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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.

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.

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 External Link .

Neftali Galarza

Neftali Galarza


Neftali Galarza is a proud Coachella Valley native, having grown up in Oasis, a small agricultural - unincorporated community of Riverside County located on the edge of the Salton Sea. He earned his Bachelor of Art's degree in Political Science with a minor in Labor Studies from the University of California, Riverside in 2016. Neftali Galarza currently residents in Salton City, an unincorporated community of Imperial County where he is a member of the West Shores Chamber of Commerce.

Neftali Galarza serves as a Trustee for the Coachella Valley Unified School District, representing a multicounty area, Including Oasis of Riverside County and West Shores communities that include Desert Shores, Salton Sea Beach, Vista Del Mar and Salton City of Imperial County. As a Trustee, Neftali sits on the District English Learner Advisory Committee, Head Start Committee, and CVUSD Foundation.

Neftali currently works for the California Alliance for Renewable Energy Solutions as the Director of Community Outreach. In his role, he assists in bridging eastern Coachella Valley and Inland Empire nonprofits, elected officials and community advocates with renewable energy policy and projects.

Previous roles include Program Coordinator for the Council of Mexican Federations (COFEM) and Regional Organizer for the Southwest Voter Registration Education Project (SVREP.)

Sarah Bliss

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.

Monique Allen

Monique Allen


Monique Allen, BA, is an American Sign Language Interpreter and Instructor with over 14 years experience. She has also worked with children and adults with special needs for over 17 years. With a background of heavy involvement in local Chambers, Rotary Clubs, community coalition meetings, and foster youth programs, Monique is an active supporter in her various communities, assisting in promoting communication through sign.

Denise Vasquez

Denise Vasquez


Denise Vasquez is a Puerto Rican, Disabled Photographer, Writer and Artist born and raised in New York City. Denise left home at the age of seventeen and has been traveling the world since. Having lived in Scotland, London, The USVI and California, her experiences have led her to share her journey through music, writing, art & photography.