Friends of the Inyo Staff

Laura Beardsley, Executive Director

Laura took over as executive director in October, 2012. Mountain living has long been a love of hers, as she was born and raised in a rural part of New Hampshire, attended high school in western Massachusetts, and spent many weekends exploring the nearby White Mountains. She has a degree in Communications Studies from Bryn Mawr College in Pennsylvania. She worked at Outward Bound in Philadelphia before moving to Yosemite for a job as Membership Coordinator for the Yosemite Conservancy. She learned about Friends of the Inyo while volunteering at Lake George during the Summer of Stewardship in 2011. After six and a half years in Yosemite, she found she was spending more and more time on the Eastside and decided to make the move over. She is passionate about cooking, skiing and community.

Jora Fogg, Preservation Manager

Forever altered by the mountains, Jora Fogg joined Friends of the Inyo as the Preservation Coordinator in April 2014.  Jora guides Friends of the Inyo through the Inyo’s forest planning revision process, commenting on public lands projects and leading exploration outings to special places in the Eastern Sierra. Jora grew up and went to college in Washington State, moving to California in 2004. Previously she spent 4 years in Colorado with Rocky Mountain Bird Observatory as a biologist managing state and park service bird monitoring programs. She lives in June Lake with her husband and daughter.  Jora enjoys time “naturalizing” (especially birding), skiing, hiking, and cycling.

Ben Wickham, Membership, Outreach and Volunteer Coordinator

Ben Wickham

Wanting to be in the mountains, Ben took the first job out of college that allowed him to do so, and that summer at Merced Lake in the Yosemite Wilderness convinced him that mountains are where he should be. He migrated between Yosemite, Idaho, Montana, and the Eastern Sierra, working in the tourism industry to afford himself the opportunity to explore high alpine terrain on skis, deep forests by foot, and rapid rivers by kayak. Over time Ben discovered that he wanted to more actively help people engage with the landscape around them, so he taught at the McCall Outdoor Science School while receiving a Master’s in Natural Resources with an emphasis in Environmental Education at the University of Idaho. Ben is excited to help Friends of the Inyo connect the public with their lands here in the Eastern Sierra.