Board of Directors
- Roger Scholl, State Chair / Founding Board Member
- Hermi Hiatt, Southern Nevada Vice Chair
- Larry Dwyer, Treasurer
- John Hiatt, Issues Chair
- Michelle Napoli, Secretary
- Karen Boeger, Founding Board Member
- Louis Bubala, Board Member
- Tim Buchanan, Board Member
- Roberta Moore, Board Member
- Tom Myers, Board Member
- Eric Roberts, Board Member
- Dan Johnson, Board Member
- In Memory: Marge Sill, Founding Board Member (1924-2016)
- Pat Bruce, Stewardship Program Director (Northern Nevada)
- Chris Cutshaw, Stewardship Coordinator (Northern Nevada)
- Jake Kastner, GIS/Monitoring Coordinator
- Nora Richter, Stewardship Manager (Northern Nevada)
- Kurt Kuznicki, Associate Director
- Chantal Iosso, Springs Monitoring Coordinator
- Rachel Morris, Membership and Outreach Coordinator
- Shaaron Netherton, Executive Director
- Grace Palermo, Southern Nevada Programs Director
- Kirk Peterson, Research Coordinator
- Ralph Phillips, Development Director
- Peter Sbraccia, Southern Nevada Stewardship Coordinator
- Darcy Shepard, Director of Finance and Human Resources
- Mike Rowan, Forest Projects Manager
- Talia Bar Yaacov, AmeriCorps Springs Monitoring Technician
- Tara Blake, AmeriCorps Springs Monitoring Technician
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.
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.
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, myself. 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.
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.
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.
Tim Buchanan, Board Member
Tim brings the unique combination of a life-long passion for Nevada’s wild landscapes and a professional background in corporate social responsibility and sustainability in the global mining industry. Tim has a BS in Mining Engineering from the Colorado School of Mines (1983) and a MS in Water Resource Management from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (1998). Tim worked in the mining industry here and abroad for over 20 years. Most recently, he worked for Barrick from 2001-2017, serving as Senior Adviser/Director of the Energy and Extractives Advisory Services and then as Director of Corporate Social Responsibility. Here, Tim implemented engagement programs with traditionally “non-supportive stakeholders” such as leading environmental and conservation NGOs to build positive relationships. Tim is currently serving as the Public Affairs Administrative Officer for the Office of the Mayor and City Council of Henderson. Tim has served on the Board of Directors of The Nevada Chapter of the Nature Conservancy, The Outside Las Vegas Foundation and the Western Shoshone Scholarship Fund. In accepting his Board nomination Tim noted: “My commitment to Friends of Nevada Wilderness is based upon the organization’s long and successful history of working productively with a spectrum of relevant stakeholders to develop sustainable wilderness protection proposals. Friends' ability to work across ideological, economic and philosophical divides and accomplish its mission is noteworthy in today’s polarized socio-political environment.” Tim joined the Board in 2018.
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.
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 Ph.D. 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.
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.
"Wilderness is not a luxury but a necessity of the human spirit, and as vital to our lives as water and good bread". - Edward Abbey
Dan was born in the foothills of Northern California but has called Reno, Nevada his home for the past decade. As the environmental coordinator for the Patagonia Service Center, he has facilitated thousands of volunteer work hours, many of which were spent with Friends of Nevada Wilderness. His Blue Helmet award for participation in Friends stewardship outings is one of his most prized possessions and commands a place of prestige on his mantle. Through his time in the Patagonia Environmental program, he has also gained insight into the world of environmental philanthropy and is excited to see it through the eyes of the grantee. Dan holds a BA in Secondary Education from the University of Nevada, Reno. In his free time, Dan embraces the seasons. When there is snow he can be found splitboarding in the backcountry around Reno. When there is sun he is most likely found knee-deep in a mountain stream casting flies to elusive trout. When there is rain he is out working in his backyard garden, and when the first frosts of fall come, he is hiking through the hills of Nevada searching for chukar and quail. Dan is elated to serve on the board of Friends of Nevada Wilderness and to help fight to keep Nevada's public lands wild. He was elected to the board in February of 2021.
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 Sill, founding board member and full-time volunteer conservationist, was a driving force behind Friends of Nevada Wilderness. 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 was and will remain to be an inspiration for several generations of wilderness advocates. We will miss you, Marge!
To contact our staff individually, please see our contact us page.
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.
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.
"To those devoid of imagination a blank place on the map is a useless waste; to others, the most valuable part.” – Aldo Leopold
Chris grew up in Arizona and attended Northern Arizona University where he received a Bachelor’s of Science in Forestry. After graduation, he moved to Nevada where he fell in love with the sweeping valleys and wild nature of the Great Basin. Chris began with Friends of Nevada Wilderness as an Americorps volunteer for our Stewardship Department in 2015. He is excited about the opportunity to officially join the ranks of Friends of Nevada Wilderness and work to protect and improve public lands. When he’s not working, you’ll find Chris rock climbing, birding, backpacking, skiing, making fermented foods, playing mandolin, or exploring.
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.
I fell in love with Nevada on the Tahoe Rim Trail, so I’m thrilled that my path has brought me back to protect the life-giving waters of this great state.
Chantal is passionate about protecting water resources, both as a recreator and scientist. While obtaining a bachelor’s degree in geology and environmental studies at Washington and Lee University, she worked with various conservation and governmental organizations to study the water quality of springs and rivers throughout Appalachian Virginia. She is excited to join Friends of Nevada Wilderness to monitor and protect spring health in a much more water-scarce environment! At the end of the day, you can find her paddleboarding on the nearest water body, hiking, or painting.
One touch of nature makes the whole world kin. – William Shakespeare
Rachel is excited to use her skill set to advocate, build support, and strengthen ties to Friends of Nevada Wilderness. In 2018 her family relocated from San Francisco to Las Vegas where she worked as a substitute teacher and fundraised for the Las Vegas Philharmonic. Her entire family immediately fell in love with the vast open spaces and the beauty of wild Nevada. Rachel received her degree in Theatre Arts and has spent the last fifteen years of her career fundraising for large nonprofit performing arts organizations. Rachel enjoys hiking, skiing and camping with her husband and two kids and she also is an active volunteer with her daughter’s Girl Scout troop. When she is not at work you can find her walking her dog, working in her garden, or quietly drinking coffee in the sunshine.
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 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.
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.
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. Over the past several years he has been collecting data on Nevada's dark skies, assisting the Forest Service with Wilderness Character Monitoring, and acting as the organization's Wilderness Historian.
Ralph Phillips, Director of Development
“Something will have gone out of us as a people if we ever let the remaining wilderness be destroyed.”
Wallace Stegner. “Wilderness Letter” 1960
Ralph loves the canyons and rivers, mountains and deserts -- the places we cherish, the places that make us who we are. A lifelong adventurer, Ralph’s career includes seven seasons as a National Park Service ranger, including five as a backcountry river ranger and many years as a whitewater rafting guide in Colorado, Utah, Idaho, Oregon, and California. His career spans three decades, raising funds for American Rivers, the University of Nevada, Reno, The Nature Conservancy, the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation and a number of other higher education institutions and two college preparatory schools whose focus was outdoor and experiential education. Ralph is an avid skier, hiker and backpacker and lives in Reno with his wife and son.
Peter Sbraccia has lived on both coasts, but for him nothing beats Southern Nevada. Peter completed 3 hitches of AmeriCorps service with Friends of Nevada Wilderness while earning his bachelor’s degree in Earth and Environmental Science at UNLV before joining the staff in 2019. As Southern Nevada Wilderness Stewardship Coordinator, Peter works with our dedicated volunteers and each of the Federal Land Management Agencies to facilitate service projects on Public Lands in Southern Nevada. When he’s not in the office or in the field on an overnight service project, you might find Peter in his garden, running along a wash, or planning the next stewardship trip.
“Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.” – The Lorax by Dr. Seuss
Darcy assumed the position of Administrative Director in 2011 after serving a year as an AmeriCorps volunteer with Friends of Nevada Wilderness, and was promoted to Director of Finance and Human Resources after successfully overseeing the organization’s first audit in 2013. Darcy graduated with a Bachelor’s from University of Nevada, Reno after studying Journalism and Political Science in 2010, and was certified in UNR’s Excellence in Nonprofit Management Institute in 2014.
Her passion for public lands and paper trails fosters a stable organization where people are encouraged to do their best work. During her tenure, the organization’s workforce and finances have seen stable, strategic growth, including a doubling of the organizational budget from 2011 to 2021. Her background in media arts inspired her to start the organization’s Twitter, YouTube, and Instagram accounts, which she continues to steward over ten years later as a member of the Communications Team. Her favorite moment with Friends was winning the Leave No Trace February 2011 Bigfoot Challenge with an instructional video about dental hygiene in the Wilderness (available on the Friends of Nevada Wilderness YouTube channel). Additionally, Darcy served as Treasurer of the National Wilderness Stewardship Alliance from 2013-2018, overseeing the NWSA’s financial health and the addition of annual six-figure granting agreements with the Forest Service. Born and raised in northern Nevada, in her free time Darcy enjoys birdwatching and stargazing with her daughter Kestrel.
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.
Tali was born and raised in New Jersey, and she just graduated from Occidental College in Los Angeles with a degree in Geology. While at school, she fell in love with the landscape of the Mojave Desert and is excited to put her skills to use in the preservation of our precious natural water resources. When not at work, you can find her hiking, camping, or watching baking shows.
Tara hails from Columbus, Ohio and is excited to be working in Southern Nevada after a two-year stint with the Peace Corps doing agroforestry work in Senegal. Having never lived in the West, she is excited to learn about the unique ecology of Clark County and explore all that the region has to offer!