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The Mono-logue

Refreshments with Refreshing ‘Ologists: Ben Hatchett on ice ages and megadroughts

August 30th, 2015 by Sarah, Mono Lake Intern
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Our lecture series continues this Wednesday, September 2 with our next presentation, Ice Ages and Megadroughts in the Eastern Sierra Nevada. Starting at 4:00pm, Ph.D. student Ben Hatchett from the University of Nevada, Reno will be discussing his work in aligning Mono Lake’s past with that of nearby glacial moraines to paint a better picture of past climate changes.

Photo by Arya Degenhardt with aerial support by Lighthawk.

The Mono Basin’s interesting glacial history has left remnants on the landscape, like the moraines near Williams Butte. Photo by Arya Degenhardt with aerial support provided by Lighthawk.

Because terminal lakes such as Mono Lake and Walker Lake (in Nevada) have no outlet to the sea, their surface elevations reflect the climatic balance of precipitation and evaporation. Glacial moraines formed during ice ages offer a similar window from which we can view the millennial pulse of Earth’s climate cycles. Through studies of lake level and glacier size variability, we can better understand both how different the climate must have been during ice ages and megadroughts and how sensitive are these environments to changes in climate. Understanding these past climate events is crucial in planning for future climate changes. Ben will share with us new findings from studies of these lake systems from both ends of the “extreme climate” window that place our historical and current climate into a paleoclimate perspective.

If you’re in the area and want to learn more about this topic, be sure to join us in the Mono Lake Committee gallery. It’s free admission, and light snacks and refreshments will be provided. Can’t wait to see you!

Seminar spotlight: Creating the Illuminated Field Journal

August 28th, 2015 by Elin, Communications Coordinator
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Good news: There are a few spaces still open in the Creating the Illuminated Field Journal field seminar! This three-day seminar is an introductory course to personalizing one’s time in nature and outdoors through sketches, words, and color in the pages of a field journal.

Caption caption Photo by Elin Ljung.

Join us for the field seminar, Creating the Illuminated Field Journal, for a spectacular weekend of sketching and writing in the Mono Basin. Photo by Elin Ljung.

Creating the Illuminated Field Journal • September 4–6 • $175 per person/$160 for members • sign up here … more »

New gallery show: Penny Otwell’s Mono Basin paintings

August 26th, 2015 by Terry, Information Center & Bookstore Manager
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"Moon Over Mono," oil on panel, 6 x 12" by Penny Otwell.

“Moon Over Mono,” oil on panel, 6 x 12″ by Penny Otwell.

We are delighted to host nationally-acclaimed artist Penny Otwell‘s work in the Mono Lake Committee gallery. Penny, a member of the Committee since its inception, has been painting scenes from the Mono Basin since 1964. Her fascination with the steep escarpment of the Eastern Sierra joining the desert at Mono Lake, the aspen-filled canyons, the smell of sage, and arid air compels Penny to return to the Mono Basin to paint again and again.

Join us for an evening artist’s reception to open the new show, entitled “Arresting Horizons,” on Saturday, September 5. From 6:00 to 7:30pm come enjoy wine and cheese, meet Penny, and enjoy her beautiful work in the Mono Lake Committee gallery.

The show features a variety of … more »

Refreshments with Refreshing ‘Ologists: Sarah Stock and Yosemite wildlife

August 24th, 2015 by Sarah, Mono Lake Intern
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Join us on Wednesday, August 26 at 4:00pm in the Mono Lake Committee gallery for the next Refreshments with Refreshing ‘Ologists lecture from Sarah Stock.

A Sierra Nevada bighorn sheep lamb gets released into Yosemite National Park. Photo courtesy of Steven Baumgardner.

A Sierra Nevada bighorn sheep lamb gets released into Yosemite National Park. Photo courtesy of Steven Baumgardner.

Sarah is a wildlife biologist for Yosemite National Park. She oversees many different aspects relating to the park’s animals, coordinating bird and mammal program studies from day to day. As a result of her broad oversight, she has extensive knowledge about the park’s wildlife. If you’re curious to learn about how the park is managing some of its most charismatic animals, then you won’t want to miss out on this week’s event!

Sarah will be speaking about discovering the elusive Sierra Nevada red fox, restoring the endangered Sierra Nevada bighorn sheep, conserving the Great Gray Owl and Spotted Owl, and protecting Peregrine Falcons. If this is something you want to come hear about, join us on Wednesday, August 26 at 4:00pm in the Mono Lake Committee gallery. The event is free admission and light snacks and refreshments will be provided. Hope to see you there!

Mono Lake: The essence of this unique place

August 22nd, 2015 by Sandra, Birding Intern
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The tranquil Mono Lake shoreline at sunrise. Photo by Sandra Noll.

The tranquil Mono Lake shoreline at sunrise. Photo by Sandra Noll.

With less than a month remaining in my summer internship with the Mono Lake Committee, I am drawn to revisit the essence of this unique place.

Mono Lake is a vast, hyper-saline, hyper-alkaline terminal lake. It indulges intense mood swings while comfortably nestled within the mostly-arid Mono Basin now resplendent with aromatic Great Basin sagebrush and yellow-flowered rabbitbrush. Striking mountains and rolling hills surround the basin. Riparian corridors of freshwater streams feeding the lake are green and lush thanks to restoration efforts and the unexpected bounty of spring and summer rains. One’s eye is refreshed at every turn. … more »

Enter the Free Drawing … you could win a Cali4nia ski pass!

August 21st, 2015 by Ellen, Membership Coordinator
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Free-Drawing-graphic

We recently mailed tickets for our 2015 Free Drawing to Mono Lake Committee members. You must return them to be entered to win one of this year’s great prizes. We suggest that you include a $5 donation for each ticket you return, but you do not have to make a donation to enter.

You could win an iPad mini, a GoPro Camera, a Cali4nia Ski Pass, or a tempting vacation package in the Bay Area, Los Angeles, Death Valley and, of course, the Eastern Sierra! Take a look at the full prize list and then send in your tickets today.

If you’re not a Mono Lake Committee member, you still can enter the Free Drawing. Send an email with your name and address to me, Ellen King, and we’ll send you ten tickets (or more, if you ask!). Be sure to return the tickets in order to be entered into the drawing. Or, if you’re planning a visit to Lee Vining, you can fill out tickets in our Information Center & Bookstore.

Tickets must be received by December 10, 2015. Remember—you can’t win a prize if you don’t enter!

Walker Fire update: Potential evacuation alert for Lee Vining is lifted

August 20th, 2015 by Elin, Communications Coordinator
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Great news from the agencies fighting the Walker Fire today—the CodeRed Emergency Alert for Lee Vining has been lifted, which means there will not be evacuations! This applies to everything north of the Double Eagle Resort & Spa in June Lake, including the Silver Lake and Grant Lake areas. However, campgrounds in lower Lee Vining Canyon will remain closed through the weekend.

We are immensely grateful to the firefighters and agency personnel who arrived in Lee Vining quickly after the fire started, jumped right on it, fought it tirelessly, and who continue to put out spot fires and work towards full containment. In light of yesterday’s news of the three firefighters who lost their lives in northern Washington, we hope more than ever that everyone stays safe.

The current Walker Fire perimeter. Map courtesy of the Inyo National Forest.

The current Walker Fire perimeter. Map courtesy of the Inyo National Forest.

Walker Fire update for Wednesday: 35% contained, Highway 120 open

August 19th, 2015 by Elin, Communications Coordinator
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A view east toward the Mono Craters from the Walker Fire on Tuesday, August 18. Photo courtesy of incident fire crews.

A view east toward the Mono Craters from the Walker Fire on Tuesday, August 18. Photo courtesy of incident fire crews.

After several days of intense firefighting, the Walker Fire is now 35% contained at 3,715 acres. The fire crews and supporting aircraft have made good progress and as a result, Highway 120 west (the Tioga Road) has been open consistently since Monday afternoon, although no stopping is allowed on the eastern six miles of the road. In addition, the upper Lee Vining Canyon campgrounds were reopened on Monday afternoon, and remain open. The lower Lee Vining Canyon campgrounds remain closed, but from 9:00am until 3:00pm law enforcement will be escorting campers into those campgrounds to retrieve any gear left behind during evacuations. The fire has been determined to be human-caused. … more »

Walker Fire continues, road conditions changeable

August 17th, 2015 by Bartshé, Education Director
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The Walker Fire continues and Highway 120 west has been open and closed periodically with a Highway Patrol escort. Please check road conditions before you travel. Lee Vining remains under alert for possible evacuation, but we remain optimistic that an evacuation will not be necessary. Highway 395 remains clear and open without restrictions at this time.

Afternoon winds can change fire conditions dramatically as they have throughout the life of this fire, and road closures can change. Click here for up-to-date conditions reports.

Helicopter drops water from Walker Lake on spotfires near Williams Butte on August 17.

A helicopter drops water from Walker Lake on spotfires near Williams Butte on August 17.

Walker Fire boundary at the end of August  16, 2015.

The latest mapped fire boundary, now at 3,700 acres.

View of Waler Fire looking north on August 17 at appr. 11am.

Looking north across to the Walker Fire burn area at about 11:00am on August 17, conditions looked encouraging at this time. Photos by Bartshe Miller.

Walker Fire travel and road condition resources

August 17th, 2015 by Arya, Communications Director
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Conditions continue to evolve with the Walker Fire just south of Lee Vining. The two main highway arteries in the area, Highway 120 west into Yosemite and Highway 395, may need to be closed at times for fire fighting and safety. If you are traveling in the area, watch conditions carefully and plan ahead. We have gathered the resources we are using to get up-to-date information:

We will post major #walkerfire updates on:

Fire crews are based in Lee Vining and are working hard to get this fire under control, please help them be safe out there!

The good news is that you can still visit Mono Lake! Smoke conditions are variable around the Mono Basin, and continue to change as winds shift, so use your good judgement…. Places like South Tufa, the Old Marina, and County Park are easy access points to the lake, tufa towers, birds and wildlife, and interpretive activities, and these places are open to the public. For more information on where to go and what to do, you can always stop by the Mono Lake Committee Information Center & Bookstore in Lee Vining and our helpful staff can help you get where you want to go.

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