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Returning a rescued Eared Grebe to Mono Lake

Thursday, April 19th, 2018 by Nora, Lead Naturalist Guide
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On Monday, in the midst of a fiercely cold and windy snow storm, a traveling couple found an Eared Grebe in a snowbank on the side of Highway 395 near Deadman Summit. These compassionate souls scooped the small bird up into a towel and emptied their lunch out of their cooler and placed the bird inside. They drove on and brought the little guy into the Mono Lake Committee Information Center & Bookstore to ask for our advice.

This male Eared Grebe in breeding plumage had flown into a snowbank, but was uninjured. Photo by Robbie Di Paolo.

Luckily, this is not our first rodeo. We know that Eared Grebes often try to land on wet asphalt because it reflects light and resembles a body of water. Perhaps it was too windy for this poor flyer to stay in the sky on his way north to his breeding grounds. (more…)

Local Mono Lake Committee Scholarship application now online

Wednesday, April 18th, 2018 by Arya, Communications Director
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Each year the Mono Lake Committee supports local students pursuing higher education and displaying a connection to Mono Lake with two $1,000 scholarships. High school seniors living in Mono County with firm plans to attend a 2- or 4-year college within a year of graduation are eligible to apply.

Students are asked to visit Mono Lake and answer the question: Why do places like Mono Lake matter?

The application can be found here, and the deadline to apply is Friday May 11, 2018 by 5:00pm.

You can find essays written by past recipients here. If you have questions regarding the application or would like to donate to the scholarship fund please contact Gabrielle Renteria by email or by calling (760) 647-6595 x103.

Project Specialist Gabrielle and Executive Director Geoff with Mono Lake Committee scholarship recipient Charles at the 2017 Lee Vining High School graduation. Photo courtesy of David Carle.

Fishing season opener, Mono Basin campgrounds opening

Thursday, April 12th, 2018 by Elin, Communications Coordinator
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As we gear up for fishing season opener on Saturday, April 28, most campgrounds along the June Lake Loop are set to open the week before, dependent on the weather.

Fishing season opens on Saturday, April 28 this year. Photo by Elin Ljung.

Lower Lee Vining Creek
Lower Lee Vining, Aspen, and Big Bend campgrounds do not have estimated opening dates yet, but the Inyo National Forest hopes to get them open before fishing opener. There is no estimated opening date for the Lundy Canyon campground yet. (more…)

Buy your ticket now for the tenth Andrea Lawrence Award Dinner

Saturday, March 31st, 2018 by Elin, Communications Coordinator
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Buy your ticket now so you can join us in early May halfway up Mammoth Mountain … for the tenth Andrea Lawrence Award Dinner!

Andrea Lawrence Award Dinner
5:30pm on Friday, May 4, 2018
Parallax Restaurant, McCoy Station
Mammoth Mountain Ski Area

This year we’ll present the Andrea Lawrence Award to Phil Pister, retired California Department of Fish & Wildlife fishery biologist for the Eastern Sierra. Phil is a visionary desert pupfish and golden trout conservationist, has been an agent of positive ecological change, and is an advocate for and teacher of environmental ethics—he embodies the spirit of the award, which celebrates passionate engagement in community and the land.

Take a beautiful gondola ride up to McCoy Station for an evening of delicious food, inspiring company, and exceptional views as we celebrate Phil. Reserve your tickets with a $75 donation online here, or by calling (760) 647-6595 by Monday, April 16. We hope to see you there!

Farewell to Mono Lake advocate Genny Smith, 1922-2018

Saturday, March 17th, 2018 by Geoff, Executive Director
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Genny Smith, 1922–2018. Photo courtesy of Genny Smith.

On Sunday, March 4, the Eastern Sierra lost a lifelong champion with the passing of writer and conservationist Genny Smith at age 96.

Genny played a key role in protecting Mono Lake, getting involved in 1982 as a Board member of the young Mono Lake Committee at a time when court battles with the Los Angeles Department of Water & Power were heating up. She was a strong advocate for protecting the special wild places that make California so wonderful, and she had the determination and strategic thinking to turn such lofty goals into real accomplishments. She helped hone the strategy of recruiting members to the cause, making sure that the Committee was building a coalition of people who cared about Mono Lake for the long haul. In later years as a Board Member Emeritus she was always available to give advice—and inspiration—on the continuing efforts to protect this place. (more…)

This year’s Wild & Scenic Film Festival in Los Angeles—a wild success

Tuesday, March 13th, 2018 by Gabrielle, Project Specialist
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Every March, Mono Lake Committee staff make their annual migration to the southern end of the aqueduct to host the Wild & Scenic Film Festival in Los Angeles. The event serves as a way to connect with members and friends in Los Angeles as well as a fundraiser for the Committee’s Outdoor Education Center programs.

Committee staff with a student volunteer who will be participating in the OEC program this May. Photo by Andrew Youssef.

This year, in an effort to reach more potential members, we switched to two new venues—the Monica Film Center in Santa Monica and the Sierra Madre Playhouse. The showings at both venues were a huge success! (more…)

Reflections on 40 years: A trip in the way-back machine to the early Mono Lake Committee

Wednesday, March 7th, 2018 by Sally, Board of Directors
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Half a lifetime for a person, 40 years is negligible for a 760,000-year-old lake. As an old timer (or the “OG”—Original Gangster—as I was recently called by a young staff member), here’s my brief summary of the first four decades of the Mono Lake Committee—our story, as I will someday tell my grandkids.

In the 1970s, only a handful of sightseers, residents, and birdwatchers understood that Mono Lake was declining fast due to excessive creek diversions. In 1976, a dozen undergraduates inventoried the basin to describe a simple but very productive ecosystem that would be lost if it dried up, which it was on track to do.

Mono Lake Committee archive photo.

So our group of shaggy biologists organized a non-profit to use legal, legislative, and educational means specifically to help Mono Lake. Love of the lake overcame our hesitation of things unfamiliar. Why else would we be on the 40th floor of a San Francisco law office building trying to understand the finer points of 501(c)(3) versus 501(c)(4) non-profits in our best no-holes jeans? (more…)

We’re hiring: Mono Lake Committee seasonal jobs available

Wednesday, February 21st, 2018 by Elin, Communications Coordinator
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If you’ve always wanted to spend a summer at Mono Lake, now is your chance—we still have open seasonal staff positions for summer 2018, including Mono Lake Intern, Canoe Program Coordinator, Outdoor Education Instructor, and Information Center & Bookstore Assistant.

Seasonal staff positions are still available—apply to spend a summer canoeing on Mono Lake with us. Photo by Bartshe Miller.

Summer at Mono Lake is the busiest and most activity-filled season, and seasonal staff jobs include leading interpretive tours, helping visitors in the bookstore, and canoeing on Mono Lake, among many other varied tasks. We accept applications from people of all ages, whether you’re looking for an internship between college semesters, or you’re interested in a post-retirement summer of work.

To apply, please send a cover letter and résumé to Office Director Jessica Horn, either by email or by mail to PO Box 29, Lee Vining, CA 93541.

Save the date: Andrea Lawrence Award Dinner is May 4, 2018

Tuesday, February 20th, 2018 by Lily, Information Center & Bookstore Manager
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Save the date! Plan to join the Mono Lake Committee in commemorating Andrea Lawrence and her continuing legacy in the Eastern Sierra with the presentation of the Andrea Lawrence Award celebrating passionate engagement in community and the land.

Andrea Lawrence Award Dinner
5:30pm on Friday, May 4, 2018
Parallax Restaurant, McCoy Station
Mammoth Mountain Ski Area

Take a beautiful gondola ride up to McCoy Station for an evening of delicious food, inspiring company, and exceptional views as well as a celebration of the Andrea Lawrence Award recipient.

Mono Lake Committee Information Center & Bookstore closed January 31

Friday, January 26th, 2018 by Lily, Information Center & Bookstore Manager
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The Mono Lake Committee Information Center & Bookstore will be closed on Wednesday, January 31 for our annual inventory count.

Lisa and Terry tally squeaky plush birds at last year’s inventory. Photo by Elin Ljung.

We will resume winter hours—9:00am to 5:00pm—on Thursday, February 1. We apologize for any inconvenience, and we hope to see you all after our inventory day is complete!

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The Mono Lake Committee is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization.