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The Council at JTNPA


About Us

Rainbow over Joshua trees

Rainbow over Joshua trees | Photo by NPS/Renata Harrison | Public Domain | Source

The Council at JTNPA

The Council is made up of representatives from different, traditionally underserved populations who have come to the table to engage in a conversation on diversity, inclusion, and equity in the park and on surrounding public lands. We use the voices of The Council to guide us in our organization's planning and offerings, for everything from Desert Institute to Membership to Outreach programs. Our belief is that by doing so, we will make a positive impact not only on our organization, but on the communities we serve as well.

Blanca S Villalobos

Blanca S Villalobos


Blanca is a queer proud daughter of immigrants with roots in the Sierra Madre Occidental of México (Cora, Nahuatl & Huichol). Her work as an interdisciplinary artist braids themes such as identity, folklore and healing modalities. She has been awarded residencies with Caldera Arts, Signal Fire, The Living School of Art and Residency in the Garden. Her integration of community organizing & art making has been supported through grants and fellowships by the Precipice Fund and Epicenter. While living on Multnomah territory, Villalobos taught bilingual anti-oppression curriculum to Latinx youth and their families in order to prevent gender-based violence, organized transit justice efforts with an environmental organization and founded a queer Latinx collective dedicated to community healing through arts and activism.  After an 8 year cycle in the Pacific Northwest, Villalobos returned to Southern California in 2018 to give back to the land and people that raised her. She now works between the Mojave and Sonoran deserts and is currently based in her hometown of the San Gorgonio Pass (Serrano & Cahuilla). She runs a diy artist residency from her home, facilitates dream workshops, guides backcountry trips for artist/activists and enjoys making ceviche for loved ones. You can follow her community work & practice at www.huixolita.com.

Pronouns: She, They

Brandy Dyess

Brandy Dyess


With over twenty years of professional experience in academia, grantmaking, financial forecasting, and fund management, Brandy Dyess joined the Mojave Desert Land Trust as the development coordinator in 2017. She relocated to the desert fulltime in August 2016. Prior to moving to Joshua Tree, Brandy worked as the administrative director at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts Department of Photography & Imaging, as the budget and operations manager at the College of Arts and Science, New York University, as a grants analyst for The California Endowment, in development at Otis College of Art and Design, and in the ABC Entertainment finance division of The Walt Disney Company. She holds a Bachelor of Arts from Northwestern University and a certificate in fundraising from UCLA. Brandy is an artist --- active in photography, stained glass, and most recently ceramics.

Christine Tamara

Christine Tamara


Christine graduated with her B.A in Modern Languages from Vanguard University of Southern California.  She taught Secondary beginning, intermediate, and advanced Spanish in Huntington Beach for seven years. She strongly believes in using her voice for the common good of the community. In 2018 she joined Hispanic Access Foundation. Christine took on the role as Southern California Project Coordinator, expanding their Inland Empire network and cultivating relationships with elected officials in order to advocate for public lands and natural resources in San Bernardino County.

Yanina Aldao Galvan

Yanina Aldao Galvan


Yanina Aldao Galvan was born in Santa Fe, Argentina on a cattle ranch owned by her father’s family. She moved to the city of Cordoba with her mother and brother at the age of 5. In Cordoba, she pursued a career in Agriculture Science following in the footsteps of her father’s family. In 2007 she came to the USA as part of a cultural exchange program and spent the next 7 years in Washington D.C where she studied Ecotourism, and in Philadelphia where she worked as an Outdoor School Instructor for REI Inc. In 2013 she embarked on the Pacific Crest Trail, during which time she fell in love with California’s scenic, natural, and cultural resources and became passionate about protecting such beauty In the years since that time, Yanina has worked as an Intern for Organic Farms and a volunteer for the Owens Valley Growers Cooperative in Inyo County. After moving to Joshua Tree in 2015, she worked as a Land Steward for the Mojave Desert Land Trust and now is a full time student at Copper Mountain College. She is the first recipient of the Minerva Hoyt Internship, which has allowed her to devote a full semester of work studying the ecology of various species in Joshua Tree National Park. In 2019 Yanina was excited to swear her oath as a naturalized American citizen.

Macy J Ring

Macy J Ring


Macy has been visiting the Hi-Desert since 2005. It was in 2018, she realized she wanted to be more than just a visitor and bought her first home in Yucca Valley. Macy not only invested in a financial dream, but in a unique community, who she believes, will save the world, or at least, will be role models on how to do so. She periodically volunteers with the Mojave Desert Land Trust (MDLT) and is very honored to be part of the new cultural advisory group, The Council at the Joshua Tree National Park Association (JTNPA).

During the week, Macy is an education abroad advisor at the University of California in Riverside (UCR). She enjoys hiking, camping, traveling, and creating art and listening to records in her “zen den.” Follow her adventures on IG @maceventuralifedetective.

Pronouns: She, Her, Hers

Gabriela Moreno

Gabriela Moreno


Gabriela Moreno aka Gabaccia is a conscious creative storyteller with a passion for responsible outdoor recreation and tourism. She holds a B.A. in Theater and Anthropology from SUNY College at Buffalo and an M.A. in Performance Studies from New York University. Having grown up in Veracruz, Mexico to a family of hunters and ranchers gave her an appreciation for the land and its wildlife at an early age. Her works, whether artistic, creative, or entrepreneurial, have always intersected with the social and environmental issues that surround her. Today you’ll find her living life on the road with her partner Roberto, exploring responsibly, and documenting the world through video and photography. You can connect with her in real-time on Instagram @gabaccia.

Terrysa Guerra

Terrysa Guerra


Terrysa Guerra serves as United for Respect’s National Political Director advocating for people who work in low wage jobs by connecting them directly to policymakers. Originally from Texas, Terrysa grew up in a farming community along the Texas/Mexico border and received her BA in political science from Texas A&M University. She has over 14 years of advocacy and political organizing experience through national non profits and political and policy campaigns. When Terrysa isn’t crisscrossing the nation for her advocacy work, she enjoys desert hikes with her pup, plant care and cooking Mexican cuisine.