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Augie Hess, 1914–2018: What a wonderful life

Friday, November 30th, 2018 by Ellen, Membership Coordinator

Augie Hess, 1914–2018. Photo courtesy of the Mono Basin Historical Society.

Augie Hess passed away on October 20, just five days shy of what would have been his 104th birthday. Even as a centenarian Augie lived an active lifestyle that was the envy of people many years younger. He traveled with his family, played golf as often as he could, and went to see his beloved San Francisco Giants play at AT&T Park at the age of 102.

Augie & the Mono Lake Committee

Augie’s life intersected with the Mono Lake Committee on more than one occasion. Committee staff interviewed longtime local residents as part of a project to document conditions in the Mono Basin prior to the start of DWP water diversions in 1941. Augie sat down for an interview in 1991. He described meadows with grass fed by springs, ponds with thousands of ducks and geese, fish in all the streams. He recalled that Rush Creek always had water (more…)

Recipients of the 2016 Mono Lake Committee Scholarship

Thursday, June 23rd, 2016 by Ellen, Membership Coordinator

This month at graduation, the 2016 Mono Lake Committee Scholarship was awarded to Lee Vining High School seniors Berlin Del Aguila and Julie Harris. They demonstrated a clear connection to the Mono Basin in their essays, and we wish them all the best as they spread their wings and head for college.

Membership Coordinator Ellen King with scholarship recipient Berlin Del Aguila. Photo by Geoff McQuilkin.

Membership Coordinator Ellen King with scholarship recipient Berlin Del Aguila. Photo by Geoff McQuilkin.

From Berlin’s essay: “The longer I sit near the lake, appreciating the aromas, the songs of the birds, and the wildlife that surround it, I’m able to reflect on life and realize the things that are (more…)

Mono Lake Committee Scholarship deadline extended

Monday, April 25th, 2016 by Ellen, Membership Coordinator

The deadline for submitting applications for the Mono Lake Committee scholarship has been extended to Friday, May 13 at 5:00pm. Completed applications can be mailed to PO Box 29, Lee Vining, CA 93541 or hand delivered to our Information Center & Bookstore, open every day from 9:00am to 5:00pm.

Each year the Committee awards two $1,000 scholarships to local students who display a personal connection with Mono Lake and the Mono Lake story. Mono County resident high school seniors who have firm plans to attend a two- or four-year college within a year of graduation qualify.

Last year the scholarship selection team of Robbie, Ellen, Arya, and Elin fueled their deliberations with Mono Cone. Photo by Elin Ljung.

Each year the scholarship selection team gets out of the office to talk through the essays with a fresh change of scenery. Last year that also included fresh Mono Cone! Photo by Elin Ljung.

“Those carpet squares were older than the State Water Board decision….”

Wednesday, April 20th, 2016 by Ellen, Membership Coordinator

Last November the 20-year-old carpet in the Mono Lake Committee ice house office building was replaced with low-VOC, durable carpet squares, thanks to the generosity and practical sense of Board Chair Sally Gaines. You can read more about it on page 26 in the 2016 Winter & Spring Mono Lake Newsletter.

The recarpeted, repainted, gallery with a new show from local artist Ann Piersall. Photo by Elin Ljung.

The re-carpeted, re-painted gallery with a new show from local artist Ann Piersall. Photo by Elin Ljung.

The carpet in the office and gallery in our main building was also 20 years old, but not quite as worn, so at first we had no plans to replace it. But, as often happens, the contrast between the new and the old made us realize that it was time to do so. Fortunately, (more…)

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

Friday, August 21st, 2015 by Ellen, Membership Coordinator


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!

2013 Mono Lake Committee Scholarship recipients

Saturday, June 8th, 2013 by Ellen, Membership Coordinator

We are proud to announce the recipients of the 2013 Mono Lake Committee Scholarship. Tristan Blommer and Cortney Duro, both seniors at Lee Vining High School, wrote essays that won them $1,000 each to help with their education expenses.

Committee Communications Director Arya Degenhardt with Lee Vining High School graduate Cortney Duro.


A serendipitous anniversary….

Tuesday, May 29th, 2012 by Ellen, Membership Coordinator

On Friday, May 25 the fence in front of the Committee’s remodel was opened, allowing visitors in town for Memorial Day weekend to walk up the new steps and across the new deck into our Information Center & Bookstore. Plumbers, electricians, carpenters, and concrete specialists all worked hard to make this happen, and we were happy they did so.

We were even happier when we realized that we were celebrating an anniversary—on the very same day in 1979, the Mono Lake Committee Information Center & Bookstore first opened its doors! What great serendipity.

Rose and Morgan enjoy the new front steps last Friday. Photo by Geoff McQuilkin.

You can’t win if you don’t enter!

Tuesday, August 16th, 2011 by Ellen, Membership Coordinator

Enter the 2011 Mono Lake Committee Free Drawing today for a chance to win one of the great prizes! It costs nothing to enter (it is, after all, a Free Drawing!) but we would appreciate a donation of $5.00 per ticket. You could win an Apple iPad2, a Canon EOS Rebel 3 digital camera, one of several vacation packages, or a camping equipment package. Take a look at the complete list of prizes. If you’ve already received your tickets, return them to us in order to enter. If you need tickets, email Ellen with your name and address. Prize-winning tickets will be drawn on November 30, 2011.

Thoughts on a year of water

Friday, October 15th, 2010 by Ellen, Membership Coordinator

Gleeful snowflakes melt
Dripping, chuckling, in the sun
Tumbling into spring.

At the cool blue sea
Visitors from far away
Celebrate new life.

Misty quiet lake
Circled by a band of gold
Waits for ice to form.

Evening clouds pile high
Sunrise shows what darkness hid
Sparkling new white snow.

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