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Tioga Pass, Sonora Pass closing this week

Monday, November 19th, 2018 by Elin, Communications Coordinator
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With the first winter storm in the forecast this week, the National Park Service has announced that Tioga Pass (Highway 120 west) will close at 6:00pm tomorrow, Tuesday, November 20.

Tioga Pass will close tomorrow evening at 6:00pm due to incoming winter weather. Photo by Bartshe Miller from February 15, 2018.

In addition, Caltrans has announced that Ebbetts Pass (Highway 4) will close at 3:00pm tomorrow and Sonora Pass (Highway 108) will close at noon on Wednesday, November 21. Both agencies have noted that these closures are not necessarily the long-term seasonal closures yet. There are no expected re-opening times for the roads; that is weather-dependent.

A glimpse into Lee Vining’s nightlife: Foxes, raccoons, and more!

Sunday, October 21st, 2018 by Nora, Lead Naturalist Guide
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Last week, diners at Epic Cafe at the south end of town observed a red fox running through the cafe’s lawn at night, sniffing for scraps dropped by messy eaters.

Here’s the red fox seen at Epic Cafe. Notice its black ears, black feet, and white tip of the tail. It is larger than a gray fox, with longer legs and a bushier tail.

Not only is this stunning creature beautiful for visitors to observe, it is also quite rare in the area and the sighting sparked the interest of local agencies, including Yosemite National Park and the California Department of Fish & Wildlife. It has the potential to be an extremely rare Sierra Nevada red fox (Vulpes vulpes necator), a subspecies of the more widespread red fox (Vulpes vulpes)It could also be a non-native subspecies with Great Basin or fur farm ancestry. The only way to tell for sure is to gather genetic data—either fur or scat. (more…)

Guided trips to the best fall color spots at Mono Lake

Thursday, October 4th, 2018 by Nora, Lead Naturalist Guide
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We had our first few fall color trips of the year this past week, and it is beyond gorgeous out there! The higher elevations (8,500′–10,000′) have some beautiful patches of red, yellow, and orange groves, and we just got dusted with the first snow of the season on tall peaks along the crest. Now the color is moving down the slopes—the canyons and creeks in the Mono Basin will be glowing in the next two weeks.

Join Nora Livingston to visit the best fall color locations in the Mono Basin right now. Photo by Bartshe Miller.

Want to learn more about the science behind fall colors and the natural history of these amazing trees that paint our mountains gold and crimson in the fall? Come join me on our Fall Color Foray field seminars and experience them for yourself—October 11 and 15, 8:00am to 12:00noon. I am also available for custom fall color tours to take you to the best spots for viewing and photography. (more…)

Fall colors appearing in the Mono Basin

Tuesday, September 25th, 2018 by Max, Mono Lake Intern
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As we say goodbye to summer and hello to another autumn, so too do we welcome back the beautiful fall colors!

The beginning of fall colors season, as seen from Conway Summit on September 22, 2018. Photo by Max Price.

Most of the aspen leaves are still bright green, doing their best to absorb the sun’s energy for as long into the growing season as possible, however sightings of yellow patches have been reported. The intense patchwork of lime-green and lemon-yellow has left the aspen groves looking like the citrus bin in your local produce aisle.

The fall colors are still in the early stages of their season, but (more…)

Fall colors season begins soon

Thursday, September 13th, 2018 by Max, Mono Lake Intern
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It’s that time of year again! Yes, we are already halfway through September and the first official day of fall is just around the corner. As we welcome the cooler mornings, migrating Eared Grebes, and the occasional high-elevation snow flurry, we can also look forward to the much-anticipated fall colors. If fires or a busy schedule kept you from visiting Mono Basin this summer, don’t fret! You still have an opportunity to catch a glimpse of what helps make the basin so spectacular—the changing hues of vibrant aspen trees.

So far there were only a few spots of fall color high up in Lundy Canyon on Monday, September 10. Photo by Elin Ljung.

Fall colors haven’t quite started to display in the Mono Basin quite yet, but within the next week we can expect to see some hints of yellow or orange streaks, especially at the higher elevations. Mid-September to mid-October is generally (more…)

Refreshing ‘Ologists: Effects of climate change on mountain ecosystems with Connie Millar

Sunday, September 9th, 2018 by Joslyn, Project Specialist
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Join us on Wednesday, September 12 at 4:00pm in the Mono Lake Committee gallery for this week’s Refreshments with Refreshing ‘Ologists presentation. Connie Millar, US Forest Service Senior Research Ecologist, will be here to discuss the effects of climate change on mountain ecosystems. If you can join us, register here for this free program!

A pika near Virginia Lakes. Connie will be discussing her research on pikas, which are particularly vulnerable to rising temperatures. Photo courtesy of Ken Hickman.

Connie will provide an overview of her research into the responses of mountain ecosystems—in particular, pines and pikas—to changing climates. With information on how species responded to (more…)

Free guided tours at Mono Lake: Fall schedule

Saturday, September 8th, 2018 by Max, Mono Lake Intern
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The seasons are starting to shift and with that comes a shift in the Mono Basin interpretative tour schedule. Join a naturalist for a free guided South Tufa tour or a Stars Over Mono talk this fall—both are great ways to experience the Mono Basin from a new perspective and learn something new, no matter if you’re a new visitor or you return every year.

Join us at South Tufa on Monday nights this fall for the free Stars Over Mono program. Photo courtesy of Gowrishankar Lakshminarayanan.

This fall, South Tufa tours will be offered to visitors on Saturdays and Sundays at 1:00pm and will begin at the South Tufa kiosk. These tours will be led by a naturalist from the (more…)

Mono Lake Committee initiates study of Mono Basin glaciers

Friday, September 7th, 2018 by Mono Lake Committee Staff
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Jace Shuler, a junior math major at Boston College, started a study of Mono Basin glaciers when he worked at the Mono Lake Committee this summer. This post was written by Jace.

When I tell people that I spent the summer studying and mapping the glaciers in the Mono Basin, the question I always seem to get is, “There are glaciers around Mono Lake?” The short answer is, yes, there are, and they are of great interest to the Mono Lake Committee.

The first step of my project with the Committee was to identify what exists in the area, both in terms of glaciers and data about those glaciers. From there (more…)

Refreshing ‘Ologists: Insects & conservation with Kristie Nelson

Sunday, September 2nd, 2018 by Joslyn, Project Specialist
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Join us on Wednesday, September 5 at 4:00pm in the Mono Lake Committee gallery for this week’s Refreshments with Refreshing ‘Ologists presentation. Kristie Nelson, Lead Scientist for Point Blue Conservation Science, will be here to discuss insects and their ability to conserve the planet.

A wasp and a Sierra Blue butterfly pollinating. Photo courtesy of Kristie Nelson.

Insects comprise over 80% of Earth’s organisms, yet relatively few people pay attention to them, and declining populations or localized extinctions risk not being noticed. For example (more…)

The story of the Pioneer Solar Pavilion

Wednesday, August 29th, 2018 by Janet, Volunteer Coordinator
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“Once upon a time, in a little mountain town on the edge of a big blue lake, a small group of people wanted to do something. They noticed that winter snows were less deep, and summer days were drier and hotter with forest fire smoke in the air. The group wanted to protect their beautiful lake, which depended on the snow to stay healthy.

“So the group decided to build a beautiful pavilion with a roof of solar panels, based on an idea from a town across the sea, to showcase how it is possible to have clean energy. It was a wonderful plan, but there was no money or knowledge to build something so grand.”

This is the beginning of the story of the Pioneer Solar Pavilion that was dedicated on Saturday, August 25, 2018 at Hess Park in Lee Vining.

Lee Vining’s Pioneer Solar Pavilion is a community-built gathering space that provides shade, electricity, wi-fi, shelter from wind, and information about local pioneer families. Photo by Elin Ljung.

The rest of the story is this: (more…)

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