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Mono Lake Interns then and now: Erik Lyon

August 4th, 2014 by Mono Lake Committee Staff
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Erik as an “Iron Ranger” in the Trail Chic Fashion Show 2013. Photo by of Arya Degenhardt.

This post was written by Julie Curtis, 2014 Mono Lake Intern.

Regulars to Mono Lake will likely remember Erik Lyon, a wonderfully goofy guy (see photo below) who worked at the Mono Lake Committee during the summers of 2011 to 2013. Beloved by staff, Erik is missed this summer, but we are thrilled to hear about his new exciting life in Seattle, Washington.

Erik’s first experience with Mono Lake was unusual … in that he hated it. Dragged to Mono Lake by his parents during a long road trip, Erik was sick and exhausted when he first met the beautiful tufa tours he came to love. An experience so terrible, he claims to lack much memory of it.

Erik demonstrates how tufa is made during one of the many South Tufa tours he led for visitors. Photo by Lynette Villagomez.

Thankfully Erik returned to South Tufa in much better health three years after that first “dreamlike visit” to the shores of Mono Lake. In the fall of 2010 he came here with Semester in the West, a semester-long program that takes students from Whitman College traveling to understand the diverse ecosystems and communities found along the west coast. He recalls this visit to the lake much more fondly with memories of former Outdoor Education Instructor Rosa Brey inspiring the group with the Mono Lake story down at Navy Beach.

The following two consecutive years in 2011 and 2012, Erik returned once more to Lee Vining, this time as an intern for the Mono Lake Committee. The highlights of his summers were giving tours even though as most interns would agree, they were a constant source of uneasy nerves. Erik loved the reward of “connecting with visitors, making them laugh, and teaching them about a place [he] loved.” In his third and final summer with the Mono Lake Committee, Erik worked as a Project Specialist, which meant far fewer tours, but more responsibility, which can also be quite nerve-wracking.

Since leaving the Mono Basin, Erik has settled for the time being in Seattle, and is currently an Associate Consultant with EMI Consulting, a company that works with utilities to plan and evaluate energy efficiency programs. A combination of Erik’s intelligence and reputable communicative skills make him a perfect fit at a company that helps clients determine the meaning of data and transform it into actionable strategies. In his first two months Erik has already given 29 in-depth interviews with participants of a pilot heat pump study in Maine and spent a week in Ohio researching the availability of inefficient incandescent light bulbs that are being phased out.

Erik enjoying the big city of Seattle. Photo courtesy of Erik Lyon.

Even with a busy work schedule, Erik has made sure to find time to continue doing the things he loves. A highlight from his time in Ohio was watching pig racing at the Ohio state fair. While in Seattle, he bikes to work every day from his home in the Capitol Hill neighborhood to the EMI Consulting office in Pioneer Square downtown. He also has been hiking, kayaking, cultivating a small garden, playing for a recreational volleyball team, and adding to his 2014 bird list (he’s made it to 169 species, including the illustrious Blue Jay!). Of Seattle, Erik says, “It’s no Lee Vining, but I’m having a good time here.”

Erik continuing to enjoy the great outdoors while kayaking in Seattle. Photo courtesy of Erik Lyon.

When I asked Erik to reflect on his time at Mono Lake he said, “After spending 12 months across three summers in Lee Vining, it feels like a second home to me.” Although we all wish Erik was back to his home-away-from-home, we enjoy seeing all he is accomplishing up in Seattle and know he will continue to do great things!

One Response to “Mono Lake Interns then and now: Erik Lyon”

  1. avatar Tina Says:

    Yay Erik! How was Moonlight Cafe? Amazing, right?