Kathy Baker on Minerva Hamilton Hoyt

“She had a vision and she just went for it!”

Known as the Apostle of the Cacti, MINERVA HAMILTON HOYT knew our western deserts were found nowhere else on Earth and needed to be protected. Kathy Baker tells us about this visionary woman, a fighter and leader who worked tirelessly to save a million acres from destruction, now known as Joshua Tree National Park. After being rejected and rebuffed multiple times, MINERVA sent President Roosevelt scrapbooks of breathtaking photos to prove these incredible wild landscapes were essential to the country and the people of America. Come listen to Kathy's delight with Minerva Hamilton Hoyt. Our storytellers share these astonishing women with us conversationally and unscripted; we fact-check afterwards and note any major discrepancies for accuracy.


Kathy Baker

Kathy Baker’s celebrated acting career has featured memorable work in film, television and on the stage. She won three Emmy Awards, a Golden Globe Award, and the Screen Actors Guild Award for her work on the CBS television series “Picket Fences.” In 1983, she made her feature film debut in “The Right Stuff’, and has gone on to star in such notable films as “Street Smart” (National Society of Film Critics’ Best Supporting Actress Award), “Clean and Sober”, “Edward Scissorhands”, “The Cider House Rules” (Screen Actors Guild Award nomination for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Theatrical Motion Picture), “Cold Mountain”, and “Saving Mr. Banks”, among many others. On television, she received additional Emmy nominations for her guest performances on “Touched by an Angel” and “Boston Public” as well as a nomination for Best Supporting Actress in a miniseries or movie for “Door to Door”. She most recently starred on Netflix’s “The Ranch’ and truTV’s “I’m Sorry.” Kathy began her career on the stage, and has starred in numerous acclaimed productions, including collaborating with renowned playwright Sam Shepherd in such plays as “Fool for Love”, “Curse of the Starving Class” and “Seduced”.

Featured Woman

Minerva Hamilton Hoyt

Minerva Hamilton Hoyt was an American environmental activist who worked to preserve California deserts. Hoyt founded the International Desert Conservation League, lobbying the state of California to create three parks, including Joshua Tree, Death Valley and Anza-Borrego Desert. Though initially thwarted, she gained support by the administration of FDR which designated more than 800,000 acres in California desert area as the Joshua Tree National Monument. She also appealed to the Mexican government to set aside 10,000 acres for cactus preservation.