Board of Directors
- Roger Scholl, State Chair / Founding Board Member
- Hermi Hiatt, Southern Nevada Vice Chair
- Karen Boeger, Rural Vice Chair / Founding Board Member
- Larry Dwyer, Treasurer
- John Hiatt, Issues Chair
- Meghan Wolf, Board Member
- Bart Patterson, Board Member
- Marge Sill, Founding Board Member
- Roberta Moore, Board Member
- Pete Bradley, Board Member
- Tom Myers, Board Member
- Michelle Napoli, Board Member
- Louis Bubala, Board Member
- Eric Roberts, Board Member
- Dan Alvey, Membership Coordinator
- Richie Bednarski, Stewardship Coordinator (Northern Nevada)
- Pat Bruce, Stewardship Program Director (Northern Nevada)
- Jake Kastner, GIS/Monitoring Coordinator
- Nora Kaufmann, Stewardship Coordinator (Northern Nevada)
- Kurt Kuznicki, Associate Director
- Grace Larsen, Stewardship Coordinator (Southern Nevada)
- Shaaron Netherton, Executive Director
- Kirk Peterson, Inventory Coordinator
- Mike Rowan, Grants and Agreements Manager
- Darcy Shepard, Director of Finance and Human Resources
- Jesy Simons, Southern Nevada Program Coordinator (Southern Nevada)
- Shevawn Von Tobel, Communications & Outreach Manager
- Jose Witt, Southern Nevada Manager (Southern Nevada)
Board of Directors
Harry Reid pays high praise to four Friends of Nevada Wilderness board members: Marge Sill, John Hiatt, Hermi Hiatt and Roger Scholl (click the link to read the PDF document).
Thirty-five years ago I wished Nevada, with millions of acres of largely unrecognized wilderness, could have one full-time person working to protect this legacy. Today I am filled with gratitude for the marvelous staff of Friends of Nevada Wilderness and those who support their work. It is deeply satisfying knowing dozens of magnificent protected areas are home to countless fellow creatures, hold answers to questions we have yet to ask, and offer a taste of my early experiences of discovery to my family, grandchildren and thousands of others.
As an avid outdoorsman Roger has explored most of Nevada's wild places - something he continues to do.
Dr. Scholl served as Deputy Executive Director of the Wilderness Society in Washington D.C. for several years and was a founder of Friends of Nevada Wilderness. He has been a leader on Nevada wilderness issues since 1969 and was instrumental in the passage of the Nevada Wilderness Bill in 1989.
Coming from Switzerland, a country where almost all landscapes below timberline have been sculpted by man, I deeply appreciate wild lands where man's hand is not much in evidence. Preservation of unique habitats and open space for flora and fauna is very important to me.
Hermi Hiatt, a volunteer with Friends of Nevada Wilderness since 1987, has been involved with almost every piece of wilderness legislation in the state. Her on-the-ground knowledge, mapping and inventory work especially in Clark County has had direct payoff with more areas protected as wilderness.
Hermi is a professional plant ecologist who has worked extensively in the Mojave Desert and across the Great Basin. Her professionalism has brought a strong science-based component to Friends of Nevada Wilderness’ work. Hermi’s wealth of knowledge, big heart and willingness to volunteer have been instrumental to Friends’ success in conserving over three million acres of Nevada’s Wilderness.
I was so fortunate to grow up at a time when much of the west was still wild and the dominant recreational uses were traditional: hiking, fishing, hunting and horseback riding. Within a generation, those opportunities have vastly diminished. I want to do all that I can to ensure that my grandchildren and their grandchildren will always have the same wilderness opportunities and life benefits that I was able to enjoy.
Karen, a retired school teacher and Nevadan "Desert Rat" and volunteer conservation activist for over 30 years, is a founding member of Friends Of Nevada Wilderness.
Wilderness has been part of my life for as long as I can remember. Growing up on the slopes of Mt. Tamalpais, I considered the entire mountain to be part of my own personal "backyard," and, as a student at UNR, I began to explore Nevada's vast variety of unspoiled wilderness. Over the last several years, I learned of the amazing work Friends is doing to turn these areas into designated wilderness so they'll be protected in perpetuity.
Larry, with a Ph.D. in biochemistry from the University of Nevada, spent most of his career developing human and veterinary diagnostic tests. He has also worked with an environmental analytical laboratory and a solar installation company. Now, fully retired from regular work, he wants to spend more time helping Friends preserve and protect wilderness.
I devote my time and energy working for wilderness preservation because I greatly enjoy large open spaces which are not greatly modified by man's activities. I also believe wilderness areas are some of the best areas to view wildlife.
John Hiatt has been working on conservation issues primarily in southern Nevada for almost 30 years. He played a large part in wilderness protection for Forest Service lands in the 1980s and then focused his attention on BLM managed lands. He helped to both create and expand the Red Rock National Conservation Area outside of Las Vegas.
John is well versed in Las Vegas civic affairs having served as a member and chairman of the Enterprise Town Advisory Board since 1979; served on the Las Vegas Valley Citizens Groundwater Management Advisory Committee since its inception in 1998; and served on the Integrated Joint Water Planning Citizens Advisory Committee. John is currently serving as chairman of the BLM's Resource Advisory Council for the Mojave-Southern Great Basin region.
An organic chemist by training, with a Ph.D. from Yale University, John has been employed as a clinical and forensic chemist since 1973. John has been a member of the Board of Directors of Friends of Nevada Wilderness since 1995 where his extensive knowledge of a broad array of subjects has been invaluable in steering Board policy.
I learned to love the outdoors growing up in North Carolina hiking, climbing trees and swimming in lakes, rivers and oceans. There was always an inner urge for me to move west. Nevada's wide open spaces, beautiful, rugged landscape and sparkling desert air touched every nerve in me on my first visit to Nevada and the Black Rock desert on a restoration trip.
Being in the wilderness connects me to a part of life that feels severed in a world increasingly dominated by the global human footprint. The wild land is a part of my being. Wilderness deserves my attention and respect, and I, in turn, need it to feel whole again.
Meghan brings an eclectic background to Friends' board. Prior to her current position as Assistant Manager at Patagonia's Reno outlet store, Meghan traveled widely and taught English to inter-generational, multi-cultural communities in far-flung locales like the Czech Republic and Turkey. She also has worked in corporate and media communications.
Having wilderness areas, including a number of areas close to a large metropolitan area like Las Vegas, is critical to our quality of life. There is always a feeling of serenity in spending time in these unspoiled areas, and this is a value I want my children to experience.
Bart was appointed as President of Nevada State College in November 2011. Prior to that he was a practicing attorney for nearly 20 years following graduation from Utah State University with a B.S. in Political Science and a J.D. from Duke University Law School. Prior to his appointment as President, he served as vice-chancellor of Administration and Legal Affairs for the Nevada System of Higher Education after spending the first half of his career in private practice in Las Vegas and Phoenix specializing in business litigation. Bart has always had a great love of the outdoors growing up in central Idaho along the Salmon River where his father was a school teacher and part-time rancher. Bart is the Vice Chair of Dress for Success Southern Nevada and serves on, among other boards, the Henderson Chamber of Commerce and the Las Vegas Global Economic Alliance. He is an avid hiker and has worked on various programs to preserve wilderness areas and species for many years including serving as President of the Arizona Heritage Alliance, working on restoring natural quiet to the Grand Canyon and other wilderness areas, and helping preserve Red RockCanyon near Las Vegas. Bart has three great children and his youngest daughter blessed him with his first grandchild in January 2015. He was elected to the Board in 2004.
I have always been happiest when I could feel at one with the natural world. I hope that wilderness and wild things will always be a part of the life of my extended family for generations to come.
Marge is a full-time volunteer conservationist. Her particular interests are wilderness, national parks, national forests, and wild rivers. She worked for and helped make every acre of Nevada's 3.37 million acres of wilderness a reality. Marge is lovingly known as the Grandmother of Nevada Wilderness and is an inspiration for several generations of wilderness advocates.
Growing up in Southern California, I escaped with my family to the High Sierras as often as possible. My father and I hiked the high country, and along those muddy trails and in those sacred places, my father instilled in me the value of wild places and how if we don’t protect them, they would soon disappear. Our diverse and beautiful landscape is a priceless inheritance we leave for our children and future generations. I want to share my father’s message, and now my own, with anyone who will listen.
Roberta, a retired National Park Service Ranger/Interpreter and co-editor of Wild Nevada: Testimonies on Behalf of the Desert, is a volunteer conservationist, involved in the Aldo Leopold Foundation Land Ethics program, and a writer and artist. She and her husband David are committed to developing land trusts in Nevada, to preserve and protect our wild landscapes.
Thanks to the wisdom of his late Mother and Father, Pete began exploring Nevada’s wilderness in 1963. He spent some time out of the State, including some college in northern Idaho (1977), and a 2,500-mile wilderness walk from Mexico to Canada through California, Oregon and Washington (1979), but always returned to his native haunt. He was employed by the USFS as a wilderness patrolman in the Ruby Mountains in 1980. He married Sue at Pyramid Rock in 1981. Both finished school in 1986 - Pete- M.S. Wildlife Ecology. Pete retired from a career as a biologist with the Nevada Department of Wildlife in April 2014. His last position with NDOW was as the apex predator biologist stationed in Reno. He was employed by Great Basin College to teach a course entitled Man and the Environment. He has written extensively on Nevada's natural history and has, through his writing and teaching, tried to influence Nevada wilderness policy for 25 years. His favorite craft is a canoe, favorite instrument, a handmade guitar. With the aid of black powder, spit patch and lead round ball, he hunts and eats mule deer and elk. Most importantly, he and Sue try daily to pass a wild ethic onto their sons. Pete was involved with the founding of the Bristlecone chapter for northeastern Nevada of the Audubon Society. Pete plans to use his retirement as a time to write. Pete was initially elected to the Board in 2004. He stepped off the board in 2013 and rejoined the board after his retirement from NDOW.
Tom Myers moved to Nevada in 1983 and has been entranced with the open spaces and wilderness of the Great Basin and Mojave Deserts ever since. Tom was conservation director for Friends in the late 1990s, having obtained some grants to map roadless areas and review development proposals that could affect wilderness lands in Nevada. Originally from Pennsylvania where the No Trespass sign is ubiquitous, Tom values the public lands of Nevada which he explores whenever possible. Using a PhD in hydrogeology obtained from the University of Nevada, Tom works as a consulting hydrogeologist on water rights and groundwater issues all over the country, primarily for conservation groups. He has maintained a professional focus on Nevada by working to protect the waters of the Great Basin from attempts to develop groundwater basins by Las Vegas. Tom was elected to the board in 2014.
Nothing makes me more content than getting out of the man-made environment and into the natural world – doing so has truly changed my values, my ethics, my self. I hope for others to make that same connection with our wild places, which we cannot take for granted and must protect for ourselves and for future generations.
Michelle Napoli was drawn to the local mountains and the open desert spaces of Southern Nevada in 2010. A few years later she began volunteering with Friends of Nevada Wilderness, wanting to lend a hand in taking care of the places where she enjoys spending her free time hiking, backpacking, camping, rock climbing and canyoneering. As the Community Outreach Director of the Las Vegas Mountaineers Club from 2012-2015, Michelle recruited fellow outdoor recreation enthusiasts to work with Friends as well as other organizations and land managers on a variety of stewardship projects in the Las Vegas area. A 1994 graduate of the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, cum laude and Commonwealth Scholar, Michelle has been working as a freelance business journalist for the past 13-plus years. A member of the American Alpine Club and the Access Fund, and a supporter of the Peconic Land Trust in her native eastern Long Island, she joined the Friends of Nevada Wilderness Board in 2015.
Louis Bubala, Board Member
Lou's introduction to Nevada wilderness began in 2004 with a drive in the dark down the washboard Soldiers Meadow Road. He and his son spent a weekend volunteering for National Public Lands Day in the Black Rock Desert High Rock Canyon Emigrant Trails National Conservation Area. Lou has been actively involved with Friends of Nevada Wilderness ever since. In 2010, Friends recognized him for leading an annual school camping trip to volunteer in the NCA, exposing 30 students and parents to wilderness each year. Lou also has volunteered with Lahontan Audubon, coordinating school field trips to Washoe Lake State Park, and the Nature Conservancy, where he was the Indiana chapter's volunteer of the year in 2000. Lou is a graduate of Indiana University and the University of Oregon School of Law. A former reporter, Lou practices law with the Kaempfer Crowell law firm in Reno, Carson City and Las Vegas. Lou, his wife Jill, and his children Louis, Zora and Maylyn live in East Washoe Valley.
Growing up in the shadows of the Wasatch and within a quick drive of the Uintah mountains I have always cherished every opportunity to reconnect with nature and enjoy all that the wild world has to offer. Since my relocation to Nevada in 2004 I have been converted to the beauty of Nevada’s desert, its delicate and rugged landscape, and its open expanses of natural beauty. As an architect and maker and designer of man-made things, I cherish the untrammeled expanse of natural beauty that exists here in Nevada. My heart is warmed by the natural design of Little Finland and its intricate rusty-red and salmon colored elegance; or, the design of native plant species that lie dormant on the desert floor waiting for the slightest trace of moisture so that they can burst forth into life! Nevada’s wild places are truly a treasure.
Eric is vice-President of SH Architecture, an architectural firm with offices in Las Vegas and Salt Lake City. He specializes in sustainable design technologies and is responsible for developing a firm-wide vision for improving building performance. Eric holds a Masters of Architecture degree from the University of Idaho as well as a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Architecture from the University of Idaho. He is past President of the American Institute of Architects Las Vegas and Nevada Chapters. Eric and his wife Cathy have five pretty great kids and make Las Vegas the launch pad for their current adventures.
To contact our staff individually, please see our contact us page.
“We who are gathered here may represent a particularly elite, not of money and power, but of concern for the earth for the earth’s sake.” - Ansel Adams
Raised just on the other side of the Sierra Nevada mountains, Dan’s love for wild areas started early with adventures on the Yuba River and overnight trips to high alpine lakes. Since moving to Reno in 2014, Dan has fallen in love with the area's balance of culture and nature. Outside of work, you’ll find him skiing in the Mt. Rose Wilderness, rock climbing at the Washoe Boulders, or mountain biking around Peavine Peak.
“Keep close to Nature’s heart…and break clear away, once in awhile, and climb a mountain or spend a week in the woods. Wash your spirit Clean.” —John Muir
Muir’s words have continually inspired Richie to discover the wonders of what Nature can offer to the spirit. Richard Bednarski grew up in the northern Sierra-Nevada Mountains and has cultivated a deep love for wild places roaming the forests and peaks as a child. He attended the University of Nevada, Reno and received a degree in Anthropology and a minor in Photography in 2009. Since then, his work as an Archaeologist has taken him to Idaho, Montana, Florida, Nevada and Alaska. His passion for the environment, solitude, and the outdoors keeps him exploring all reaches of wilderness. He is an avid hiker, camper, mountain climber, and gardener.
I can’t tell you how good it feels for me to be working for FNW. Now I can give back to this great state on a grand scale. As the Stewardship Program Director, I am able to take regular folks who are concerned about their public lands out on our projects and introduce them to the special places in Nevada, the last of the Wild West.
Watch Pat's video about how he got involved in wilderness: they would pay somebody for this?
Pat heads up our Wilderness Stewardship Program, coordinating with agencies and volunteers to get projects done on the ground. Pat brings a wealth of experience to the job, including years of managing volunteers and programs from Boy Scouts to archaeological field schools at University of Nevada, Reno. Pat was born in Scotland and has lived in Nevada for nearly 25 years. He and his dog, Skye, try to spend 100 nights a year out in Nevada's backcountry. Pat loves Nevada's wild open places and likes to see himself as an "early man" seeing the land through the eyes of those who came before. With a BA in anthropology, Pat focused on early man sites in the northern Great Basin. Pat joined the staff in 2006.
Nevada holds much of this country’s remaining secrets. We must protect them for our fellow explorers, so that they too may get lost while finding themselves.
Jake came to Nevada in August 2011 to pursue a Master’s degree in Geography at the University of Nevada, Reno. He grew up in western New York State and attended the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry where he received a Bachelor’s of Science in Conservation Biology. Much of his childhood was spent hiking, canoeing, mountain biking, and climbing trees in the expanse of nature the Adirondack Park has to offer. He has developed a strong connection with nature and it seems fate has brought him to help protect our wild lands here in Nevada.
Nevada is an often-misunderstood gem in the western landscape. I am honored to call myself a part of an organization who is so committed to Nevada’s wild lands, and dedicated to education and outreach in Nevada’s communities. I am excited to align my lively spirit and vision with Friends of Nevada Wilderness and continue to develop the connection between the people and the land that I love.
Nora, who hails from Oregon, moved to Nevada in 2012 after wandering the West for a few years. She led trail crews in Rocky Mountain National Park, the Grand Canyon, Big Sur, and worked for a handful of conservation organizations before she settled in Nevada where she fell in love with the unexplored solitude which the desert has to offer. The first-hand experience that Nora gained working in some of the most remote areas of the West helped her understand the vast and pressing issues that face wilderness areas in the modern day. She was inspired to dedicate herself and her work to protecting the truly wild places that we have left for current and future generations to experience and explore.
After you have gone out, gotten dusty and fallen in love with Wild Nevada, you then come to the realization that you have a responsibility to preserve and protect her for future generations.
Kurt brings a unique group of skills to Friends. Kurt worked in the private sector for over 30 years and 25 of those in a management position. Kurt has been successful in managing large construction projects and consistently bringing projects in on time and within budget constraints.
Kurt is very passionate about the protection and preservation of Nevada’s wild places and that passion shows not only in Kurt’s on the ground work but in his award winning photography. Kurt resides in Reno with his wife of 30 years, Barbara, and their two trail dogs Henry and Penny.
Grace Larsen, Southern Nevada Stewardship Coordinator
Grace’s appreciation for the outdoors developed while growing up in northern Minnesota going on paddling and backpacking trips. Surrounded by trees and water, she became particularly interested in plant diversity. This passion led her along a path to earn Bachelor’s degrees in biology and philosophy from the University of Minnesota Duluth. Grace then lived on the Oregon coast, working with the BLM to increase awareness about and restore habitats for vulnerable species, such as western snowy plovers. She loves learning about the desert and mountain environments of Nevada, working to protect them, and inspiring others to experience the liveliness of the Mojave Desert.
After climbing to the top of a wilderness peak and seeing the Great Basin unfold around me, I am filled with a sense of belonging that I never felt anywhere else. I am home!
Shaaron's video of why she works for wilderness: working my passion.
Shaaron has served as Executive Director for Friends of Nevada Wilderness since July 2000, becoming the organization’s first full time Director. She has built Friends of Nevada Wilderness into a strong, vibrant organization with a string of wilderness legislative successes leading to the protection of over 3 million acres of wilderness. She and her staff have also built up a nationally recognized Wilderness Stewardship Program working with all four federal agencies across Nevada to provide boots-on-the-ground restoration and monitoring for Nevada’s wildlands.
She has had a passion for Nevada’s wild places since moving to the state in 1978. Shaaron also serves as vice-chairman of the Board of Directors for the National Wilderness Stewardship Alliance. Prior to accepting the ED position, Shaaron was a field manager with the Bureau of Land Management in Prineville, Oregon. She has 22 years of public land management experience in the BLM with 10 years in Nevada working specifically in the BLM’s Wilderness program. These duties ranged from helping to coordinate the State-wide intensive inventory, authoring two legislative wilderness EISs for eastern Nevada and writing wilderness study reports. She has lived and worked throughout much of rural Nevada. She received her BS degree in Wildlife Management from Humboldt State University.
How does a landscape contribute to the making of a person? You tell me. The vast, wild landscapes of the Mojave and Great Basin deserts played a formative role in my earliest childhood years. I learned that landscapes that do not expose the rock, earth, and stone skeleton that binds this planet together are alien and strange. In my teens, I witnessed the rise of mechanized access and recreation take an ever-increasing toll on the empty wild deserts I had grown to love. When I moved to Reno in 1979, I dedicated every spare minute to exploring, documenting, protecting, and advocating for the natural integrity and wilderness character of Nevada. Today I feel fortunate that my dedication to the beauty and wonder of the great American deserts can now be focused full-time through my work with Friends.
Kirk brings to Friends 30 years of experience traveling and photographing Nevada’s backcountry and wilderness, and - most recently - ten years as a National Park Service ranger. He manages and directs our on-the-ground inventory crews throughout the state. Over the past several years he has been directing inventory work as a part of providing quality information into the BLM’s resource management plans regarding lands with wilderness characteristics.
Mike came to Friends of Nevada Wilderness after retiring from the US Forest Service in 2014. He brings over 30 years of experience in recreation and wilderness management from several National Forests in the western US including the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest in Nevada. After landing a Wilderness Ranger job in 1985 on the Gifford Pinchot National Forest Mike stuck with recreation and wilderness programs for the rest of his Forest Service career and became a wilderness specialist and key player on several regional and national teams focused on wilderness management. Mike holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Forest Resources from the University of Washington.
Born and raised in northern Nevada, Darcy enjoys car-camping and strolling in wild areas with a camera and Ladybird, her dachshund.
Darcy began as an AmeriCorps volunteer with Friends of Nevada Wilderness in September 2010 after graduating from UNR with degrees in Journalism and Political Science with an emphasis in Environmental Policy. She handles social media, designs and writes the monthly “Stewardship Dispatch,” and serves as the staff videographer in addition to her administrative duties. Her favorite moments with Friends have been interviewing James Curleigh, CEO of KEEN Footwear, and winning the Leave No Trace February 2011 Bigfoot Challenge with her instructional video about dental hygiene in the wilderness (both available on the Friends of Nevada Wilderness YouTube channel).
Nevada's diversity is remarkable and best observed in it's Wilderness. I visit wilderness to fill my spirit; I get lost to find myself.
Jesy, originally from Nothern California, now calls Las Vegas home. She has a B.S. in Psychology from Southern Oregon University and is continuing her education at College of Southern Nevada. It is in the Mojave Desert that her passion for hiking and outdoor exploration took root. A consistent interest in biology (reptiles in particular) guides how she spends her time. She also enjoys exploring flavor combinations as a self-proclaimed "closet cook" where she is able to hone these skills on the various stewardship trips she helps lead throughout the year. Jesy served as a Wilderness Stewardship intern for two years with Friends of Nevada Wilderness before joining the team as our Southern Nevada technician. Her favorite outdoor activities are hiking and observing wildlife in the natural environment.
Protecting wild Nevada is not just a passion...it's a part of my family heritage. My earliest - and best- memories growing up are those spent camping in the back country of Nevada - from catching my first trout, discovering prehistoric ruins, and experiencing the awe of seeing wildlife up close. It is this same sense of wonder and enchantment with Nevada that drives my work at Friends. Where the pavement ends...the west begins!
A third generation Nevadan, Shevawn was born and raised in Las Vegas. She moved to Reno in 2004 to earn her B.A. with a dual major in Anthropology and English. Shevawn joined our team in September 2013 with a varied background of job and volunteer experience - from directing Communications & Media at various non-profit organizations to managing 40+ eCommerce employees. This wide range of experience serves as a perfect pool to draw from when wearing the different hats an Outreach Manager must put on. In her spare time, you can find her exploring a new piece of Nevada, backpacking, or fly fishing the Truckee.
Wilderness is a place that allows me to get in touch with my primeval self, getting down to the basics like “where do I get my food, water etc?” There is just something grand about looking off into the distance where the natural landscape rules and silence prevails. I can’t wait to be one of the few authorities of wilderness in Southern Nevada!
Jose is navigating a new career course after leaving the corporate world (he was branch manager of a bank). He holds a bachelor’s degree in Business Management and is currently working on a master’s degree in Environmental Studies at UNLV. As a Volunteer Wilderness Ranger for Friends, Jose patrolled the South Loop Trail in the Spring Mountains. In January 2011, he joined Friends of Nevada Wilderness staff and is using his background to promote stewardship programs and reach out to the business community. Jose enjoys all sorts of outdoor activities including backpacking, rock climbing, canyoneering and mountaineering.