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Sign up for 2017 Field Seminars on February 1

Wednesday, January 25th, 2017 by Andrew, Project Specialist
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Learn all about the region's fascinating geological history with Yosemite geologist Greg Stock in Geology of the Mono Basin. Photo by Andrew Youssef.

Learn all about the region’s fascinating geological history with Yosemite geologist Greg Stock in Geology of the Mono Basin. Photo by Andrew Youssef.

The complete list of all the Mono Lake Committee’s 2017 Field Seminars is now available online here. Registration opens at 9:00am on Wednesday, February 1.

This year’s slate of 28 Field Seminars spans many topics: basketry, oil painting, woodpeckers, moonlight photography, geology, mining history, fire ecology, butterflies, and more. (more…)

A skiing adventure to check Mono Lake’s level

Tuesday, January 24th, 2017 by Robbie, Project Specialist
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This January is proving to be the wettest January in our weather recording history. In Lee Vining, we saw 5.5 inches of snow on January 4, and we received a combined 3.92 inches of rain on January 8 and 9. With all this water pouring into Mono Lake, I set out with my coworker Andrew to measure the lake level on cross country skis.

Mono Lake Committee Project Specialist Andrew Youssef. Photo by Robbie Di Paolo.

An amused Andrew shuffles towards Lee Vining Creek. Photo by Robbie Di Paolo.

It was Wednesday, January 11 at 10:00am. The sky was blue, the wind was calm, and the day before had enveloped the basin in (more…)

Mono Lake, Mammoth, and Bishop Christmas Bird Counts coming up

Thursday, December 15th, 2016 by Nora, Lead Naturalist Guide
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Every winter, from December 14 to January 5, birders all over the Americas get together to contribute to one of the largest citizen science data sets in the world. It’s called the Christmas Bird Count, or CBC.

A rare Varied Thrush in Lee Vining in December 2009. Photo courtesy of Justin Hite.

A rare Varied Thrush in Lee Vining in December 2009. Photo courtesy of Justin Hite.

Interestingly enough, the CBC it started as a Christmas hunting competition, but as conservation issues rose, an ornithologist named Frank Chapman sparked the idea of a count instead of a hunt. One hundred and sixteen years ago (in 1900), the first Christmas Bird Count occurred: 27 birders counted birds all day in 25 different locations. The count evolved and grew (more…)

Mono Lake’s California Gulls in Audubon Magazine

Thursday, December 8th, 2016 by Elin, Communications Coordinator
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Mono Lake’s California Gulls and coyotes appear in the winter issue of Audubon Magazine, in an article by Jane Braxton Little: Amidst California Drought, Coyotes Creep Closer to Mono Lake’s Gull Colonies.

audubon-magazine-gull-article

Little spoke with Committee Executive Director Geoff McQuilkin and local Point Blue Conservation Science researcher Kristie Nelson about plans to install a temporary electric fence across the emerging landbridge, intended to deter coyotes from reaching the gulls’ nesting islets. You can support the fence project here.

Little hit the nail on the head, writing, “Even if the fence thwarts the coyotes, the basic predicament at Mono Lake isn’t predators eating prey: It’s the loss of water.” So while we prepare to build the fence we’ll also be watching the weather closely for any sign of a break in this record-setting California drought.

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

Monday, September 12th, 2016 by Grace, Mono Lake Intern
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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!

Fall colors at Mono Lake: It’s not too early to plan your trip

Sunday, August 21st, 2016 by Nora, Lead Naturalist Guide
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Yes, I know, it’s only August, and the canyons are still glittering green with quaking aspen trees. But if you are thinking about visiting in the fall, now is the time to start planning your trip!

The wide open views and hillsides covered in aspen make the Conway Summit area a great place to enjoy autumn. Photo taken on October 21, 2010 by Bartshe Miller.

The wide open views and hillsides covered in aspen make the Conway Summit area a great place to enjoy autumn. Photo taken on October 21, 2010 by Bartshe Miller.

The colors usually start to change in mid-September and peak around mid-October. By November, the leaves are usually on the ground and snow has arrived. Different areas peak at different times, so let us do the scouting! The Mono Lake Guided Trip program has five trips scheduled in October to take visitors to the hottest spots for fall colors during the peak. (more…)

Refreshing ‘Ologists: Sierra Nevada glaciers

Sunday, August 14th, 2016 by Grace, Mono Lake Intern
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Much of Yosemite National Park’s most iconic landforms, such as the granite cliffs of Yosemite Valley and the rounded domes of Tuolumne Meadows, were shaped by glaciers. These glaciers were ubiquitous to the Sierra Nevada landscape for millions of years. More recently, however, we’re starting to see these glaciers vanish due to climate change.

Photo courtesy of the National Park Service.

A photograph of the Lyell Glacier taken in 1883 by Israel Russel contrasts sharply with the extent of the glacier in 2013. Photo courtesy of the National Park Service.

Join us this Wednesday, August 17 at 4:00pm in the Mono Lake Committee gallery to learn more about the fate of Sierra Nevada glaciers. Yosemite National Park geologist Greg Stock will discuss the Sierra Nevada glacial history and how modern-day climate change is affecting these glaciers.

Comment-writing workshop on Wednesday for the Inyo National Forest draft forest management plan

Friday, July 22nd, 2016 by Elin, Communications Coordinator
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Since 2013 the Inyo National Forest has been working on a draft forest plan, as part of a process to update the 28-year-old forest plan that has been in effect since 1988. The updated, draft Forest Management Plan was released in late May, initiating a public comment period, which closes August 25, 2016.

Make your voice heard for Mono Lake and the Inyo National Forest. Photo by Nora Livingston.

Make your voice heard for Mono Lake and the Inyo National Forest. Photo by Nora Livingston.

We invite you to join us for a comment-letter-writing evening, this coming Wednesday, July 27 at 6:00pm, location TBD (in the Lee Vining/Mono City area) at the Mono Lake Committee Information Center & Bookstore. We will provide you with all the information and tools you need to write a comment letter to the Forest Service that will help improve the future of the Inyo National Forest. We’ll also provide food and refreshments!

Throughout this process the Mono Lake Committee has been (more…)

Summer visitor programs at Mono Lake

Sunday, June 26th, 2016 by Adam, Mono Lake Intern
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Summer is officially here! With the passing of the summer solstice, many of the Mono Basin’s unique interpretive programs have begun. Whether you are a birder, astronomer, geologist, or traveling with a family, there is a Mono Basin interpretive program for you.

Join us every Saturday and Sunday morning for canoe tours on Mono Lake. Photo by Sandra Noll.

Join us every Saturday and Sunday morning for canoe tours on Mono Lake. Photo by Sandra Noll.

South Tufa tours: 10:00am, 1:00pm, and 6:00pm every day
Discover the mystery of Mono Lake’s strange water, unique wildlife, and dynamic geology. Tours begin from the South Tufa kiosk and last 1 to 1.5 hours. Free!

Bird walks: 8:00am on Fridays and Sundays
Join a naturalist on an easy stroll through Mono Lake County Park to discover the birds of the Mono Basin. If possible, please bring binoculars for this 1.5–2 hour walk. Free! (more…)

Chautauqua event: The high country responds to a changing climate

Thursday, June 9th, 2016 by Janet, Volunteer Coordinator
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Wondering what has happened to our snow and what to expect in the future? An afternoon seminar on climate issues affecting the Sierra Nevada—and all of us—will be held on Thursday, June 16 from 1:00–5:00pm at the Mono Basin Scenic Area Visitor Center theater in Lee Vining.

350 MONO group Steps for Snow event, raising awareness

The Mono Basin 350.org climate awareness group at last fall’s Steps for Snow event. Photo courtesy of Janet Carle.

This afternoon series of talks with local experts will focus on how the high country of the Sierra Nevada is responding to a changing climate. High school student Caelen McQuilkin will discuss the American pika; Mono Lake Committee Executive Director Geoff McQuilkin will describe how Mono Lake is responding to warmer, drier winters; US Forest Service scientist Connie Millar will provide an ecosystem-wide overview; Yosemite geologist Greg Stock will speak on what glaciers tell us about climate change; and Yosemite wildlife biologist Sarah Stock will discuss how human intervention reversed the fate of two threatened animals in Yosemite National Park.

These excellent speakers will help us understand the future of the Sierra and what we all can do to encourage progress toward a sustainable climate on our planet.

This event, sponsored by 350 Mono, a local climate action group, is free and open to the public. We invite Mono Basin Bird Chautauqua attendees especially—stop by to hear about how a changing climate is affecting the Eastern Sierra and Mono Basin.

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