Joshua Tree National Park Association

Board of Directors

about

Executive Board

Erin Golden Adams

President

Erin Golden Adams grew up in central Pennsylvania along the Appalachian Mountains where she first fell in love with public lands.  She spend her college years in Washington state, spending her free time rock climbing, hiking, and as a wildland firefighter.  After earning her degree in Biology, she began her career as the Director of the Desert Institute at JTNP in 2004.  In the past 15 years, Erin has worked for the Department of the Navy all over the world in the fields of natural resource management, cultural resources, environmental science, and most recently in government affairs.  She is currently the Director of Government and External Affairs at the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center in Twentynine Palms.  In her free time, she enjoys rock climbing, hiking, overlanding, and cooking.

Joe Zarki

VICE PRESIDENT

Originally from Maryland, Joe Zarki retired in 2013 after a 38-year career as a National Park Service ranger he had stints at Death Valley, Denali, Tuzigoot National Monument, Yellowstone, and he served as Chief of Interpretation at Badlands National Park and at Joshua Tree (1995-2013). Joe was very active in fostering curriculum-based education in the parks and was a co-creator of the Expedition: Yellowstone! residential environmental education program. In 1999, he obtained a grant that led to the creation of the Desert Institute at Joshua Tree National Park. Since retirement, Joe has authored a number of publications including the popular history, Images of America, Joshua Tree National Park. Long active in citizen activities, Joe coordinates Christmas Bird Counts at Joshua Tree National Park and Morongo Valley. Together with his wife Marilyn Lutz, he helps organize butterfly counts at Joshua Tree National Park and at Big Bear Lake. Joe volunteers as a bird walk leader at the Big Morongo Canyon Preserve and also plays guitar with a local band, Nobody’s Station.

Bob Zimmerman

TREASURER

Bob Zimmerman retired from the practice of law in Chicago in early 2011. He lives in both Palm Springs and the Chicago metro area, although he is emphatically not a snowbird: he’ll be in Chicago in January and sometimes be in the desert in August. He is an active volunteer with Wildlands Conservancy and with the Desert Institute of the Association, and is a volunteer and a former member of the Board and immediate past President of Mojave Desert Land Trust. He and his children have been visiting Joshua Tree National Park since the mid-1980’s, during its “national monument” days, and considers the Park one of his family’s special places. He appreciates the opportunity to work with the Association in enhancing the experience of visitors to the Park.

Laraine Turk

SECRETARY

Laraine has been a nature lover since growing up near Cleveland, Ohio, and is grateful to her parents for instilling that appreciation. After a 29-year career managing student services departments in several California colleges and universities, Laraine spent her final 5 working years at Copper Mountain College in Joshua Tree. In her retirement she eagerly began to volunteer in the service of conservation and the environment in the desert. Among her organizational commitments have been the California Desert Coalition, Morongo Basin Conservation Association, Morongo Basin Dark Sky Alliance, Morongo Basin Open Space Group, the County’s 2nd District Night Sky Committee, and the Joshua Tree National Conservation Historic Reserve citizens’ group. Laraine is honored to be part of the Association and feels that its work is contributing to the long-term conservation of our very threatened desert environment.

Directors

Bill Truesdell

Current Board member Bill Truesdell is a retired National Park Service employee. Beginning in 1962, his NPS career included assignments in Shenandoah, Everglades, Virgin Islands, Dinosaur, Denali, and Joshua Tree, where he retired from the position of Chief Interpreter in 1994. After retirement he continued to be involved with Park activities as a volunteer, instructing Elderhostel classes, guiding Field Institute classes, and later Desert Institute classes in the Park. About 2005 he was invited to join the Board of Directors of the Park Association.

Linda Castro

Linda Castro started with the California Wilderness Coalition (CalWild) in 2014, working on the Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan (DRECP). Her role then expanded to Desert Organizer, and she now serves as their Assistant Policy Director. She works on state-wide issues related to public lands, but the desert remains her primary focus. Based in Southern California, Linda was a military “brat” who lived in Europe and South America for a significant portion of her childhood before arriving in Texas. She obtained her Bachelors’ degree from Trinity University in San Antonio, and then moved to California and obtained her Juris Doctor degree from Whittier Law School. She practiced law for years before making the move to the conservation field. Linda lives with her family and is an avid tent camper, backpacker, and hiker. She also volunteers her time with, and serves on the Board of a Santa Clarita-based non-profit that works to protect and restore wild places and rivers in Southern California.

Sarah Bliss

Sarah Bliss is the Cultural Resources Manager for the Twenty-Nine Palms Band of Mission Indians. Working in the Tribal Historic Preservation Office, she aims to protect and preserve sites, structures, and districts that are within the ancestral territory of the Chemehuevi. While a California native, she has conducted archaeological fieldwork in Ireland and Japan but has always been drawn to the California Desert. From conducting archaeological excavations in the southwest, surveys with the NPS in northern California, working at a local science museum, to working for the Twenty-Nine Palms Band of Mission Indians has enabled her to receive an array of skills both in the world of cultural resource management, but also with education and outreach.

Brendan Cummings

Brendan Cummings joined the Center for Biological Diversity in 1998, where he currently serves as Conservation Director. A graduate of Berkeley’s Boalt Hall School of Law, Brendan has litigated dozens of Endangered Species Act cases, as well as cases under the Marine Mammal Protection Act, Clean Water Act, and numerous other state and federal statutes. Prior to working for the Center, Brendan was in private practice specializing in environmental and civil-rights litigation.

Dr. Pamela Kersey

Growing up in northwest Ohio, Pam enjoyed hiking and jogging through the area’s tree-filled metro parks. She moved to California in her late 20s and immediately fell in love with the diverse landscape of the Golden State. She has enjoyed hiking and backpacking in the Sierra and the deserts. She also took sailing lessons in San Diego. She started her nursing career at the age of 20, eventually becoming a nursing professor. After completing a doctoral degree in educational leadership, she moved into college administration as a dean for about seven years before retiring. She has enjoyed a variety of experiences during her careers in healthcare and education. Pam has also been an active volunteer for many years including archeology site stewardship, camp nursing, and field classes. She also teaches field classes for several local organizations. She and her husband maintained a second home in Yucca Valley while living and working in the San Diego area. They love the desert and Joshua Tree area so much that they decided to move here full-time when they retired in 2021.

Shai Grabie

Shai is a seasoned economist, M&A professional, and passionate traveler with a desire to make a difference. Armed with his diverse skillset, Shai is determined to contribute to preserving and growing one of the nation’s most cherished gems, Joshua Tree National Park. Alongside his professional achievements, Shai is also an aspiring published author, eager to share his unique experiences and insights with the world. Despite the formal attire captured in his photo, Shai’s heart truly belongs to the great outdoors, where he finds solace and inspiration.

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