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Local Conservation Nonprofit Friends of the Inyo Boasts New Professional Talent on its Board of Directors

Local Conservation Nonprofit Friends of the Inyo Boasts New Professional Talent on its Board of Directors

Friends of the Inyo would like to acknowledge two new additions to its Board of Directors:

  • Kyle Hamada, a former employee of Friends of the Inyo, who currently works as an advertising professional and lives in Torrance; and
  • Gregg Vane, a retired scientist and resident of Mammoth Lakes.

Born in the Los Angeles area, Hamada grew up visiting the Eastern Sierra every winter and summer. He studied Environmental Science and Policy at Cal State University Long Beach, with a focus on issues affecting the California Desert. During his time in school, Hamada developed a deep appreciation for the lands in and surrounding the Eastern Sierra. He worked as an intern with the Barstow and Ridgecrest BLM field offices as a wilderness surveyor and as a route surveyor in the western Mojave Desert. Meanwhile, his years of experience in photography, videography, and digital media led him to work as a producer in the advertising industry. He later moved to Bishop, where he held the position of Communications Director at Friends of the Inyo from 2018 to 2021. Hamada has since returned to the Los Angeles area where he works as a producer. He aims to leverage his range of experience and knowledge to help FOI achieve its mission. Hamada and his wife often visit the Eastern Sierra to climb, hike, and enjoy their favorite places.

Vane came to California in August 1971 to attend graduate school at the UCLA Institute of Geophysics and Planetary Physics. On his first weekend at UCLA, he says, his new friends took him to the summit of Mt. Whitney. Later they took him cross-country skiing in the Lake Mary Basin. He was hooked on the Eastern Sierra and the Inyo National Forest in those first few months, and remains hooked to this day, even after having lived in Antarctica, Chile, and Argentina, and having traveled to mountainous regions in Asia and Europe. He says the time spent elsewhere has convinced him that there are many unique aspects of the Eastern Sierra region that make it worthy of our efforts to protect it. After UCLA, Vane was hired by the Jet Propulsion Lab where he met his future wife. She was already a backpacker and cross-country skier in the Sierra. It was natural that when they started a family the frequent summer backpacking trips into the Sierra continued even after they had a son, followed by twins three years later. It should come as no surprise, he says, that the Vanes’ adult children are passionate about the Eastern Sierra region, too. All of them helped build the family home in Mammoth, Vane said, where most of them vote.

“As an accomplished scientist, Gregg will bring valuable expertise to board governance and decision-making as Friends of the Inyo addresses important environmental issues facing the lands of the Eastern Sierra,” FOI Executive Director Wendy Schneider said of Vane.

“Meanwhile, Kyle,” she said of Hamada, “not only has an understanding of the ecosystem issues that face our working area, but brings valuable marketing and communications expertise and, as an important bonus, he takes really beautiful photographs. All of these things are really valuable to our campaigns.”

The public will have an opportunity to meet Hamada, Vane, Schneider, and other Friends of the Inyo Board and Staff members this Earth Day Weekend and through the end of the month, at the Owens Lake Bird Festival, which FOI is hosting in Lone Pine Friday evening through Sunday noon April 21 – 23, and at various other Earth Day celebrations taking place in Bishop, Big Pine and Lone Pine.

For more information about Friends of the Inyo, which has been working to protect and care for the public lands of the Eastern Sierra since 1986, please visit

(From Friends of the Inyo)

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