Keepers of the Kern are dedicated to protecting, restoring, preserving, and enriching the quality of diversity and the delicate biological environment surrounding the Wild and Scenic Kern River corridor.
We are committed to promoting education, to monitoring, and to increase awareness in order to prevent further damage to the water and the environment.
We will be good stewards and will engage in compassionate action to improve and maintain the health of the Wild and Scenic Kern River by bringing about changes necessary, such as to increase management practices and reduce public abuse and overuse.
One Person Can Make A Difference - Together We Can Make It Right
Each Clean Up Day that is held ensures the continued health of the Wild and Scenic Kern River!
During the summer season our volunteers pick trash several days a week, visit campgrounds and hand out trash bags, and staff a public information kiosk with the U.S. Forest Service to encourage campers and day users to Leave No Trace and to care for the river corridor.
Tressa Lee Michele Lynn Bill Thompson Joel Walling
Karin Davis Bobbie Edwards Terri Gallion Barbara Hinkey Rex Hinkey
Board of Directors
Rex Hinkey, President
Rex is one of the co-founders of Keepers of the Kern and serves as President for the organization. He was born in old Kernville before it was moved to its present location, due to the building of the Isabella Dam. Being born on the River, he feels it is a part of him, and he has a passion for its beauty and spirituality. Out of that passion came Keepers of the Kern.
Rex returned in 2012 and moved back to his home town. He spent 34 years with one organization in a Retail Farm Store in Chehalis, WA. He is currently working part time at the local hardware store, and has a show with the local radio station.
His experience through the years includes carpentry, machinist, retail sales, customer service, inventory, purchasing and receiving and inventory control.
Rex is community service oriented and volunteers when he can. But now he focuses on Keepers of the Kern. He has made it his goal to Keep the Kern River “Wild and Scenic” for future generations.
Terri Gallion, Vice-President
Terri has worked and volunteered in the Kern River Valley since 1985.
She has conducted biological studies on bats, Mojave ground squirrel, Desert Tortoise, and many bird species including a thirteen year study of Turkey Vulture migration in the Southern Sierra. She wrote the Kern Red-winged Blackbird account for Fish and Wildlife Species of Special Concern.
Terri made sound recordings of several previously unrecorded bird sounds for Cornell University which were included on "Bird Songs of California".
In addition, Terri leads field trips, teaches ceremonial and medicinal uses of California native plants, mentors Native American children, trains service dogs, creates beadwork and other art, plays Native American flute, and has produced a cd of Native American flute music. Terri is an important part of Keepers and a genuine asset, bringing stability and knowledge to the board and volunteers. She has been a volunteer with Keepers since the beginning.
Bobbie Edwards, Secretary
Bobbie was one of the original members of Keepers of the Kern, and currently serves as the Secretary. Bobbie is semi-retired from a 45 year career in Early Childhood Education, holding a Master’s degree in Human Development with a specialization in Infant Toddler Development. Her experiences in that field include time as a family child care provider, center teacher, center director, working with a Child Care Resource Center, Head Start, and training with an Educational and Research Lab, WestEd Laboratories. She has kept one toe in her former field by continuing to do part time teaching as an adjunct faculty member for Cerro Coso Community College. She has had experiences with a variety of non-profit organizations, both as an employee and as a volunteer. Her volunteer time includes everything from being a Girl Scout Leader, a Little League official, to presiding over the LA County Board of Supervisors Child Care Council, and now of course, happily entrenched with Keepers of the Kern.
Bobbie is a widow with 2 sons, a wonderful daughter-in-law, and 4 grandchildren, all of whom have taken time to participate as Trash Warriors when visiting the Kern River Valley. She lives with her K-9 unit, Floppy, who considers herself a part of Keepers, and a rescue cat, Lucky. Life is good.
Dena Kerr, Treasurer
Dena was born in Chicago and moved to California in 1974. She is married to her High School sweetheart, and they are still married after 34 years. She has raised two beautiful girls in Lomita and was lucky enough to be a stay at home mom while raising them. She spent many birthdays camping in the Kern River Valley at Fairview Campground. She married of her daughters, then sold their home and bought a place in Wofford Heights. She has become a Grandma. After going back and forth for a year, she moved to the Kern River Valley full time.
Barbara Lyn Hinkey, Executive Director
Barbara is the co-founder of Keepers of the Kern and serves as Executive Director for the organization. She was raised in Old Kernville on the Kern River before it was moved in preparation of the Isabella Dam. The river runs through her and the passion she has for it has helped establish a movement to clean, restore, protect and preserve the river and its land.
Barbara semi-retired in 2009 and moved back to her homeland in Kernville, California. She spent 20 years plus with ACE Hardware, one store in Sisters, Oregon and one in Graham Washington. In her years here in the Kern River Valley, she has been employed at the Kern Valley Sun, Nuui Cunni Cultural Center, Kernville Chamber of Commerce and now with Sequoia Recreation.
Her experience through the years include; inventory management control, supervisorial/management, financial, advertising, computer programing, grant writing, editorial duties, and customer service. She has a volunteer heart and has been involved with the Kern Valley Museum, Kernville Chamber of Commerce, Isabella Lake Fishing Derby, Valley Thrift Store, Rotary Food Program, Whiskey Flat Days, and now is a major player with Keepers of the Kern.
Barbara has made the Wild and Scenic Kern River her purpose in life to insure the river and our valley is environmentally secure for generations into the future.
Board of Directors at Large
John is an avid fly fisherman, rabid mountain biker, and has been involved with Keepers since he first moved to the area years ago. John is an Engineer by trade and reside year round here in Kernville, working to play.
Richard was born and raised in Torrance. He started plumbing at an early age. He married his High School Sweetheart and they are still married after 34 years. He and Dena raised two beautiful girls. He started his own plumbing business in 1990, which is still active in the South Bay of Southern California. He has spent many vacations on the Kern River. After their girls married, Richard and Dena sold their house in Southern California and bought a place in Wofford Heights. After a year of going back and forth, they moved up to the Kern River Valley full time, although he still goes down to Torrance to check on the business. His older daughter gave he and Dena a Grandson. Richard has started a woodcraft business here in the Kern River Valley and makes one of a kind items.
Scott was a certified arborist when he went to work for LACSD. Working his way up, he became a senior Grounds Maintenance person, in charge of maintaining a 350 acre closed landfill. Keeping things looking nice was his job. After 24 years, he retired and started to travel with his wife and see more of California. They ended up Camp Hosting at Redwood Meadows Campground, Trail of 100 Giants for 2 summers. They liked the Kern River Valley and decided to settle here.
Scott is a widower with 2 sons, one in Utah (with 4 grandchildren), one in Los Angeles (also married). Scott has found a new family/friends, and purpose with Keepers of the Kern.
Kevin grew up in Monterey County and from a very young age, was taught to appreciate the beauty of the area and spent countless hours exploring Big Sur and the Los Padres National forest.
Kevin loved being out in nature and as he grew the Boy Scouts was a new venue to learn about nature and conservation. His father retired when he was still in High School and he moved to Mt Shasta, boy what an adventure that was for a seventeen-year-old who loved to be outside.
Like all of us life took over; Kevin worked in construction and had children. He became a project manager for a bank and eventually a community college. The love of nature was still in him. Family vacations often involved camping and sharing his passion for preserving the marvelous scenic areas that are so prevalent in California was part of our lives. And yes, his kids learned to leave camp as if people had never been there; lastly erasing their footprints with random fallen branches as we left.
Kevin retired early following his dad’s example. He bought a “vacation” house in Wofford Heights in 2016 and have never left, it is so beautiful here. Kevin sold his house in Palm Springs without looking back. He calls this home now and he hopes forever. Volunteering with Keepers fits right into his passion for protecting and preserving our environment here in the Kern River Valley.
Bill spent one year with LACC. He is a retired businessman and Air Conditioning Tech Service person. Bill has been married twice and has one child and a beloved Granddaughter. Bill spends a lot of time on the river, and has been with Keepers of the Kern at its inception.
Scott has been an avid hiker and mountaineer starting in his teens when at seventeen he hiked 430 miles solo on the Pacific Crest Trail from Lake Tahoe to Mount Whitney in thirty-three days.
Scott's professional career started as a seasonal firefighter with the USDA Forest Service in 1977. He followed his brother’s lead and worked as a Park Ranger with the USDI National Park Service in 1981 at Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks. Since then Scott has served as a Park Ranger and Fuels Management Specialist with the National Park Service for twenty years, seventeen years as a District Fire Management Officer at the Sequoia National Forest, and Fire Management Specialist with the Forest Service’s Washington Office. He currently works detached from the Washington Office and lives in Kernville, California. Scott primarily works is in fire and fuels management and air quality planning and has served as a Planning Section Chief with Southern California Team 1 – a federal Incident Management Team.
Scott is an avid photographer and has been a member of the Burning Man Documentation Team and first attended the event at Black Rock City in 2010. His favorite quote is: “Most people have a range of emotions. Artists take their range of emotions and put them to good use”.
Other Current Board Members are Tressa Lee and Michele Lynn