Patti Fenner, Executive Director
Despite moving to Arizona in the summer, at the tender age of 2 in an un-airconditioned station wagon, Patti Fenner chose a career working in the outdoors. She earned a degree in Botany at ASU. Then, to put the botany degree to practical use, went on to a Master’s program in Natural Resource Management. As she graduated in 1980, the Tonto National Forest created a new Range Conservationist job on the Cave Creek Ranger District. The job was created in part because of a lawsuit by the Audubon Society to improve grazing management along the Salt and Verde Rivers. Patti worked as a Range/Watershed staff for 23 years.
In 2003, Patti was offered the chance to create the Tonto’s first Invasive Plant program. This was undoubtedly the best job on the Forest! She spent hours discovering infestations and mapping them across the entire Forest. After mapping, she worked with District personnel, volunteers, other agencies, and contractors to control them.
Patti has served as President and on the board of the statewide invasive plant organization, SW Vegetation Management Association. She is currently on a committee who worked to revise Arizona’s Invasive Weed Rule.
Patti retired in 2014, and, unable to kick the habit of work, created Friends of the Tonto National Forest. Working with the brilliant and creative people on the Friends’ board is one of the great joys of her life (the others being her husband and friend, Scott Wood, son, daughter-in-law, and 4-year-old grandson).
Ann’s love of the desert developed almost instantly. In 2002, Ann first came to visit Arizona from her home state of Iowa. After only three days, she purchased a home in Apache Junction. Horses and the outdoors have always been a focus of Ann’s life. As a result she volunteers with the Forest Service through their Horse Trail Ambassador program. During Ann’s career, she worked in veterinary medicine, doing every job that was needed with animals, and as an ambulance Emergency Medical Technician.
Erin Bradham fell in love with the desert after moving to Arizona from the East Coast 15 years ago. Since joining Friends of the Tonto National Forest, she has enjoyed learning about the Hohokam through Friend’s archaeological projects and can often be found with a pick axe helping to remove invasive plants for Friend’s Save Our Saguaros habitat restoration projects. When not spending time on the Tonto, Erin is a partner at Dentons US LLP, where she practices commercial litigation.
Bert was born and raised on the small family farm in Vermont and had never lost his love for the outdoors. Since his retirement from the corporate world some 15 years ago, Bert has been an active Financial Board Member of Friends of the Tonto National Forest. Bert has a BA in Business, an MBA and a BS in Computer Science. He has been living in Mesa, Arizona since 1999 and has hiked all over Arizona. Bert enjoys hiking in the wilds of Arizona and southern Utah and taking photos of the magnificent scenery that surrounds these beautiful areas.
Scott was born and raised in Arizona, and has lived, worked, or attended school, all around the state. He worked for the Tonto National Forest for 40 years and retired from his job as Forest Archaeologist in 2015. During that time, he spent significant time on the preservation and interpretation of cultural resources in Arizona. He worked with volunteers, and promoted public archaeology and the importance of using citizen scientists in archaeological research and preservation. He helped found the volunteer Site Steward Program for State Parks and still works with them through the Arizona Site Stewards Program Foundation.
As a member of the Board of the Friends of the Tonto National Forest, Scott leads ruin preservation projects and public interpretation at archaeological locations. He conducts research through Friends’ volunteer projects in collaboration with the Arizona Archaeological Society, Arizona State University, and Friends of the Agua Fria National Monument. Scott has one son and one grandson. He has been married to Patti Fenner, Executive Director of Friends for over 40 years, which is how he got involved with Friends in the first place…
Eric moved to Mesa, AZ in 1996. He is a volunteer Wilderness Steward for the Mesa Ranger District in the Tonto. Eric has been a member of Friends of the Tonto National Forest since 2016 and a Board member since 2017.
Eric has worked for Boeing for 29 years. He coordinates Adopt-A-Site cleanups for the Boeing EcoLogicals at the Canyon Lake Boulder and Acacia Sites. Eric also coordinates Adopt-A-Site cleanups for the Asian-Pacific Lions at Rattlesnake Cove on Bartlett Lake.
Brian brings over 20 years of experience in leadership and project management to Friends of the Tonto National Forest. He is the Deputy Director of Wild Arizona, a statewide organization working to protect wild spaces for future generations. Brian is a U.S. Military Veteran and native to Arizona. He has a B.A. in Adventure Education and Environmental Studies from Prescott College.
Brian spends more time sleeping under the stars deep in the wilderness than in his home in Prescott, AZ. A love for adventure, solitude, long hikes, waterfalls, and the continual search for the perfect burger is what gets him to emerge from the woods to scout every hole in the wall and small-town cafe throughout Arizona.
Pete has been a FOTNF board member since its start in 2015. He moved to Arizona in 1964 and spent most of his career as a chemical and environmental engineer. He worked on projects throughout Arizona for business, government, legal, tribal, and individual clients.
Pete and his family love to explore the forest and Sonoran desert lands in our state. They have a special attachment to the Tonto National Forest. Three generations of his family visit the TNF for camping, fishing, hiking, running, birding, volunteering, cultural sites, photography, and wildlife watching. He and his family have also been volunteers and supporters of Valley/Arizona Forward, Arizona Audubon, Desert Rivers Audubon, Phoenix Zoo, Boyce Thompson Arboretum, and Desert Botanical Garden.
Susan Sridharan, Treasurer
Susan was born in Detroit, Michigan and trained in both botany and accounting. She lived in places as varied as Chicago, India, and London, Ontario. After she retired from a Detroit-area accounting firm in 2016, Susan moved to Arizona. She developed a deep appreciation for the beauty of the Sonoran Desert while hiking with her local hiking group. An avid birder, Susan is a volunteer at Wild At Heart, a raptor rescue in Cave Creek.
Susan discovered the Friends of the Tonto at a Sears-Kay Open House in 2017. Since then she has taken part in milkweed planting, invasive plants training and the Riparian Photopoint project. Susan was impressed with the dedication of Friends’ volunteers and the importance of their projects. Therefore, she gladly volunteered for a position on the Board as Treasurer.