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Saving the gulls: The fence is up

Tuesday, April 4th, 2017 by Mono Lake Committee Staff
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This post was written by Terry McLaughlin, 2012 Outdoor Experiences Lead Instructor, 2014 & 2015 Interim Information Center & Bookstore Manager, and 2015–2017 Membership Assistant.

Last Wednesday my husband and I struck out across the landbridge heading towards Negit Island. Our destination: check out the one-mile-long temporary fence being installed to protect the nesting California Gulls.

Gull researcher Kristie Nelson installs wildlife cameras on the temporary electrified fence that stretches across Mono Lake’s landbridge, protecting nesting California Gulls from coyote predation. Photo by Terry McLaughlin.

Thanks to all the donors who supported a successful #LongLivetheGulls Indiegogo campaign to raise funds to purchase the fence materials. Now the Mono Lake Committee had to meet a lofty goal: The fence had to be installed and fully functional by April 1. (more…)

A student’s first snow, high above Mono Lake

Tuesday, November 1st, 2016 by Mono Lake Committee Staff
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This post was written by Lisa Godenick, 2016 Outdoor Education Instructor.

The Roosevelt High Outsiders pause for a breath on their high-altitude snow hike. Photo by Santiago Escruceria.

The Roosevelt High Outsiders pause for a breath on their high-altitude snow hike. Photo by Santiago Escruceria.

Written from the perspective of students from Roosevelt High School.

I am from Guatemala. I have never seen snow.

I am from Mexico. I have never seen snow.

I am from El Salvador. I have never seen snow.

I LOVE SNOW! ME GUSTA LA NIEVE!

I go to Roosevelt High School. I should be a senior, but because I have to pass all four of the English Language Development courses, I am a sophomore. This is my first time in (more…)

“The story of Mono Lake gives me hope”

Wednesday, October 12th, 2016 by Mono Lake Committee Staff
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This post was written by Lisa Godenick, 2016 Outdoor Education Instructor.

The latest group that traveled to the Mono Basin Outdoor Education Center from Los Angeles was Communities for a Better Environment (CBE). Aimed at empowering communities of color and low-income communities, CBE works on a myriad of environmental issues in neighborhoods to improve public health, air quality, and drinking water.

Members of CBE pause for a group photo after learning about the brine shrimp and the alkali fly. Photo by Antonia Chihuahua.

Members of CBE pause for a group photo after learning about the brine shrimp and the alkali fly. Photo by Antonia Chihuahua.

There were 15 participants, including staff, who came for a week of experiential education in the Mono Basin. Communities for a Better Environment was founded in the same year as the Mono Lake Committee, 1978. (more…)

Results are in for the 36th annual Tioga Pass Run

Friday, September 16th, 2016 by Mono Lake Committee Staff
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This post was written by Grace Aleman, 2015 Information Center & Bookstore Assistant and 2016 Mono Lake Intern.

Last Sunday, September 11, 105 runners and 32 walkers made their way up the steep Tioga Pass, making this the largest Tioga Pass Run in the event’s 36-year history. The athletes started in front of the Mono Lake Committee in Lee Vining and finished at the entrance to Yosemite National Park, 12.4 miles and 3,165 feet of elevation later.

Athletes head up Tioga Pass last Sunday. Photo by Erv Nichols.

Athletes head up Tioga Pass last Sunday. Photo by Erv Nichols.

The first to cross the finish line for the second year in a row was Patrick Parsel of South Lake Tahoe with the time 1:27:18, two minutes faster than his time last year. For the third year in a row Jessica Francois, Lee Vining local and former Mono Lake Committee staff member, was the first female finisher with the time 1:44:19 (more…)

Refreshing ‘Ologists: ENSO, atmospheric rivers, and changing midlatitude weather

Monday, September 12th, 2016 by Mono Lake Committee Staff
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This post was written by Grace Aleman, 2015 Information Center & Bookstore Assistant and 2016 Mono Lake Intern.

Snow at Parker Lake in April 2016. Photo by Andrew Youssef.

Snow on peaks surrounding Parker Lake in April 2016. Photo by Andrew Youssef.

Join us for the last talk of the Refreshing ‘Ologist series this Wednesday, September 14 at 4:00pm in the gallery at the Mono Lake Committee Information Center & Bookstore.

This week avalanche forecaster Sue Burak will discuss how El Nino Southern Oscilliation (ENSO) affects—or doesn’t affect—above-average snowfall, and the hype behind last winter’s El Nino. She will also discuss how atmospheric rivers contribute to the amount of precipitation California receives in the cool season. Lastly, Sue will talk about how the melting Arctic is changing the weather at midlatitudes.

Many thanks to all of the wonderful presenters we’ve had throughout the summer, and thank you to everyone who has attended! Hope to see you all for our last presentation of the summer!

The 2016 Mono Lake guided bird walk season

Wednesday, September 7th, 2016 by Mono Lake Committee Staff
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This post was written by Sandra Noll, Birding Intern in 2014, 2015, & 2016.

Hard to fathom that season of guided bird walks has come to an end. Erv and I led our last County Park bird walk yesterday and State Park ranger Dave Marquart led his last on Sunday. It seems we just arrived to serve our third summer as Mono Lake Committee Birding Interns!

An adult Osprey perches watchfully atop a tufa tower near its nest . Photo by Sandra Noll.

An adult Osprey perches atop a tufa tower near its nest . Photo by Sandra Noll.

It has been a great season of birds from “locals” and early spring migrants through the nesting season to, most recently, early fall migrants. These include large numbers of Eared Grebes and phalaropes beginning to stage on Mono Lake where they molt and gain weight for the final legs of their migrations to wintering areas further south. Mono Lake’s status as an internationally important bird area is especially apparent this time of year.

It has been a delight and privilege to introduce visitors from the US and around the world to this beautiful, bountiful place and the work of the Mono Lake Committee to protect, restore, and educate. And it is my pleasure to leave you with a few highlights!

(more…)

Refreshing ‘Ologists: California Spotted Owls and fire

Sunday, September 4th, 2016 by Mono Lake Committee Staff
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This post was written by Grace Aleman, 2015 Information Center & Bookstore Assistant and 2016 Mono Lake Intern.

The Refreshing ‘Ologist series continues this Wednesday, September 7 at 4:00pm in the Mono Lake Committee gallery.

A Spotted Owl in a redwood forest. Photo courtesy of Michel Nichols/National Geographic Creative.

A Spotted Owl in a redwood forest. Photo courtesy of Michel Nichols/National Geographic Creative.

Join us to to learn how fire affects California Spotted Owl habitat. Fire has long been a part of the Sierra Nevada forests, but many years of fire suppression have lead to an increase in stand-replacing fires. Yosemite National Park biologist Stephanie Eyes will discuss how these high-intensity fires affect California Spotted Owl habitat use, and are a potential cause of habitat loss. Stephanie used radio telemetry to monitor California Spotted Owls and determine if their foraging patterns showed preference different levels of burned forest.

Refreshing ‘Ologists: Bats in Yosemite’s Poopenaut Valley

Sunday, August 28th, 2016 by Mono Lake Committee Staff
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This post was written by Grace Aleman, 2015 Information Center & Bookstore Assistant and 2016 Mono Lake Intern.

After a one-week hiatus, the Refreshing ‘Ologist series continues this Wednesday, August 31 at 4:00pm in the Mono Lake Committee gallery.

Elin

A day-flying bat in the Mono Basin (likely a big brown bat); join us on Wednesday to hear about the Poopenaut Valley bat species. Photo by Elin Ljung.

Yosemite National Park is home to 17 different bat species, five of which have special status due to statewide population declines. Much of the bat decline in California is due habitat loss, making the remaining pieces of bat habitat even more critical. Most of the bat species found in Yosemite are found in the Poopenaut Valley—a unique area near Hetch Hetchy Reservoir with meadows, riparian habitats, and a seasonal pond. Join to hear from Yosemite biologist Breeanne Jackson about the current monitoring projects regarding bats in the Poopenaut Valley.

Coming to an end: Reflections from two summers in the Mono Basin

Friday, August 19th, 2016 by Mono Lake Committee Staff
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This post was written by Adam Dalton, 2014 & 2016 Mono Lake Intern.

“My unorthodox journey to the Eastern Sierra and first two weeks of work at the Mono Lake Committee have been life-changing experiences (especially for someone who had never lived on his own or seen the American West before)….” —me, two years ago

Gabby, Grace, Adam and Connor hear about the LA Aqueduct from Geoff during intern training. Photo by Erv Nichols.

Gabby, Grace, Adam and Connor hear about the LA Aqueduct from Geoff during intern training. Photo by Erv Nichols.

Over two years ago the Mono Lake Committee took a chance and hired me, despite my intended economics major, failure to travel west of Omaha, Nebraska, and previous work experience consisting solely of foodservice-based work study at Grinnell College and technology replacement duties for Mason City, Iowa’s community school district. As you can see in my previous Mono-logue post, I was absolutely blown away by my initial experiences in the Mono Basin.

A lot has changed in my life since I first interned at the Mono Lake Committee two years ago; I’ve graduated from (more…)

Luna: A full moonrise during a trip to Mono Lake

Wednesday, August 17th, 2016 by Mono Lake Committee Staff
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This post was written by Lisa Godenick, 2016 Outdoor Education Instructor.

The full moon begins to show its subtle beauty as I sit atop Sagehen Mountain looking towards the White Mountains. We are here with Pacoima Beautiful, the first environmental justice non-profit in the Northeast San Fernando Valley.

This was the first moonrise some of the Pacoima Beautiful students had ever seen. Photo by Santiago Escruceria.

This was the first moonrise some of the Pacoima Beautiful students had ever seen. Photo by Santiago Escruceria.

There are ten students and four leaders, and we are all huddled together beneath the stars in awe of the moonrise; nothing separates us from the Milky Way. The air feels cool, but not cold, despite the wind. After contemplation, the students embark on a solo walk back to the vehicles. This is a chance for everyone in the group to meditate and practice presence, something difficult to come by in our modern world. (more…)

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