ABOUT OUR TEAM
President of the Board and Executive Director
April hails from Pioneertown, California, where her ancestors were homesteaders. In addition to co-founding the California Desert Coalition, she’s worked in resource and fire management with the National Park Service at Joshua Tree National Park and Point Reyes National Seashore, and as Preserve Manager for The Wildlands Conservancy (TWC) Pioneertown Mountains and Mission Creek preserves. April later became Conservation Director for TWC, working with local, state, and federal entities to advocate for additional conservation designations and responsible energy development in the Desert, including the California Desert Protection Acts of 2010, 2011, and 2014.
In 2015 she left TWC to consult full time on organizing and advocacy strategy for the Sand to Snow, Mojave Trails, and Castle Mountains national monuments effort.
April has a BS in Biology from Humboldt State University, served as Chair of the Bureau of Land Management Desert Advisory Council, and sits on multiple boards and open space and conservation committees. She currently resides in June Lake, California, is an avid hiker, enjoys outdoor recreation and exploration, and returns to the desert often.
Board Member and Secretary
Claudia co-founded the California Desert Coalition along with her daughter, April. Born and raised in the Morongo Basin, Claudia has been active in the community and in defense of the desert landscape for decades. She served as a member of the local volunteer fire department; as president, vice president, secretary, and director of Pioneertown Property Association; chaired ad-hoc citizen committee that developed the draft water management plan for local sub-basins; facilitated the re-institution of conservation zoning during 1990 county general plan; led the effort to redirect the water pipeline to Pioneertown Road; and served as Events Director for the Morongo Basin Conservation Association.
Claudia is passionate about linking land use to available natural resources, conservation of critical lands for ecosystem connectivity, appropriate renewable energy planning and community choice aggregation, and water wise policy. She treasures the desert’s natural, unobstructed, undeveloped viewscapes, wildlife, variety of plant life, and great hiking in the nearby preserves and protected public lands.
Dave is also a founding member of the California Desert Coalition. Dave has been a pioneer in development communications and television programming. He co-designed and created the first worldwide children’s television series, The Big Blue Marble. This Emmy Award-winning series and Dave’s educational productions developed as part of the program received the George Foster Peabody Award. Now retired, Dave served or is currently serving on the boards of directors for several non-profits, including The Mojave Desert Land Trust, Friends of Pioneertown, Friends of Big Morongo Canyon Preserve, and of course the California Desert Coalition, which he also helped found.
Since childhood Dave’s interest in, dedication to, and love for the deserts of California has been layered into several carriers and countless products.
A true champion for the gifts of the deserts, he has been instrumental in developing and curating the story of the California Desert Coalition and its historic work.
Board Member and Treasurer
Richard has been captivated by the California desert since he first set foot in Joshua Tree National Park and has continued his devotion through years of roaming the unspoiled public lands in the area. He has spent years actively defending the desert environment, and in 2015 helped convince the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors to reverse approval of an industrial solar site in Landers, California that would have razed the landscape. Formerly a partner in an international law firm, Richard now devotes his practice exclusively to mediating disputes. He is part of multiple professional associations and mediation panels, including the Association of Environmental Professionals, and has served as a member of the Municipal Advisory Council of the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors.
A native of Joshua Tree, California, Frazier has been working to protect natural landscapes and people’s access to the outdoors for over 15 years, most recently as Executive Director of The Wildlands Conservancy based in Oak Glen, California. He grew up hiking, climbing, and camping in the California desert and the Midwest – a privilege that left him with a deep love of the outdoors. He holds a BS in Ecology and Evolution from UC Santa Cruz and an MBA from the UC Riverside. Frazier brings unparalleled expertise in land use policy and advocacy. He has testified before Congress on behalf of California desert conservation and successfully collaborated with decision makers in the Department of Interior. He volunteers for the California Desert Coalition and serves as the Environment representative on the Bureau of Land Management Desert Advisory Council (DAC).
Frazier shares his love of the desert and the outdoors with his wife Jamie – a Pacific Crest Trail through-hiker – and his beautiful kids Lily and Owen.
Yanina Aldao Galvan
Yanina Aldao Galvan was born in Santa Fe, Argentina on her family’s cattle ranch. She started her career in Agriculture Science and came to the U.S. in 2007 as part of an exchange program. She spent the next seven years between Washington D.C and Philadelphia studying Ecotourism and Recreation and Parks Management, then worked as an Outdoor School Instructor for REI Inc. In 2013 she started the Pacific Crest Trail and fell in love with California’s scenic, natural, and cultural resources, became passionate about their protection, and never left.
She moved to Joshua Tree in 2015, and worked as a Land Steward for the Mojave Desert Land Trust. Now, she is pursuing a career in plant ecology at UC Riverside. Yani also serves on the Joshua Tree National Park Advisory Board focusing on increasing diversity and inclusion and, having sworn her oath as an American citizen in 2018, works at Joshua Tree National Park as a Natural Resource Intern. Yani is the first ever Minerva Hoyt Intern.