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  • Steve Brown

Robin Kobaly named 2018 Minerva Hoyt California Desert Conservation Award Winner


Desert botanist, Robin Kobaly, has been named the 2018 Minerva Hoyt California Desert Conservation Award Winner.

Desert botanist Robin Kobaly, has been named the 2018 Minerva Hoyt California Desert Conservation Award winner by the Joshua Tree National Park Association. Kobaly's recent work on the science of desert plant/soil/fungal communities and their role in carbon sequestration, "Groundbreaking Discoveries Under Our Feet," is a game changer when it comes to the question of what is better to addressing climate change - building large utility scale renewable energy projects in the desert, or leaving the desert alone.


After receiving her Masters’ Degree in Biology from the University of California Riverside, Robin traveled the world continuing her lifelong fascination with plants, birds and wildlife. She worked as the Curator of Botany at the Riverside Municipal Museum and then began a 20 year career with the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) as a botanist, wildlife biologist and natural history interpreter.


Robin co-founded and helped to develop The Wildlands Conservancy, one of the largest non-profit land conservancies in the United States. There, she instituted the Sand-to-Snow Wilderness Project, a 21 year effort which eventually led to the federal campaign responsible for the Sand to Snow National Monument.


Recently, Robin served on the Independent Science Panel to provide science-based input to the Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan (DRECP) planning process and to develop recommendations to state and federal Renewable Energy Action Team (REAT) agencies for renewable energy development in the California Desert.


After a lifetime of work which spans both conservation and education milestones, Robin is currently the Founder and Executive Director of the SummerTree Institute, where she continues to impact young citizen scientists through her “Discovering the Ancients” and “Saving the Ancients” programs. Additionally, she designs and presents popular and highly-requested events and programs for adults and children through her organization, The Power of Plants.


Kobaly's work has earned her well deserved praise from numerous people and organizations throughout her career.


"Don't leave California without going on a tour with Robin Kobaly," said Bruce Babbitt, former Secretary of the Interior. "She's one of the best."


"This is an amazing presentation," noted Jeff Lovich, research ecologist at the U.S. Geological Survey's Southwest Biological Science Center, about Kobaly's "Groundbreaking Discoveries Under Our Feet." "The artwork and the text really work in concert to take what might otherwise be a dense and bookish topic and make it come alive for the average person."


"I look forward to years of collaboration," said Jane Goodall.


"You are a legend in your own time," noted Kit Kimball, Director of External and Intergovernmental Affairs, Department of the Interior. "What an incredible touch and spirit you bring to everything near you."


The purpose of the Minerva Hoyt Conservation Award is to recognize individuals or organizations that have made notable achievements in the areas of leadership, protection, preservation, research, education, and stewardship leading to a significant and lasting contribution on behalf of the deserts of California. Robin certainly fits the bill.



2018 Minerva Hoyt Conservation Award winner, Robin Kobaly.


Previous recipients of Minerva Hoyt California Desert Conservation Award are:

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



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