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Minerva Hoyt California Desert Conservation Award

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Minerva Hoyt Mural

Minerva Hoyt Mural | Photo by NPS/Robb Hannawacker | Public Domain | Source

The 2022 Minerva Hoyt California Desert Conservation Award Recipient

Idavid Graficks

Idavid Graficks

Idavid Graficks, a renowned Fine Art Screen Printing Studio founded by David Fick and the late Ida Foreman Fick, has been an invaluable part of the Joshua Tree community for over a quarter century. As a hub for artistic creativity, they have collaborated with various artists over the past thirty years, bringing their passion and expertise to the screen printing medium.

The studio has been instrumental in preserving the natural beauty of Joshua Tree through active community engagement and advocacy. The journey of community activism began when a bullet came through their studio window in 1987, leading to the formation of the Joshua Tree/Wonder Valley network. This network later evolved into the Political Action Committee group "Desert Environmental Response Team" (DERT), which played a vital role in defeating multiple MegaDump projects threatening the desert, including the Broadwell Toxic Waste Repository and Eagle Mountain Landfill MegaDump.

Together, David and Ida's achievements for the desert are far-reaching, reflecting their dedication to the greater good of Morongo Basin residents. They have worked tirelessly on various conservation-related issues, championing environmental and social justice concerns. Among their many accomplishments, David and Ida were instrumental in getting Joshua trees listed on the threatened species list. They also played a pivotal role in the enactment of legislation such as the Bobcat Trapping Ban and the County Night Sky Ordinance. Their partnerships and collaborations with various organizations further demonstrate their unwavering commitment to safeguarding the desert ecosystem.

As the Joshua Tree National Park Association celebrates the 2022 Minerva Hoyt Desert Conservation Award winners, we recognize the indelible mark left by David and Ida of Idavid Graficks and their exceptional dedication to preserving Joshua Tree's desert landscape.

The 2021 Minerva Hoyt California Desert Conservation Award Recipient

Frazier Haney

Frazier Haney

The Joshua Tree National Park Association is pleased to announce Frazier Haney as the 2021 Minerva Hoyt Conservation Award recipient.

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 UC Riverside. Frazier has played many roles in the preservation of our deserts. As a new college graduate, he took a job with The Wildlands Conservancy, under the direction of April Sall, as a ranger at the Pioneertown Mountains Preserve. He then moved to the Whitewater Preserve when it was acquired by Wildlands. He planned and supervised Whitewater’s conversion from a trout farm to a preserve.

After knowing Whitewater was in good standing, he took a position with Mojave Desert Land Trust (MDLT) with responsibility for raising funds for acquisitions. Through Frazier’s work, MDLT protected over 100,000 acres of the Mojave Desert. He then moved his primary focus to working with multiple partners to encourage President Obama to create Mojave Trails, Sand to Snow, and Castle Mountains National Monuments. 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 throughhiker – and his beautiful children, Lily and Owen. We are honored to recognize Frazier Haney as the 2021 Minerva Hoyt California Desert Conservation Award winner.

The 2020 Minerva Hoyt California Desert Conservation Award Recipient

Dr. Cameron Barrows

Dr. Cameron Barrows

Dr. Barrow’s body of research, academic and community courses, guided hikes, public lectures, advisory committees, and expert panels combine to make him the perfect candidate for this award. He embodies all four of the criteria categories. He spends most of his waking hours working to preserve and protect the California deserts. Through his research, teaching, advocacy, and leadership, he has opened the eyes and hearts of thousands of residents and visitors to the beauty of the region and the importance of protecting it for the many species who call it home. His demonstrated commitment to conservation in our desert region goes back decades, starting in 1986 as Regional Manager and Director of the Coachella Valley Preserve, up to today in his role as Assistant Research Ecologist for the Center for Conservation Biology, University of California Riverside.

Dr. Barrows’ work addresses conservation challenges throughout the Coachella Valley, High Desert, and local mountain regions. His research on the Coachella Valley fringe-toed lizard (Uma inornata) was critical to developing the first habitat conservation plan (HCP) for the Coachella Valley, which is still in effect today and serves as a model for communities throughout the world. He was the lead researcher on numerous research studies in addition to his work on the fringe-toed lizard. He is a willing and enthusiastic collaborator in his research, working alongside other university researchers regularly. He also pulls in students and community members to assist in gathering research data. Some of Dr. Barrows’ most notable research contributions include his work on the Coachella Valley Multiple Species Habitat Conservation Plan; DRECP – Independent Science Advisory Panel; climate change effects on flora and fauna of JTNP; and invasive species (tamarisk, Sahara mustard). In JTNP, funded under multiple grants, Dr. Barrows and JTNP staff studied the implications of climate change for the park’s desert tortoises and other selected reptiles and for the distribution of plant communities and invasive plants within the park.

Dr. Barrows has been teaching and lecturing on conservation issues for three decades. He has taught for The Living Desert, College of the Desert, California Science Teachers Association, and multiple other regional organizations. In 2018, UCR Palm Desert launched their first UC California Naturalist program, with Dr. Barrows serving as the lead instructor. He has produced over 50 peer-reviewed technical journal articles, authored five peer-reviewed book chapters, and has been cited by more than 50 authors. It is difficult to determine the number of students he has taught throughout the years, but conservatively, it is easily more than 5000.

The 2019Minerva Hoyt California Desert Conservation Award Recipient

David Lamfrom

David Lamfrom

Photo By: David Danelski

David’s impressive list of efforts make him the perfect awardee. He joined the NPCA Pacific Region staff after spending three years as a regional vice-president for an environmental consulting firm in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Prior to that, David was employed in diverse wildlife and agricultural research biology positions including experiences in the fields of aquaculture, agricultural biology and herpetology. He volunteered time and expertise as a naturalist for the Wildlife Research Team, a non-profit organization who has had tremendous success utilizing non-mechanized mangrove restoration in Biscayne Bay, Florida. As a graduate of New College of Florida, David has had the opportunity to conduct significant study in the fields of ecology, herpetology, foreign languages, Native American studies, and art.

As the director of California Desert and Wildlife Programs for NPCA, he worked on policy, legislation, media, building community, and connecting desert voices to the administration and congress. David has run campaigns to protect tens of thousands of acres of sacred desert lands from inappropriate development. He has been fortunate to work with desert communities for the past decade to designate 3 national monuments, totaling 1.8 million acres, including a new national park service unit.

In his current position, David uses his passion and knowledge of our natural, cultural and historical resources to continue to inspire others to learn about and protect our national parks. Published both as an author and wildlife photographer in several issues of Wild South magazine, David is an avid naturalist, hiker, and photographer who spends his free time exploring wildlife and wilderness.

About the Award

In 1930, Minerva Hamilton Hoyt created the International Deserts Conservation League to promote the conservation of desert lands worldwide. Her tireless efforts led directly to the establishment of Joshua Tree National Monument in 1936. She was perhaps the first great desert conservationist. The Minerva Hoyt California Desert Conservation Award recognizes annually individuals or organizations that have worked to further Mrs. Hoyt’s legacy by making notable achievements in the areas of leadership, protection, preservation, research, education, and stewardship of California’s desert lands. The award seeks to recognize an individual or persons whose efforts lead to a significant and lasting contribution on behalf of the deserts of California.

Past Winners

Year Winner
2021 Frazier Haney
2020 Dr. Cameron Barrows
2019 David Lamfrom
2018 Robin Kobaly
2017 Pat Flanagan
2016 Cindy Zacks
2015 Nancy Karl
2014 Desert Protective Council, Terry Weiner
2013 Dee & Betty Zeller
2012 Steven & Ruth Rieman
2011 Elden E. Hughes
2010 Owens Valley Committee
2009 United States Senator Dianne Feinstein
2008 Mark Jorgenson, Superintendent of Anza-Borrego Desert State Park
2007 John Wohlmuth and the Coachella Valley Association of Governments
2006 David Myers and the Wildlands Conservancy
2005 Larry & Donna Charpied
2004 Susan Luckie Reilly


Any person or group is eligible to receive the award except for Joshua Tree National Park Association (JTNPA) board of directors or staff and members of their immediate families. Non-residents of California are eligible but nominations must be for conservation accomplishments in the California deserts. Candidates must be at least 18 years old.


Nominees will have made a notable achievement on behalf of the deserts of California in one or more of the following areas:

  • Provided leadership resulting in laws, regulations, public policies, or other practices that promote improved stewardship of California desert lands and resources
  • Developed scientific research leading to improved conservation knowledge, techniques, or strategies
  • Fostered partnerships and collaborations that promote desert stewardship, or
  • Created a stronger public stewardship through education and outreach activities

Nomination and Selection Procedures

The Joshua Tree National Park Association oversees the annual nomination and selection process. Nominations will be accepted from any interested individual or organization, but self-nominations will not be considered. Joshua Tree National Park Association staff reviews all submissions for eligibility, and qualifying nominations are forwarded to the Minerva Hoyt California Desert Conservation Award selection committee.