Mojave Desert Land Trust expands conservation vision with new executive director

For immediate release

Contact: Jessica Dacey, Director of Communications
Phone: 760-820-2275 or Email: Jessica@mdlt.org

Joshua Tree, CA – A leading Southern California conservationist has been appointed as the new executive director of the Mojave Desert Land Trust. Geary Hund’s exemplary background ensures the Land Trust will deepen and expand its conservation mission at a time when Congress has backed greater connectivity and protection of the California desert.

Hund has made conservation his life’s work. For the past nine years he has worked as a Senior Wildlife Biologist for US Fish and Wildlife, conducting endangered species consultations and developing Habitat Conservation Plans. He has served as the California Desert and Monuments Program Director for The Wilderness Society, earning the organization’s Wilderness Hero award for his work on successful wilderness legislation in Riverside County. Hund has also worked as an Associate Director of the Coachella Valley Mountains Conservancy, where he focused on conservation land acquisition, and as a Senior Ecologist and Chief Ranger for California State Parks.

Distinctions during his career have included a commendation from California’s lieutenant governor for his success in preserving a habitat linkage, a commendation from the Director of State Parks for his work to obtain resource management funding for State Parks, and an appointment to the Bureau of Land Management’s California Desert District Advisory Committee.

A resident of Joshua Tree, Hund knows this part of the desert and its community particularly intimately. He is an avid desert hiker and member of the Joshua Basin Water District Board of Directors.

Hund has served with great dedication as a Mojave Desert Land Trust board member for two years. This strong passion for its mission and desire to serve in a full-time capacity drove his decision to apply to become the new executive director.

“Geary Hund is a natural leader in desert conservation. He has great vision for these lands and first-hand experience of the full spectrum of work that this dedicated work requires. He will be tremendous asset to the Mojave Desert Land Trust, helping to deepen our conservation mission and ensuring we build on our identity as the voice of the Mojave Desert.” – John Simpson, President, Board of Directors

Hund replaces interims Joshua Friedes and Rich Weideman, who helped govern the Land Trust when former executive director Danielle Segura moved to the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation in 2018.   

“It is a great privilege to join the Mojave Desert Land Trust as Executive Director. I want to build on the tremendous work that has been accomplished to conserve the desert, including the recently passed California Desert Protection and Recreation Act. Building on a history of conservation legislation, it designated 375,000 acres of wilderness and added 39,860 to our National Parks. But there is still much more to do! We will continue to acquire important conservation lands to protect wildlife corridors, and to increase the integrity of our protected landscapes. We will also work with partners to obtain additional conservation designations.” – Geary Hund, Executive Director, Mojave Desert Land Trust

“I would like us to become a leader in desert restoration and the development of sound policy, and to play a part in rewilding our deserts. Our deserts are a place of respite from the frenetic pace of modern life. It’s up to us to ensure that they are protected and preserved, and that society understands and will defend them,” Hund added.

Read more about Geary’s vision for the Mojave Desert here.

The Mojave Desert Land Trust (MDLT) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization with the mission to protect and care for lands with natural, scenic, and cultural value within the Mojave Desert. Since its founding in 2006 the land trust has conserved more than 78,515 acres, donating more tracts of land to the National Park Service in the last decade than any other organization. In addition to acquiring land, the land trust established a seed bank to ensure the preservation of native species. MDLT operates an onsite nursery at its Joshua Tree headquarters which propagates native species for ecosystem restoration. MDLT educates and advocates for the conservation of the desert, involving hundreds of volunteers in our work. For more information, visit mdlt.org.