The Board of Friends of Griffith Park is composed of park, recreation and environmental activists and historic preservationists who have compiled a collective record of successful advocacy for Griffith Park and other open spaces in the City of Los Angeles. They have served as leaders and board members of major non-profit public advocacy groups, represented the community on park oversight committees and panels, supported and participated in park service projects, and educated the public about Griffith Park and its issues. They are deeply knowledgeable about Griffith Park's human and natural history.
Officers of the Board
- Gerry HansPresidentGerry HansPresident
For well over fifteen years, Gerry has been active with park issues and was a diligent member of the Griffith Park Master Plan Working Group which convened in 2005. He served as president of Oaks Homeowners for three years (2005-2007) and fought for the City’s toughest anti-mansionization code to protect the community's unique character with plenty of open space. Gerry also played a role in establishing invaluable scientific work for the park beginning in late 2006 through the Griffith Park Natural History Survey. He served on the Parks, River and Open Space Committee of the local neighborhood council until 2010, and is currently active with the county-wide helicopter noise reduction movement.
Gerry comes from a large Midwest farm family of ten and holds a Biology degree from University of Illinois. He began graduate work at Colorado State in ecology, but was side-tracked by corporate positions, moving to Los Angeles 34 years ago. After leaving the corporate world, he and his spouse built a successful small business, from which he is now retired.
As a founding member of Friends of Griffith Park and its inaugural president, Gerry keeps busy tracking the organization’s progress with advocacy issues, including the revitalization of historic Fern Dell. He enjoys hiking and "botanizing" in Griffith Park, while thinking about ways to protect the park’s rich Mediterranean habitat and wildlife, in balance with recreation.
Gerry has been closely engaged with the science and conservation aspects within Griffith Park, and recently coordinated successful efforts with other conservationists to purchase and protect acreage adjacent to the Park.
- Mary ButtonVP, Finance and AdministrationMary ButtonVP, Finance and Administration
A resident of the Oaks neighborhood near Griffith Park for 30 years, Mary has been very active in the Park. She and her husband owned and operated a successful running apparel business for 18 years. Mary graduated Magna Cum Laude from Shippensburg University, with a BS degree in Business Administration / Accounting.
An accomplished long distance runner, Mary has run over 50,000 miles, mostly upon the trails in Griffith Park. She qualified for the Olympic Marathon Trials in 1996 and 2000. She participated in the 2000 Trials at the age of 40. Mary is a co-founder and past President of the Los Feliz Flyers, a grass-roots running club.
Mary is one of the founding Directors of Friends of Griffith Park, and is the current Treasurer. She is also a member of the Sierra Club. She has volunteered at the Good Shepherd Shelter for battered women, and was also a volunteer for several seasons as an assistant coach for Girls on the Run.
She enjoys hiking and bicycling and is a travel enthusiast and avid reader.
- Dora HerreraCFODora HerreraCFO
“Los Angeles has been home for as long as I can remember. And, many of my memories are of being outside enjoying nature with my family. Every weekend we would traipse off to the mountains, the beach, or the desert. Occasionally, we’d hike the trails or enjoy a leisurely picnic in Griffith Park.”
This memory of enjoying nature so close to home led Dora to join the efforts of several Los Feliz residents to ensure the park remains a beautiful and natural place for us and for future generations. California-raised, Dora has been active in the Los Feliz community since 1976, when her family opened a popular community eatery.
Through her business, Dora became involved in grassroots efforts to establish two local organizations, the Los Feliz Village Business Improvement District (LFVBID) and the Greater Griffith Park Neighborhood Council (GGPNC). She was a board member of both groups and served four terms as the LFVBID President. As a member of the GGPNC Parks, River and Open Space (PROS) committee she worked with many devoted and wonderful people dedicated to preserving the natural beauty of Griffith Park and the L.A. River.
A Brown University Athlete of the Year, Dora learned the importance of teamwork and working together for a common cause as a multi-sport varsity athlete. This mindset led to her involvement in the City Impact Lab, whose mission is “to enable and empower a more civically engaged citizenry to make an impact in their city.”
Her focus on participating in, and improving her community, led to her being recognized by former California Assembly Leader Dario Frommer, as the 2004 Small Business Woman of the Year. The following year, Dora and her mother received the James Beard Award in the America’s Classics category for culinary excellence and community involvement.
Dora is also a board member of the Friends of the Los Feliz Library, the co-founder of the Architecture & Beyond Lecture Series, a member of Las Comadres, the Dining Divas and, the Taste of Mexico Association.
- Laura HoweVice President, Volunteer ServicesLaura HoweVice President, Volunteer Services
Laura Howe grew up in Columbus, Ohio and moved to Los Angeles in 1985 after she received a scholarship to USC. After receiving a BFA in Fine Art, she worked for several years as an artist and art fabricator for several large art museums and galleries in Los Angeles including the Autry Museum. She became a clothing and fashion designer in 1996 and started her own dress shop in 2002. Her boutique shop makes hand made dresses in Sunset Junction in Silver Lake. She learned to sew from her seamstress grandmother and her mother, otherwise she is self taught.
Laura fell in love with Griffith Park while working at the Autry Museum; after work she would run and hike through the hills of Griffith Park. She met up with several running groups over the years such as the Wild Mountain Runners and A Runners Circle and has competed in many amateur running events.
Laura has been volunteering in Griffith Park for over 20 years. She has always felt compelled to protect our open spaces for both people and wildlife. It started with a Mother’s Day oak tree planting with TreePeople where she learned to be a planting leader, and many of the trees are still growing strong even after fire and drought. She participated in the Park, River and Open Space Committee of the Greater Griffith Park Neighborhood Council. Later she was elected to the Neighborhood Council and served for two years.
- Kathryn LouyseSecretary and Media CoordinatorKathryn LouyseSecretary and Media Coordinator
Originally from Virginia, Kathryn Louyse moved to California in the early 1970s, gradually working her way down the coast, finally arriving in Los Angeles. After taking graphic arts classes at Santa Barbara City College, she realized this was the field she wanted to work in, so Kathryn relocated to Los Angeles first working in advertising and then moving into magazine production. She has since retired.
Growing up in Virginia was a child’s dream. Kathryn’s family lived in an area surrounded by woods and creatures of the woods. She spent nearly as much time wandering through tree-covered thickets, as she spent at home, be it spring, summer, fall or even the dead of winter. In the spring and summer, her brothers, sisters, friends would spend hours climbing hillsides, creating forts out of rocks and brush, looking for tadpoles in the nearby creek and marveling at fearless copperheads sunning themselves along the rocky shorelines. She took it for granted that every child had access to the same wooded wilderness as she had growing up.
It was only when she moved to Los Angeles she realized that a vast number of Angelenos live in park-poor neighborhoods. They seldom see wild creatures that inhabit most wooded areas.
Long ago it occurred to her that this park needed protection. When she first visited the Fern Dell area before permanently moving here, she noticed the lushness of the area. But as she visited the area more she began to notice an increase in graffiti and a decrease in fern populations.
When she became involved with the PROS (Parks, River & Open Space) committee of the local neighborhood council, she became aware of multiple park issues and the need for park preservation. The value of this park in metropolitan LA deserves protection not just for today, but for future generations.
This was also the reason she became a member of the Friends of Griffith Park Board. She sees the joy on the faces of kids coming into the park as picnickers and Inspiring Connections Outdoors (ICO) hikers and watches them dash around the Park because they don’t have the luxury of running free in a wild space as she once enjoyed as a child.
- Linda Othenin-GirardVP MembershipLinda Othenin-GirardVP Membership
Linda Othenin-Girard is new to the Friends of Griffith Park board. She has lived in the Los Feliz Oaks for almost thirty years and was recently made president of the Oaks Homeowners Association. She's an avid bird watcher and hikes almost daily in Griffith Park.
- Lucinda PhillipsVP, Community LiaisonLucinda PhillipsVP, Community Liaison
Lucinda is originally from England and has worked in the film business for 20 years as a writer, producer, director culminating as Executive Producer at Colossal Pictures. Her feature film experience began as Assistant Director and Producer on Tom Wait's feature "Big Time."
She has made four independent feature films which premiered at the AFI Festival. These films have shown at numerous festivals worldwide and have been released in the United States.
Lucinda was instrumental in the filming of "Fambul Tok" a documentary that tells the story of healing through the intimate stories of perpetrators and victims after the devastating Civil 'Blood Diamonds' War in Sierra Leone. “Fambul Tok” was awarded a Sundance Institute Documentary Film Grant.
She has a degree in Mindfulness Facilitation from UCLA’s Mindful Awareness Research Center, part of the Semel Institute of Neuroscience & Human Behavior at the School of Medicine. She is currently teaching UCLA Mindfulness courses and volunteers as a teacher of Mindfulness and Meditation at the Los Angeles Central Library.
In 2003, she was a founding member of the Parks Rivers & Open Space Committee with the Greater Griffith Park Neighborhood Council (now named Los Feliz N.C.) Lucinda is an appointed member of the Griffith Park Advisory Board. She is also a founding member of Friends of Griffith Park and is a member of the Executive Committee acting as Community Liaison.
Lucinda is currently working as a consultant for independent films as well as writing her next project and is a daily hiker in the park.
- Carol BrushaCarol Brusha
Carol Prager Brusha has spent her life enjoying Griffith Park. On many Sundays as a child, she picnicked with her parents and sister on the expansive lawn north of the Greek Theatre then hiked from the Bird Sanctuary up to Captain’s Roost. She took tennis lessons at the courts near the Greek Theatre and during the summer months, the family went to concerts at the theatre, which at that time offered only classical events. Walks in Fern Dell and hikes to the Observatory were also part of the family’s agenda.
During her college years at USC, she hiked with her mother and their dog on weekends. They often sat at Captain’s Roost where a small group of elderly German immigrants met. Years later, she joined the night hikes led by the Angeles Chapter of the Sierra Club and that is where she met her husband, Ron Brusha. They became Sierra Club leaders and led strenuous hikes.
Carol is a professional writer and editor. Her career started as a news reporter. Later she went into advertising and public relations working for a national cosmetics company and hospitals.
She was hired as an assistant by the late author and humanitarian Norman Cousins when he became an adjunct professor at UCLA. She authored the 1995 Glendale Chamber of Commerce book, “Glendale: Jewel City of the Verdugos.” Her latest accomplishment is completing a novel that she hopes to see published.
Upon her marriage, she moved to Glendale where she is active with the Northwest Glendale Homeowners Association as a board member and associate editor of the quarterly newsletter. She previously was on the board of the Friends of the Glendale Public Library.
- Marian DodgeMarian Dodge
A native Californian, Marian has lived in Los Feliz with her husband since 1968. She taught English and coordinated the English-as-a-Second Language program at John Marshall High School. She has a BA from the University of California, Berkeley and a Masters from Cal State LA.
Marian is past President of the Los Feliz Improvement Association and co-chair of the History Committee. She is President of the Federation of Hillside and Canyon Associations, an organization of 44 homeowner associations spanning the Santa Monica Mountains whose mission is to preserve the quality of life in the hillsides, the natural topography and open space. She is also one of the founders of Friends of Griffith Park.
Marian’s love of the outdoors came from growing up on a farm where you could climb trees and build forts. She enjoyed many family camping trips and summer camps.
She was named former Assemblymember Mike Feuer's Woman of the Year in 2012 for her efforts to preserve open space. Marian served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Africa. She was a volunteer hostess at the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles. She is active in a variety of historic preservation groups. She enjoys hiking, cooking, and modern architecture.
- Lucy GonzalezLucy Gonzalez
Lucy is a native of Cuba but was raised and resides in Los Angeles. She is a graduate of Art Center College of Design and has over eighteen years of experience in design firms specializing in public, institutional, and community projects. She was LA chapter Co-Chair for the Society of Environmental Graphic Design, and has taught a class at UCLA extension on Signage and Wayfinding. She served on the board of Hollywoodland Homeowners Association from 2010 - 2016 and was President in 2014 and Vice President in 2015. Lucy has enjoyed Griffith Park since she was 7 years old and is lucky to live on its border.
- Anna JosenhansAnna JosenhansAnna Josenhans joined the Friends of Griffith Park board in March 2020. She graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Policy from the University of Maryland in 1986 and has worked with the environmental advocacy organization Public Interest Research Group in both Maryland and New York. Anna also worked in the editorial department of many feature and documentary films for over ten years where she endeavored to learn the art of storytelling.As a transplant from New York City, Anna moved to Beachwood Canyon in 2002 and immediately fell in love with her next door neighbor, Griffith Park. She joined with community activists to protect hikers’ access to its trailheads as well as initiated city actions such as installing bins in littered areas and trash clean-ups within restricted DWP lands.Anna enjoys learning about the rich history of the park and exploring its infinite trails on Tuesday nights with the Sierra Club hikes.
- Rex LinkRex Link
Rex is a native Angelino who graduated from Los Angeles High School. He was active in the Boy Scouts. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from the University of Southern California as well as a Bachelor of Science degree from the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy where he was awarded the Scholarship Star. He was a Lieutenant in the U. S. Navy Reserve.
After being the supervisor of traffic at the Hollywood Bowl for five seasons, he became a professional parking consultant. He has designed parking lots for major firms and attractions throughout the Southern California area, from LAX to the Disneyland Hotel. He is a member of the National Parking Association in Washington, D. C. and serves on their Consultant’s Council.
Rex is very active in the community. Following in his father’s footsteps he is active in the venerable Los Angeles Breakfast Club and on the Los Angeles Breakfast Club Foundation. He is a director for the Los Angeles High School Alumni Association. He enjoys many activities at the Griffith Park Adult Community Center. He is a founding member of Friends of Griffith Park Board of Directors.
- Felix MartinezFelix Martinez
Felix is a native of Mexico. After living in San Antonio, Texas for seven years, he moved to Los Angeles in 1957. Soon after he joined the U.S. Navy in the Pacific Fleet where he attended their electrician schools and served in that trade for three years. After the Navy, he enrolled at LA Trade Tech College and got a degree in Electricity. He worked for the Department of Water and Power for seven years and then for the Department of Public Works for a total of 35 years.
After his retirement Felix joined the Sierra Club and soon after became the
Chair of the Griffith Park Night Hikes. He also joined the Parks, Rivers, and Open Space Committee of the local neighborhood council. He is a founding board member of Friends of Griffith Park.
He also volunteers leading school students on hikes in Griffith Park co-sponsored by Friends of Griffith Park and the Sierra Club’s Inspiring Connections Outdoors (ICO). The ICO program focuses on introducing students from inner city schools to the joys and health benefits of the outdoors. Children learn about animals, plants and the history of the park. In one year Felix led 17 ICO hikes which brought 627 children to Griffith Park.
- Al MoggiaAl Moggia
Al Moggia is a member of the Sierra Club's Angeles Chapter and past Chair of the Chapter's Central Group. Among the important environmental issues for the Central Group are protecting urban parks from over development, keeping special interests from having park grounds ceded over to them for their own use, and protecting the natural environment of parks. Al participated in organizing the “Parks In Peril” forum where managers of city, county and state parks discussed issues facing their respective parks.
As a member of the Sierra's Club Griffith Park Section, Al helped to organize native plant and wildflower hikes in Griffith Park. He served on the Griffith Park Section's management committee as an outings leader.
Al worked as an electronics engineer in the design and development communication equipment. His interests include gardening, cooking, home crafts and hiking in California's wilderness areas and just any place that offers a good hiking experience. He hikes several times a week in Griffith Park's unique landscape with its native plants and diverse animal life, great views of the city below, and the distant mountains surrounding the city.
- Sarah NapierSarah Napier
Sarah is a lifelong educator. She has been a teacher, counselor, Special Education local plan administrator for Glendale, Burbank, and La Cañada, Adjunct Assistant Professor at Cal State Northridge, and Adjunct Assistant Professor at the University of Southern California. She also served as a Legislative Advocate for the California Retired Teachers Association.
When Sarah retired she became active in the community. She served on the Greater Griffith Park Neighborhood Council where she chaired the Education Committee. She won a city beautification grant, and developed and managed the Big M project for John Marshall High School. Everyone who drives by the school enjoys the beautiful tile mural on the corner. She also served on the neighborhood council’s Parks, Rivers, and Open Space Committee where she worked tirelessly to protect Griffith Park from commercialization.
Sarah is a charter member of Friends of Griffith Park Board of Directors. She wants Griffith Park to remain an urban wilderness with access by all Los Angeles residents. The park belongs to all of us. No one has the right to give any part of it away.
On the weekends you’ll see Sarah in cardinal and gold rooting for USC.
- Miguel OrdeñanaMiguel Ordeñana
Miguel Ordeñana is currently a wildlife biologist with the Los Angeles County Natural History Museum. In addition to his work with the Los Angeles County Natural History Museum, Miguel conducts urban mammal research projects (bats and carnivores) and citizen science outreach at the museum. He credits growing up in the shadow of Griffith Park as the impetus for developing an interest in wildlife preservation issues.
- Alex PhillipsAlex PhillipsAs a Los Angeles transplant, the first thing Alex fell in love with about this city was Griffith Park.Growing up in Africa and then living in cities with iconic parks, he cultivated an appreciation of green spaces like Griffith. He and his wife, a native-Angeleno with some fond memories of childhood trips to the Park, enjoy going for long hikes and love having such an amazing and well protected resource so close to their home in Los Feliz.Before joining the Board, Alex and his brother (Ian, also on the Board) spent a year regularly volunteering directly with the Parks Department in Fern Dell. This was an eye-opening experience, illustrating the scope of work to be done as well as giving them a fuller understanding of the variety and depth of communities that utilize and rely on the park.Volunteer days are one of his favorite things about FOGP. Whether it’s mulching, weeding, or planting saplings, it’s a great opportunity to get your hands dirty and feel like you’re making a positive impact on the park for yourself and others.
- Ian PhillipsIan PhillipsIan is an avid hiker, weed puller, and plant-propagater in his personal life, and hopes to bring these skills to bear in his new position on the Friends of Griffith Park Board. Ian holds a Masters in Environmental Management and is an improvisor/comedian, so please don't engage him in any conversations about either if you want to make it home in time for dinner. He and his brother (Alex, also on the Board) can typically be found in Fern Dell or at a smattering of bars around Los Feliz, loudly arguing, as brothers do.
- Brenda ReesBrenda Rees
Brenda Rees is new to the Friends of Griffith Park board. Originally from Minnesota, she has lived in the Los Angeles area for more than 30 years and enjoys winters where she doesn't have to shovel her car out from the snow plow. She's a writer who has worked with many local publications -- The Los Angeles Times, Westways Magazine, Arroyo Monthly, etc. -- and writes about wildlife in Southern California for her blog Southern California Wildlife (www.SoCalWild.com).
- Kris SullivanKris Sullivan
Kris Sullivan grew up in Ohio and moved to Los Angeles after graduating from Ohio State University. She taught Government and History at public and private schools in the Los Angeles area.
She has an MA in US History from UCLA. She lives in Beachwood Canyon.
She and her husband have backpacked in wilderness areas in the West (including the John Muir Trail) and hiked the GR5 long distance trail for 900 miles in France. While backpacking in the Gates of the Arctic National Park, she saw firsthand the fragile nature of the Arctic. She happened to be in Alaska during the Exxon Valdez disaster which served to amplify her concern for the environment.
She was active in the local homeowners’s organization (HHA) as President and Board Member from 2001 to 2007. She served on the Griffith Park Advisory Board for over 2 years. When the City closed the long-standing access to Griffith Park from Beachwood, she and another local volunteer created the plan for an Alternate Access Trail into the Park and are hopeful that access will soon be reinstated for residents and Angelenos alike.
She enjoys playing golf in the Park, paints landscapes from her travels, works with yarn and fabric and takes walks with husband Tony and their Lhasa Apso Trotsky.