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New Year, New Membership Growth Campaign to Take Us to the End of the Decade!

Happy New Year, Friends of the Inyo!

Let’s launch into the January issue of The Juniper by talking about numbers. I have a brother who is a mathematician and he will tell you that numbers are relevant to everything in life.

For example, in 2023, Friends of the Inyo is starting off its 37th anniversary year with three staff members assuming increased responsibilities in redefined roles, one who is leaving us, and others who will be joining us later this year.

As we embark on another year of adventures in conservation, we must express our many thanks to you, our supporters, who helped us raise $79,397 (rounded up) in our “Reach for the Sky” Year-End Fundraising Campaign that began on Giving Tuesday. That amount equals 189% of our fundraising goal of $42,000, which included a $21,000 matching gift from our generous Board of Directors.

And for all of 2022, you donated $301,212 altogether to support FOI and the various campaigns we administer. This marks the first time Friends of the Inyo has raised more than $300,000 from individual and corporate donations in a single year.

Thank you!

Now that I have your full attention, let me explain our “Friendsraising” campaign to help us grow our membership to 2,030 by the year 2030. And yes, there is a logic behind this.

Let’s start by talking about 30 x 30

“30 x 30” (read “Thirty by Thirty”) is a movement at the global, national, and state/regional levels that aims to designate 30% of all lands and waters as protected areas by the year 2030.

For California, that means conserving 30% of our state’s lands and coastal waters. Why? As detailed in Governor Gavin Newsom’s inspiring Executive Order N-82-20, signed on October 7, 2020, California’s 30 x 30 Initiative (californianature.ca.gov) aims to conserve biodiversity, combat climate change and build climate-resiliency through nature-based solutions.

For the Eastern Sierra, which boasts millions of acres of public lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Forest Service and National Park Service, the potential contributions toward the advancement of 30 x 30 goals are enormous.

Enter Friends of the Inyo: That means not only our Staff and Board Members, but also YOU – because you, as our supporter (donor/partner/advocate/volunteer) are a Friend of the Inyo! And it is going to take all of us working together to make California 30 x 30 a reality.

As we reported in our Jeffrey Pine Journal’s FOI 35th Anniversary Issue in the Fall of 2021, Friends of the Inyo started in 1986 as a group of fewer than 10 people who organized others to comment on the then new Forest Plan for the Inyo National Forest before the March 1987 deadline. Twenty-five years later, in 2011, we boasted a little over 650 members, and since the beginning of our current decade, our membership has ebbed and flowed between around 1,000 and 1,200. With your help, we believe we can basically double our membership to 2,030 in the eight full years between now and the end of 2030 (or even sooner)! More Friends of the Inyo = More Conservation Warriors = More people actively working to meet California's 30 x 30 goals. I told you there was a method to our madness!

Power in Numbers

Numbers matter tremendously in:

Advocacy: Our Action Alerts to comment on and protest proposed extraction projects that could irrevocably harm the Bodie Hills, Long Valley, Hot Creek, Conglomerate Mesa and any other Eastern Sierra lands or waters we are called upon to protect, could never succeed without significant support from all of you.

Volunteering: Our small Stewardship Team’s healing impact on public lands and Wilderness is multiplied manifold when dozens of volunteers sign up to help clean up litter, dismantle illegal fire rings, install signage, clear trails of overgrowth and lakes and streams of harmful broken fishing line, take down obsolete cattle fencing, and efface illegal off-roading vehicle tracks from delicate desert ecosystems. And volunteer time is assigned a dollar value ($35.56 per hour in California) that can be used as important leverage on our grant applications. 

Philanthropy: Protecting and caring for the public lands of the Eastern Sierra costs money. Members’ donations help cover expenses related to our various campaigns and initiatives, as well as our general operating costs, and can be leveraged to secure additional funding from grant makers who require us to demonstrate that FOI has multiple funding streams.

Sustainability: Growing our member base will yield more long-term supporters, donors, volunteers, legacy gift donors, advocates, partners, board members and employees to ensure FOI can go on thriving far into the future.

'Friendsraising' – What we need from you!

Basically, if you love Friends of the Inyo and what we do for the Eastern Sierra, we need you to bring your friends, family members and networks on board as supporters, members or volunteers. That’s what “friendsraising” is: using YOUR connections to help a nonprofit grow its support base.

Here is what you can do between now and 2030:

  • Keep your membership with FOI current by donating a minimum of $35 a year toward our work. A membership entitles you to receive our Jeffrey Pine Journal magazine delivered to your home free of charge, stay current on all our goings on through our Juniper E-Newsletter and our Action Alerts, and receive special announcements and event opportunities on a members-first basis.
  • Gift a membership to a friend or loved one. We’ve made it easy for you to do so at friendsoftheinyo.org/donate.
  • Sign up for and invite your friends to FOI events throughout the year, from the Owens Lake Bird Festival to online educational events to our Summer Interpretive Hikes to our Dark Desert Skies Campouts. Look for our events offering and sign up on our Events page, friendsoftheinyo.org/events.
  • Encourage others to volunteer with Friends of the Inyo. Most of our volunteering events are half-day affairs out in nature from the spring through the fall. We provide coffee, snacks, and raffle prizes. If you are volunteering with us, bring a friend or two. For heartier souls, we have multi-day stewardship weeks out in Wilderness: Working hard for a good cause by day, and camping out under the stars at night is a great way to bond with others who value conservation as much as you do. Sign up – or get your friends to sign up – on our Events page. Or visit the Stewardship tab on our website and add your name to our new Volunteer Mailing List so you can be contacted for stewardship opportunities as they come up.  
  • Share our e-mail Action Alerts with people you know and encourage them to get involved. Many voices make for change.
  • Encourage your friends to sign up to receive our Juniper Monthly E-Newsletter at friendsoftheinyo.org/subscribe.

So there you are, Dear Friend: It’s up to every one of us to "Grow our Circle of Friends…of the Inyo!" Close to one-third of our public lands and waters depend on it! Will you help us get to 2,030 members by 2030? Or, to put it mathematically, can we count on you?


Also in this issue of The Juniper, we:

  • Say farewell (Sniff!) to Stewardship Director Alex Ertaud, who shares a heartfelt message with our readers;  
  • Welcome Lindsay Butcher, Allison Weber, and Kayla Browne into their new roles within our Stewardship and Policy Divisions;
  • Invite you to read and share with your Spanish-speaking friends our new Desert Lands Organizer Jaime Lopez Wolters' first contributed column to local weekly El Sol de la Sierra;
  • Let you know how you can help us and the U.S. Forest Service by doing snow surveys as volunteer field researchers while you're out enjoying your snow recreation activities in the Inyo National Forest;  
  • Share the latest scoop on water justice from the Keep Long Valley Green Coalition; 
  • Continue to highlight our Legacy Giving Program - It's easy to set up, doesn't cost a penny during your lifetime, and helps you make giving to Eastern Sierra conservation a very attainable New Year's Resolution; 
  • And more! 

Remember: When scrolling through our newsletter, you might come across a message at the bottom that says [Message clipped] and/or the hyperlink "View Entire Message." Be sure to click on the link to keep reading, as more news will be displayed. This is done to prevent bandwidth issues in e-mail delivery. Thank you.  

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


Louis (Lou) Medina
Communications and Philanthropy Director

Farewell, Alex (Sniff)!

A Farewell from Stewardship Director Alex Ertaud

Leaving Friends of the Inyo is a deeply bittersweet moment. It’s been quite the ride, from doing volunteer interpretive hikes for the organization in 2014, to becoming employed seasonally as Trail Ambassador in 2017, and then weaseling my way into Communications Director later that year and Stewardship Director a year after that. Simply put, it’s been the realization of a hope and dream of what I wanted to be a part of since I became introduced to the organization at the Wild & Scenic Film Festival (Remember those?!) at the Edison Theatre in Mammoth Lakes in 2011. I’ve always told folks that I felt really lucky to work for an organization that pretty-close-to-fully shared my ideals. I never felt as though I had to compromise personal beliefs and thoughts on what is best for the landscapes—and the beings (critters, humans, otherwise) that benefit from them—of the Eastern Sierra on any topics for the sake of work. And for that I am forever grateful. I am also grateful to be able to transition into a career with the Inyo National Forest, where I hope to carry the spirit of doing what is best for the Forest-scapes of the Eastern Sierra. 

The highlights of my time working on and for the public lands of Inyo & Mono counties has been the time spent with all of you in truly remarkable places. From raking out tire tracks in Death Valley's Badwater Basin to picking up fishing-line around Rock Creek lake, the work itself sounds wildly mundane. It isn’t (especially if you have a perverse taste for manual labor as I do), but it is made all the more spectacular by doing it alongside my co-workers, agency partners, board members, and you, Friends of the Inyo members and volunteers. There are too many of you to name, but you have made my time truly memorable. So, thank you. 

I am thrilled to see the stewardship program continue its strong work under the guidance of Lindsay Butcher, who has been a fantastic colleague and friend since 2020. I can’t wait to see what she and the program do next!

Thank you all for an amazing five and a half years of caring for the public lands of the Eastern Sierra alongside you. If you’d like to reach out, you can e-mail me at aertaud@ucdavis.edu, and if not, I hope to see you out on the trails, lift line, or skin-track.  

Staff Announcements

Our New Stewardship Director, Lindsay Butcher (Promoted from Stewardship Programs Manager)

Transitioning from working with Friends of the Inyo as a seasonal Trail Ambassador in 2020, into Stewardship Programs Manager in 2021 through 2022, Lindsay now assumes the mantle of Stewardship Director in 2023.

Originally hailing from San Diego, Lindsay grew up spending summers in the Sierra on family camping trips. After graduating from San Diego State University 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 found the gravitational pull of the Eastside too alluring to resist and permanently relocated in 2019.

As Stewardship Director, she is excited to share the joy of getting her hands dirty while working on the trails and lands she now calls home.

Reach Lindsay at Lindsay@friendsoftheinyo.org.  


Our New Policy Associate,
Water and Forest Campaign Manager, Allison Weber  (Promoted from Keep Long Valley Green Coalition Organizer)

Allison moved to Mammoth Lakes when she was 13 and found her passion for the environment in the Inyo National Forest. She left the Eastern Sierra to study Conservation and Resource Studies at the University of California, Berkeley, where she managed an urban farm and got involved in public health research. Ultimately, her love for nature brought her back. When she is not working, she is a rock climber, telemark skier, and long-distance trail runner. Allison has always wanted to work for Friends of the Inyo and got her wish when she started as the Keep Long Valley Green Coalition Organizer in December 2021. She is excited to do even more for the land and its denizens in her new position. 

Reach Allison at Allison@friendsoftheinyo.org


Our New Policy Associate, Desert Lands Campaign Manager, 
Kayla Browne (Promoted from 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. Kayla loves connecting people and communities to the untouched landscapes that make this area so exceptional, focusing on Conglomerate Mesa and Southern Inyo County. She enjoys mountain biking, trail running, rock and ice climbing, hiking, and skiing.

Reach Kayla at Kayla@friendsoftheinyo.org

Stay tuned for other new staff announcements coming up later in the first quarter of 2023. 

Snow Surveys - 
Volunteers Needed!

Winter is upon us, and it is already gearing up to be a good one! FOI is once again collaborating with Winter Wildlands Alliance (WWA) to collect some Winter Recreation Data to better inform the US Forest Service Subpart-C Winter Travel Management planning process.

In the past two winter seasons, you might have seen an FOI staffer or board member out at Rock Creek Sno-Park or Obsidian Dome NordicTrack taking snow depth measurements or tallying recreational users. Well, we can always use the public's help!

If you cross-country or backcountry (XC/BC) ski or snowboard, snowshoe, or snowmobile in the Inyo National Forest and would like to help the USFS make informed decisions about Winter Recreation and Over Snow Vehicle use, then join us in some "Citizen Science."

Sign up with FOI at friendsoftheinyo.org/wintertravelplanning; you will receive details on how to download the RIMS app and begin logging data. 

Once you’ve signed up, you'll be ready to record some observations and be a volunteer field researcher!

Questions? Contact Lindsay@friendsoftheinyo.org. Thank you!

Spanish Outreach

Since we now have another fluent Spanish-speaking staff member, Jaime Lopez Wolters, our new Desert Lands Organizer whom we introduced in the December 2022 issue of The Juniper, there will be more variety in our column, "Amigos de Nuestras Tierras" ("Friends of Our Lands") in the Eastern Sierra Spanish-language weekly El Sol de la Sierra.

Jaime's first contribution to the current (Jan. 5 - 11) issue is his self-introduction to the community. Please click on the image below to download a pdf copy. Share it with your Spanish-speaking friends, and let them know that they can pick up a copy of El Sol for FREE in stores, restaurants and businesses throughout Inyo and Mono Counties. 

Also, since Jaime is based in Lone Pine, help us get the word out that BOTH Friends of the Inyo's Main Office in Bishop and Satellite Office in Lone Pine now boast Spanish-speaking staff members. Gracias! 


The latest (December 2022) issue of the official E-Newsletter of the Keep Long Valley Green Coalition (KLVG), Every Last Drop, came out at the end of last month. It features a look at L.A.'s crumbling infrastructure for water distribution (read pipes) that is causing a heck of a lot of waste of the precious Eastern Sierra water the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power has, for over a century, been siphoning away from our precious "land of flowing water," Payahuunadu. Please share it widely with your friends and networks.  

Click here to access past issues of Every Last Drop.

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Want to support Friends of the Inyo? Consider making a donation online today!
Or help us Grow Our Circle of Friends...of the Inyo! by purchasing a membership for a friend or loved one. 

Thank you for your generous support.

Other Ways to Give

Friends of the Inyo appreciates the following organizations and local businesses for their generous monetary 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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