Amigos De Los Rios – Emerald Necklace Group over the past 15 years has trained over 100 fellows as part of the “Emerald Necklace Fellows Program” in Green infrastructure, Sustainable City Policy,  Sustainable and Community based Landscape, and Design, Project Management and Community Outreach.

Below are interviews with past Amigos De Los Rios Fellows.


Nikola Hlady - Amigos de los Rios Planning Associate

Nikola Hlady – Amigos – Planning Associate

Nikola grew up in Salt Lake City, UT attended Pomona College in Claremont, CA, receiving a Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Analysis and a Masters Degree in Urban Planning, from the University of Southern California’s Price School.

“I was very excited about the Planning & Policy Fellow position at Amigos, and about the organization itself. I had previously encountered an Emerald Necklace park in one of my Green Urbanism courses at Pomona College. As I learned more about Amigos I was tremendously impressed by its ability to undertake both community-based vision building work and implement innovative and attractive projects.” Nikola Hlady

Nikola is currently an Associate Planner with the City of Claremont, CA.

Brenda Kyle - Amigos de los Rios Social Media and Outreach

Brenda Kyle – Amigos – Social Media and Outreach

Brenda grew up in the unincorporated area of Duarte known as “RockTown”.   She graduated from Duarte High School and earned  an AS in Administration of Justice along with a PC832, an AA in Humanities and an AA in Social & Behavioral Sciences with an emphasis in Chicano Studies from Pasadena City College.  She was the Valedictorian of the 4th Cohort of the San Gabriel Mountains Forever Leadership Academy.

She volunteers with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department and has been a Docent Naturalist for Eaton Canyon since 2012. She has guided over 200 men, women and children through the canyon.

Ivan Mendoza_Amigos de los Rios_Design Associate

Ivan Mendoza – Amigos – Design Associate

Ivan grew up in Los Angeles and is currently a design associate at Amigos de Los Rios. He began at Amigos as a fellow shortly after graduating from the University of California, Berkeley where he obtained a degree in Architecture and a minor in Sustainable Design.

“The Amigos fellowship program has been a great opportunity for my transition from an academic design studio setting into real-world practice. In this transition, I have learned the importance of communication, time management, and budgeting while attempting to bring quality design to underserved communities.”  Ivan Mendoza

Loretta Quach Amigos de los Ros Senior Design Associate

Loretta Quach – Amigos – Senior Design Associate

Loretta attended Cal Poly Pomona and graduated with a Bachelors of Science for Urban and Regional Planning. “At Amigos I enjoyed every aspect of being at a non-profit, being able to work on a variety of projects and tasks including outreach, grant writing, project management, and graphic design.”  Loretta Quach

Bryan Slade Amigos de los Rios Community Outreach Coordinator

Bryan Slade – Amigos – Community Outreach Coordinator

“Amigos is doing something really special, and near to my heart, reaching out to the community, and getting them involved in their home, the San Gabriel Valley. The organization is educating the public on things that they would otherwise never hear or learn about. What should our native Californian landscape look like? And how does that affect us? Join Amigos de Los Rios volunteers and learn, any Saturday from 9 am to noon!” Bryan Slade

Daniel Villalobos Ortiz - Amigos de los Rios - Design Associate

Daniel Villalobos Ortiz – Amigos – Design Associate

Daniel received a Bachelor of Arts (BA), Architectural Studies and Visual Art from Brown University, and a Master of Architecture from Rhode Island School of Design. 

Daniel identified with the mission of Amigos de Los Rios and gained experience in higher level project management. He describes his experience in his video and discusses the importance of nature and its relationship to health.

Daniel is currently a Sr. Project Engineer at KCS West, Inc. LEED Green Associate.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *