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The Mono-logue » Andrew, Digital Engagement Coordinator

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Leaving a legacy at Mono Lake

Tuesday, October 31st, 2017 by Andrew, Digital Engagement Coordinator
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Last spring, I sat down with Mono Lake Committee members Vern Gersh and Terry McLaughlin just before their retirement and talked with them about what Mono Lake means to them and why they decided to put the Committee in their estate plans.

As I talked with them, I was inspired by their passion and love for this place. They shared with me stories from their years of living in Lee Vining and working at the Committee, from enjoying beautiful evening walks to see the sunset to getting stuck in “Mono muck” after their first time paddling a kayak on the lake.

Over the past few months, I’ve put together a short video featuring Terry and Vern’s story. In the video, you’ll hear them reflect on the sublime beauty of the Mono Basin, the remarkable ecological productivity of Mono Lake, and the important role the Mono Lake Committee plays to ensure that this place continues to be protected and restored.

Vern’s parting words at the end of the video still resonate with me: “It’s not necessarily leaving things to the people that are on the earth, but it’s also leaving a portion of the earth to the people who are still here.”

Tioga Pass temporarily closing tonight

Thursday, October 19th, 2017 by Andrew, Digital Engagement Coordinator
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Caltrans has announced that Tioga Pass (Highway 120) will temporarily close this evening at 5:00pm at the lower gate due to incoming inclement weather. The road will be reevaluated on Friday.

Additionally, State Route 108 (Sonora Pass) will close from Kennedy Meadows to the east side winter closure gate (west of Pickel Meadows) at 3:00pm today. State Route 4 (Ebbetts Pass) will close from Lake Alpine to gate #3 (west of Silver Creek campground) at 9:00pm today.

Tioga Pass will temporarily close today at 5:00pm due to an incoming storm. Photo from May 2017 by Bartshe Miller.

Always check current road conditions and weather before making a trip to the Eastern Sierra, and give us a call for the most current Tioga Pass information: (760) 647-6595.

Timelapse video: Watch Mono Lake rise before your eyes

Friday, October 13th, 2017 by Andrew, Digital Engagement Coordinator
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So far in 2017, Mono Lake has risen an astounding 4.5 vertical feet before leveling off in the past month. About 3 feet of that total lake rise occurred from mid-May to mid-August. Watch below for a quick 20-second timelapse showing the incredible lake rise this summer, or scroll down and see the full two-and-half-minute timelapse video.

(more…)

Observing four years of an ever-changing Mono Lake

Monday, August 21st, 2017 by Andrew, Digital Engagement Coordinator
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June 2014—Mono Lake level: 6380.4 feet above sea level

One of my first visits to Mono Lake on a full moon in 2014. Photo by Andrew Youssef.

Just three years ago, during the middle of California’s historic drought, I visited Mono Lake for the first time. The large, salty lake in the middle of the high desert amazed me and I vividly remember admiring the incredible tufa towers for the first time one summer evening. That was before I worked for the Mono Lake Committee, before I understood the significance of Mono Lake’s level, and the last time I would see the lake with that much water until this month (August 2017). (more…)

Learn more on a Mono Lake Committee field seminar

Monday, August 7th, 2017 by Andrew, Digital Engagement Coordinator
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Have you ever wanted to learn more about the birds that migrate through the Mono Basin, experience Mono Lake by moonlight, learn about the ecosystem impacts of recent fires, or find the best places to see the aspen leaves turn gold in the fall? Mono Lake Committee field seminars offer something for everyone—whether you’re just here for a short time and want to spend a half day with an expert instructor or if you’ll be here longer for one of our three-day seminars. There are still over 20 field seminars you can register for through October. Read more about all the seminars that still have space below.

August

There are still over 20 field seminars you can register for through October, including Geology of the Mono Basin with Greg Stock. Photo by Andrew Youssef.

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Seminar spotlight: Mono Basin Mammals

Monday, July 10th, 2017 by Andrew, Digital Engagement Coordinator
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Small mammals like squirrels, chipmunks, kangaroo rats, and mice scurry around us humans all the time here in the Mono Basin, but how often do you actually get to really see them? If you’re interested in seeing the Mono Basin’s mammals up close (you might even get to hold one!), you’re in luck—there is still space available in the Mono Basin Mammals field seminar next week.

Mono Basin Mammals • July 21–23 • $165 per person/$150 for members • sign up here • view full itinerary here

Biologist and Field Seminar instructor John Harris has studied the Mono Basin’s mammals since the 1970s. Photo by Elin Ljung.

Instructor John Harris has studied the Mono Basin’s mammals for decades, and has led many popular field seminars for the Mono Lake Committee and at the Mono Basin Bird Chautauqua. John catches the mammals in live traps, thereby allowing seminar participants to see these fascinating creatures up close.

The group visits the Tioga Pass high country to look for marmots and pikas during the seminar. Photo by Elin Ljung.

If you have never seen the tuft on a kangaroo rat’s tail, been able to compare the stripes of different chipmunk species, or watched families of pikas busily gathering grass for the winter, this seminar will show you all that and more. More mammals occur in the Mono Basin than in many states, from its desert sand dunes to Sierra forests and alpine meadows. This class will include live-trapping, field observation, learning about tracks, and identifying skulls, with a focus on identification and adaptations to Mono’s varied environments. Sign up now for a fascinating weekend in the Mono Basin, in the company of its smallest mammals.

More mammals occur in the Mono Basin than in many entire states, and identifying those varied species is much easier with John’s help. Photo by Sandra Noll.

Mono Basin Mammals • July 21–23 • $165 per person/$150 for members • sign up here • view full itinerary here

Seminar spotlight: High Country Plants & Habitats—how are they coping with climate change?

Tuesday, July 4th, 2017 by Andrew, Digital Engagement Coordinator
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After an extraordinarily wet winter, this will certainly be an exciting year for wildflowers. We’ve already been delighted with the number of blooms in the Mono Basin and as the snow continues to melt at the higher elevations, there will be so many more to enjoy.

Join instructor Ann Howald for her field seminar High Country Plants & Habitats July 28–30. Photo by Robert Di Paolo.

Come join renowned botanist Ann Howald for her field seminar High Country Plants & Habitats, which will have a special focus on the ways high-elevation plants and animals of the Mono Basin are affected by climate change, now and in the future. During this field seminar, Ann will take you to sub-alpine meadows and forests, shores of sub-alpine lakes, streams that cascade toward Mono Lake, and natural rock gardens. (more…)

Lee Vining Creek Trail closes after record runoff

Friday, June 23rd, 2017 by Andrew, Digital Engagement Coordinator
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Over the past couple of years, I’ve walked the Lee Vining Creek trail more times than I can count. In the fall, I enjoy the golden aspens along the calm stream. In winter, I’ve trekked across the trail in deep snow on skis and on foot, marveling at the beauty and silence of that quiet season. Spring means the emergence of wildflowers and the beginning of the runoff season, while in summer all the plants burst back to life, lizards dart across the trail again, birds fly above, and the creek is raging as the runoff reaches its peak.

Lee Vining Creek’s braided channels are full and rushing with water during this peak runoff season. Unfortunately, the Lee Vining Creek Trail has been washed out and is closed temporarily. Photo by Andrew Youssef.

Walking the trail yesterday, this trail I have followed numerous times before, I felt transported to an entirely new place. (more…)

Birders flock to Mono Lake for the Mono Basin Bird Chautauqua

Thursday, June 22nd, 2017 by Andrew, Digital Engagement Coordinator
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Last weekend, more than 300 people and many more birds flocked to the Mono Basin for the sixteenth annual Mono Basin Bird Chautauqua. The Chautauqua brings birders together to enhance appreciation and understanding of the Mono Basin’s diverse and abundant bird life and to educate the public about this area’s value to birds and people. This year’s event featured over 100 programs to choose from, including field trips, lectures, workshops, and more.

Locating Hermit Thrushes near 10,000 feet above sea level at Virginia Lakes. Photo by Elin Ljung.

This year, Chautauqua participants saw an impressive 151 species of birds. Some exciting finds this weekend included Indigo Buntings near Lundy Canyon, a pair of Sandhill Cranes and a Long-tailed Jaeger in Bridgeport, and the rare Chestnut-sided Warbler near June Lake.

In addition to birds, the Chautauqua celebrates many other (more…)

There’s still time to register for the Mono Basin Bird Chautauqua

Saturday, June 10th, 2017 by Andrew, Digital Engagement Coordinator
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The sixteenth annual Mono Basin Bird Chautauqua kicks off next week with over 300 participants, over 50 presenters, and more than 100 programs! Many programs are still open, including some free programs open to all, so take a look and sign up for them before they fill. You can find full trip descriptions for all of the open trips on the Chautauqua website.

Bullock’s Orioles are one of the species you could spot at the Mono Basin Bird Chautauqua. Photo by Santiago Escruceria.

OPEN PROGRAMS: (more…)

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