Tuesday, July 11th, 2017 by Jenny, Birding InterncloseAuthor: Jenny, Birding InternName: Jennifer Rieke Title: Birding Intern About: Jenny was first introduced to the wonders of the Mono Basin on a field program through UC Santa Cruz in the spring of 2014. Since then, she hasn't been able to stay away for long. She has worked in Yosemite for the past two summers, spending her days off rambling around the high mountain peaks and finding the best spots to swim in the river. Since graduating, Jenny has been working as an educator at various organizations, including a bird observatory in Minnesota, a wildlife refuge in Florida, and as a volunteer Park Ranger in Tuolumne Meadows. She is excited to spend the summer amongst Sage Thrashers, Penstemon newberryi, and tufa towers—and to share the magic of Mono Lake with others.See All Posts by Jennifer (3) Contact Jennifer
I recently had the opportunity to go out to the landbridge to help with maintenance of the gull fence. I woke up at 5:00am in order to get out there in time, and by 6:30am we were ready to head out, chest waders and all.
The north shore of the landbridge is a surreal, other-worldly landscape. Photo by Jennifer Rieke.
This was my first time to the north shore of Mono Lake and it was quite a contrast to the scenic southern shore I am used to. With Black Point behind us, we trudged over salt flats towards Negit Island. Passing skeletons of last year’s giant blazing stars and coyote scat, we approached the electric fence when suddenly I heard it—the clamor of the gull colony! I put my binoculars up to see the islets overflowing with California Gulls. This was a place I had only imagined in my mind, and now it was coming to life. (more…)
Tuesday, July 4th, 2017 by Andrew, Digital Engagement CoordinatorcloseAuthor: Andrew, Digital Engagement CoordinatorName: Andrew Youssef Title: Digital Engagement Coordinator About: Andrew works to connect to Mono Lake Committee supporters and members digitally through video content and social media. Some know him as "the voice of Mono Lake," from his narration of the South Tufa self-guided tour on the Mono Lake mobile website. He also helps organize the Mono Basin Bird Chautauqua, the Committee's Wild & Scenic Film Festival in Los Angeles, and the Field Seminar program. Andrew first visited Mono Lake at the height of the California drought and now is thrilled to see the lake on the rise. On his days off, you'll find him outside relaxing by Lee Vining Creek, hiking in the High Sierra, or skiing wherever there is snow.See All Posts by Andrew (51) Contact Andrew
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…)
Wednesday, June 28th, 2017 by Charlotte, Mono Lake InterncloseAuthor: Charlotte, Mono Lake InternName: Charlotte Johnston-Carter Title: Mono Lake Intern About: Originally from sunny San Luis Obispo, Charlotte now lives in British Columbia and studies Biology and Environmental Studies at the University of Victoria. Charlotte spends most of her time as an advocate and organizer in the LGBTQ community. When she's not busy with school or her advocacy work, you can find her drawing comics or exploring nature. Charlotte hopes to work in nature and conservation after graduating university, so she is very excited to spend her summer working and living at Mono Lake!See All Posts by Charlotte (4) Contact Charlotte
With the end of June approaching, it is now officially summer in the Mono Basin! The Mono Lake Committee, in partnership with local agencies and organizations, has lined up a great selection of programs and tours at Mono Lake. No matter your interest or background, there’s sure to be a program perfect for you! Below is a brief list of these programs, which will be available from June 28 to September 1, 2017.
Join a State Park, Forest Service, or Mono Lake Committee guide for a South Tufa Walk every day at 10:00am, 1:00pm, and 6:00pm. Photo by Sandra Noll.
South Tufa Walks:10:00am, 1:00pm, and 6:00pm every day
Unearth the mysteries of Mono Lake’s water, geology, and wildlife. You’ll even have the chance to create tufa and eat alkali fly pupae! Meet at the South Tufa Kiosk for this free 1 to 1.5-hour tour and don’t forget sunscreen, water, and a hat. To get to South Tufa from Lee Vining, drive South on Highway 395 for about 5 miles and then east on Highway 120 for 5 miles. Look for signs for “South Tufa.”(more…)
Thursday, June 22nd, 2017 by Andrew, Digital Engagement CoordinatorcloseAuthor: Andrew, Digital Engagement CoordinatorName: Andrew Youssef Title: Digital Engagement Coordinator About: Andrew works to connect to Mono Lake Committee supporters and members digitally through video content and social media. Some know him as "the voice of Mono Lake," from his narration of the South Tufa self-guided tour on the Mono Lake mobile website. He also helps organize the Mono Basin Bird Chautauqua, the Committee's Wild & Scenic Film Festival in Los Angeles, and the Field Seminar program. Andrew first visited Mono Lake at the height of the California drought and now is thrilled to see the lake on the rise. On his days off, you'll find him outside relaxing by Lee Vining Creek, hiking in the High Sierra, or skiing wherever there is snow.See All Posts by Andrew (51) Contact Andrew
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…)
Thursday, June 15th, 2017 by Julissa, Canoe CoordinatorcloseAuthor: Julissa, Canoe CoordinatorName: Julissa Rosales Title: Canoe Coordinator About: Julissa graduated from Pacific University in Oregon with a degree in Environmental Studies. Born and raised on the Central Coast of California, she has developed a deep passion for the environmental non-profit community and has been involved with programs such as AmeriCorps and Audubon California. Her favorite forms of water are rain, streams, wetlands, and lakes. Her hobbies include crochet crafts, dancing, listening to music, birding, and yoga.See All Posts by Julissa (5) Contact Julissa
The 16th annual Mono Basin Bird Chautauqua culminates on Sunday, June 18 with a free celebration at Mono Lake County Park, just five miles north of Lee Vining. This picnic and concert in the park is a fun event for people of all ages and a great way to get out and celebrate Father’s Day!
On Sunday, join us on Mono Lake County Park’s shady lawn while listening to live music by the Bodie 601 Band. Photo by Erv Nichols.
Join us to relax and unwind while dining on tasty BBQ and listening to wonderful live music. The Bodie 601 Band is best described as a combination of traditional folk, bluegrass, and alternative music with fiery fiddle soloing, smoking hot guitar styling, thumping upright bass, and powerful rhythm. Plan to buy a $10 picnic lunch that supports Lee Vining High School or bring your own and enjoy the lush summer scenery at the park. (more…)
Saturday, June 10th, 2017 by Andrew, Digital Engagement CoordinatorcloseAuthor: Andrew, Digital Engagement CoordinatorName: Andrew Youssef Title: Digital Engagement Coordinator About: Andrew works to connect to Mono Lake Committee supporters and members digitally through video content and social media. Some know him as "the voice of Mono Lake," from his narration of the South Tufa self-guided tour on the Mono Lake mobile website. He also helps organize the Mono Basin Bird Chautauqua, the Committee's Wild & Scenic Film Festival in Los Angeles, and the Field Seminar program. Andrew first visited Mono Lake at the height of the California drought and now is thrilled to see the lake on the rise. On his days off, you'll find him outside relaxing by Lee Vining Creek, hiking in the High Sierra, or skiing wherever there is snow.See All Posts by Andrew (51) Contact Andrew
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.
Thursday, May 25th, 2017 by Geoff, Executive DirectorcloseAuthor: Geoff, Executive DirectorName: Geoffrey McQuilkin Title: Executive Director About: Geoff's goals for the Committee are: Ensuring Mono Lake's continuing protection, restoring Mono Lake's tributary streams, developing a permanent education program, and assuring that the strong tradition of scientific research at Mono Lake continues. A graduate of Harvard in the history of science, Geoff has worked for the Committee since 1992 and was an intern and volunteer before that. He's happy to live close to the lake with his wife Sarah and their daughters Caelen, Ellery, and Cassia.See All Posts by Geoffrey (144) Contact Geoffrey
A mile of citizen-funded solar-powered electric fence is up and running, protecting Mono Lake’s nesting gulls—one of the three largest colonies in the world—from mainland predators. The fence is the result of a year and a half of planning by the Mono Lake Committee and California State Parks along with other agency partners, a dedicated local installation team, and generous funding from Mono Lake supporters across the country.
The temporary electric fence stretching one mile across the landbridge has 11 motion-activated wildlife cameras with infrared nighttime flash capability along its length. In late April, camera #5 documented a coyote walking the fence line, confirming that the fence is functioning as a coyote barrier. Mono Lake Committee wildlife camera photo.
Why is the temporary fence—which will be removed when nesting is finished—needed? Five years of drought lowered Mono Lake seven feet, shrinking the protective moat of water between the lake’s north shore and Negit Island and adjacent islets—exposing a landbridge that allows coyotes access to the lake’s long-established nesting colony of California Gulls. Last summer signs were found on a few of these islets that coyotes had indeed walked the landbridge and then swum the remaining 500 feet or so of shallow water to prey on eggs and chicks, disrupting nesting and causing gulls to be suspicious of returning to these sites in future years.
Not a typical fence site
The electric mesh netting fence used for the project (more…)
Wednesday, May 24th, 2017 by Bartshé, Education DirectorcloseAuthor: Bartshé, Education DirectorName: Bartshé Miller Title: Education Director About: Bartshé directs the Mono Lake Committee's Outdoor Education Center programs, canoe program, and interpretive programs, and manages the Mono Basin Field Station. He has been an Eastern Sierra resident since 1993.See All Posts by Bartshé (63) Contact Bartshé
Water is everywhere, cottonwoods are throwing cotton, flowers are blooming, and birds are singing. With warming temperatures and longer days birds are becoming more active at Mono Lake, and you can see and hear the birds with a guide, twice weekly at Mono Lake County Park beginning now through the summer.
Brilliant blue Lazuli Buntings are one of the species you could spot during a Friday or Sunday morning bird walk at Mono Lake County Park. Photo by Santiago Escruceria.
County Park offers a diverse habitat for a variety of birds from lakeshore to wetland to towering cottonwoods. Bird walks are free and begin at 8:00am every Friday and Sunday morning through September 3, 2017. Meet at the parking lot and bring sunscreen, water, hat, and binoculars (if you have them). Whether you have a passing interest in birds, or you are a beginning birder, or an advanced birder, there are feathers, songs, and festive color for all.
Tuesday, May 16th, 2017 by Gabrielle, Project SpecialistcloseAuthor: Gabrielle, Project SpecialistName: Gabrielle Renteria Title: Project Specialist About: Gabby’s love for the Sierra Nevada started when she began visiting Yosemite National Park every year as a child. During her summer as a Mono Lake Intern she shared her passion for nature, Mono Lake, and the Sierra with visitors, and she's now staying through the winter as a Project Specialist. When she’s not working you can find her drinking yerba, hiking, fishing, or rolling around in the grass. Gabby hopes to become an Interpretive Ranger for the National Park Service so she can continue to share the great outdoors with others!See All Posts by Gabrielle (29) Contact Gabrielle
Canoe tours offer a chance to experience Mono Lake from a unique vantage point. Photo by Sandra Noll.
Canoeing on Mono Lake is truly a magical experience, offering a new perspective of this otherworldly high desert lake. Your one-hour tour will take you from Navy Beach to the tufa-filled waters (more…)
Wednesday, May 10th, 2017 by Nora, Lead Naturalist GuidecloseAuthor: Nora, Lead Naturalist GuideName: Nora Livingston Title: Lead Naturalist Guide About: Nora is a passionate naturalist who got her interpretive start as a Mono Lake Intern in 2008 and went on to seven years of seasonal ornithologist work in the most beautiful corners of California and beyond. She has since led many popular birding field trips for the Mono Basin Bird Chautauqua. It is her utmost joy to share her love of birds and nature with anyone and everyone to help foster a deeper respect for this unique planet. Contact Nora if you would like to set up a custom guided field trip, or if you have questions about the Chautauqua.See All Posts by Nora (27) Contact Nora
My mother, Kerry, at Black Point. Photo by Nora Livingston.
My mother loves the Mono Basin. She lives on the coast in the lush hills of West Marin, but she craves the dry expanse of sagebrush and the quiet aspen canyons of the Eastside, so she visits me as often as she can in the summertime. She and my dad set up their tent in Lee Vining Canyon and spend their days exploring Mono Lake, basking in the glory of the Sierra, and painting flowers with watercolors. She, like many of our visitors, likes to make the most out of her time here, filling her days with adventure, diving deeper into her experience here in the Eastern Sierra.
Last year, I gave my mom the gift of attending the Miwok-Paiute Basketry field seminarso she could learn the art of weaving willows from Julia and Lucy Parker. She was thrilled. She enjoyed the seminar immensely, and was very proud of her beautiful basket. In fact, she loved it so much, she signed up for the seminar again this year!
Why not give your mother the gift of learning and exploration for Mother’s Day this year? (more…)