issues (Mid-November and Early December) as well as all past issues of Every Last Drop, the official newsletter of the Keep Long Valley Green Coalition, here.

Use the button below to subscribe to the newsletter so you can stay up to date with all coalition news and developments. 


The Bodie Hills Conservation Partnership (BHCP) is excited to announce that it is recruiting for a Local Bodie Hills Conservation Organizer to expand the knowledge of the BHCP locally and gather feedback from the gateway communities of Bridgeport and Lee Vining, as well as from visitors to the Bodie Hills, that will inform how our approach toward the permanent protection of the Bodie Hills. Locals to the area are encouraged to apply. Please help us spread the word. 


Want to support Friends of the Inyo? Consider making a donation online today!

Thank you for your generous support.

Friends of the Inyo appreciates the following organizations and local businesses for their generous sponsorship of our programs:

Inyo Mono Alpine County
Cattlemen’s Association


Remember to update the address to our new location:

Friends of the Inyo
621 W. Line St., Suite 201
Bishop, CA 93514


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