Friends of Gold Butte is governed by a passionate Board of Directors and managed by a small but effective staff.

Board of Directors

Karen Adams is an avid adventurer and naturalist. Karen is a Ranger for the National Park Service, and also volunteers as a Park Guide and Naturalist at Cedar Breaks National Monument, Gold Butte National Monument, Red Rock National Conservation Area and Sloan Canyon National Conservation Area. When not volunteering, she spends her time camping and hiking in and around the National Parks. Karen is committed to participating in efforts to protect and conserve Gold Butte.

Jim Boone is an avid outdoorsman. Jim camped and backpacked throughout the western US with family and did month-long summer backpacking trips with friends when 15 and 16 years old. Jim worked a dozen seasons in western National Parks, and with his wife Liz, attended Humboldt State University (B.S. in Wildlife Management, 1987) and the University of Georgia (M.S. in Forest Resources; Ph.D. in Ecology, 1995). Jim’s dissertation involved the morphology and genetics of rapid evolution in field mice, which required months of time hiking and camping in southeastern hardwood swamps. Arriving in Las Vegas in 1995, Jim did ecological research on the Nevada Test Site, spending 11 years with the Yucca Mountain Nuclear Waste Project. In 2002, he began building BirdAndHike.com, a website that helps people to find peace and solitude in wild places and thereby gains public support for protecting these places for future generations. In 2006 Jim started an environmental consulting company primarily engaged in desert tortoise surveys and enforcing environmental laws on construction sites. Now retired, Jim and Liz hike, camp, watch birds, work on the website, and agitate for land conservation issues.

Theo Anne Byrns is a long- time resident of Southern Nevada; her family moved here in 1966.  She is a retired (as of June 30, 2017) professor of the College of Southern Nevada.   She was the founding chair of the World Language Department and is retiring from that department.  She also worked as a Director, Dean, and Academic Vice-President.  She has been active in community service having served on the Board of the Friends of Nevada Wilderness, Chair of the North Las Vegas Salvation Army Advisory Board, and Chair of the Winchester Advisory Board as well as others.  She has traveled to many places, gone scuba diving in some, and explored and hiked in others.  She first learned of Gold Butte several years ago when serving on the Friends of Nevada Wilderness Board and has since gone hiking there.  With her retirement, she looks forward to working on conserving Gold Butte and on being an active participant on the Board.

Steve Dudrow and his wife Gwen selected Mesquite as their final retirement location with the expectation that Gold Butte would be named a National Monument where they could volunteer. Steve retired after a thirty-year career from Avaya, Inc. in 2001 as an enterprise software architect. Since retiring in 2001, he has devoted himself to supporting non-profits, assisting startups, county election boards, volunteering for our public lands, and enjoying every second of life out west.

As a National Association of Interpretation certified guide, he has been assigned as resident volunteer for the National Park Service at Chiricahua National Monument and United States Fish and Wildlife Service at Ash Meadows National Wildlife Refuge. Besides volunteering at and enjoying Gold Butte, Steve spends his time now as a site steward for Nevada State Historic Preservation Office and partnering with his wife traveling for their photography business, Desert Adventures Photography. Gwen and Steve have two sons: a photographer in Grand Junction, Colorado, and the youngest, an author living in Nevada. Steve serves as the Treasurer of the Board.

Geoffrey Frasz is a soon to be retired Professor of Philosophy at the College of Southern Nevada in Las Vegas. His area of specialty is environmental philosophy reflecting his lifelong interest in the natural world. A long time cave explorer, canoeist, hiker and camper, he first discovered Gold Butte when he arrived in southern Nevada in 1991 from Back East. Since then he has explored the Gold Butte area and is committed to its protection and enjoyment by all people. He enjoys leading trips for new people to discover the wonder of the area and looks forward to finding new special spots in Gold Butte. With his upcoming retirement he looks forward to more trips up from Vegas during the week.

Chanelle Pickens‘ idea of “outdoorsy” is sipping a glass of sweet tea on the porch on a spring afternoon. As one could imagine, her family and friends were very amused when she announced she’d be spending her time volunteering with the Friends of Gold Butte. While she may not be an accomplished hiker (yet!), Chanelle has a healthy appreciation for our wild places and genuine love for her adopted home state of Nevada.

Chanelle earned a Master’s in Library & Information Science, with an Archives & Records Management focus, from San Jose State University in 2014 and a B.S. in Communications from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville in 2004. She is a certified archivist and yoga instructor. Chanelle is always interested in learning more about the people and places around her and excited to bring her expertise in information centers and community building to the Friends of Gold Butte.

Terri Rylander is a freelance marketing communication and web consultant with a passion for conservation—protecting our natural and historical resources or future generations. Having grown up in the Pacific Northwest, she finds everything about the desert, and Gold Butte, fascinating as well as precious. She enjoys getting outdoors, filling all five senses with nature, through hiking and photography. Terri is fortunate to have a career that is flexible and allows her to spend time both in Mesquite, Nevada and Redmond, Washington. She does much of the communication for Friends of Gold Butte, including the website, Facebook, Twitter, and the email newsletter, and looks forward to the day when Gold Butte receives its National Conservation Area with Wilderness designation. Terri serves as the Vice President of the Board.

 Klaus Schmitt was born and raised in Rimbach, Germany, a small town in the Odenwald Hills near Heidelberg. Nature was close to him there and his love for the outdoors was formed in that environment. After graduating from high school he had the opportunity to start his higher education at St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota, where he majored in Mathematics and Physics. Subsequently he did graduate work in Mathematics at the University of Nebraska, where he obtained his Ph.D. in 1967. He then started his academic career in teaching, research, and administration at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City, where he retired, as Professor Emeritus, in 2010. His academic career also made it possible for him to extensively travel the world serving as a visiting Professor or Researcher at many Universities across the World. He is an avid outdoors man and he has very much enjoyed skiing, snow shoeing, hiking, and backpacking in the mountains and canyons of the West. His other leisure activities include playing tennis, much reading, and listening to good music. He is married to Claudia, a Southern California girl; three years ago they decided to leave winters behind and resettled in Mesquite, Nevada. They are the proud parents of children who live in California, Colorado, Oregon, and Washington. Klaus serves as the President of the Board.

Staff

Executive Director
Jaina Moan has over fifteen years of experience working in a broad range of environmental fields and six years of experience in non-profit administration. She joined Friends of Gold Butte as Executive Director in 2015, an excellent fit to her passion for conservation and experience with environmental science and non-profit management. Jaina moved to Las Vegas, Nevada from Flagstaff, Arizona where she had previously worked as an Executive Assistant to the Director and Human Resources Manager for the Museum of Northern Arizona. Before her time at the Museum, Jaina worked for two years as a Program Manager for the Coconino County Sustainable Economic Development Initiative where she coordinated the activities of sustainability-focused programs, from green business and workforce development to renewable energy and regional food systems. Prior to her non-profit career, Jaina worked for six years as a Research Specialist at the Colorado Plateau Analytical Lab, an environmental chemistry laboratory located at Northern Arizona University. Jaina holds a Master’s in Public Administration and a Bachelor’s of Science in Chemistry and Biology from Northern Arizona University. She loves to explore wilderness on foot and is passionate about land conservation.

Outings and Outreach Coordinator
Brenda Slocumb has lived most of her life in southern Nevada, growing up in Boulder City and currently residing in the Moapa Valley. Brenda spent 18 years with the University of Nevada Cooperative Extension in both the Animal Science department and the 4-H Youth Development Program. Her focus was on volunteer and club management as well as education in informal settings. She facilitated meetings and assisted volunteers in organization of projects, camps, fairs, leadership events and trainings. Brenda is an avid horsewoman and competes in barrel racing. She also enjoys team roping, training young horses and trail riding.  She enjoys spending time outdoors, whether it be camping, hiking, or gardening and believes Southern Nevada is a valuable resource that should be enjoyed by all and preserved for future generations.

Community Outreach Manager
Justin van Wijk has spent the last four years in environmental conservation right here in Nevada with the Great Basin Institute, Friends of Nevada Wilderness and now Friends of Gold Butte. He has spent hundreds of days camping in the field on stewardship projects across Nevada. From projects near Laughlin to Jarbidge, from Tahoe to Great Basin National Park, he has been to the far reaches of this state and to many, many places in between, and he would be glad to tell you about each and every one of them. Currently, Justin is excited to focus on the protection and conservation of the much deserving Gold Butte National Monument.

Justin has a Bachelor’s of Science in Communication from Arizona State University and enjoys nature videography, especially when his videos can call attention to the crucial need for public lands protection. If you are interested in exploring, hiking or volunteering in Gold Butte, then he is prepared to get you setup and ready in any way possible. Justin now lives close by in Mesquite, NV and is delighted to meet each and everyone of the Friends of Gold Butte.

Marketing Coordinator
Tierney Torchin was born and raised in Nevada. While earning her Bachelors in Communications at Rollins College, she discovered her passion for nonprofits and education. She interned at Orlando Science Center before spending two years at a small radio station. She also advocated for Disability Services on campus and did pro-bono marketing for a sustainable farming company as well as for a company that provides people with affordable senior living. Now back in Las Vegas, she wants to turn her passion towards the animals and nature that she calls home. In her free time, she spends time with her growing array of animals while becoming ingrained in Las Vegas’ nonprofit arts & theatre communities.

We are always looking for additional volunteers to help lead hikes, share information about Gold Butte at community events, help with desert restoration projects, and more. If you’d be interested in being on the volunteer list, please drop us an email at: friendsofgoldbutte@gmail.com