Saturday, December 1st, 2018 by Elin, Communications CoordinatorcloseAuthor: Elin, Communications CoordinatorName: Elin Ljung Title: Communications Coordinator About: Elin's job consists of some of her favorite things: finding typos, experimenting with layouts, and figuring out how best to communicate the Committee's work to the world. She also oversees the Field Seminar program. Elin grew up in on California’s Central Coast dreaming of the two weeks each summer that her family would spend in the Eastern Sierra, and as soon as she graduated from St. Olaf College in 2005 she moved to Mono Lake full-time. She prefers to travel at high speed on either telemark skis or a mountain bike, or be completely still, immersed in a good book.See All Posts by Elin (322) Contact Elin
Registration is now open to non-members for the three winter field seminars taking place in January and February. With a beautiful new layer of snow in the Mono Basin, this is shaping up to be a good winter so far.
A winter sunrise at South Tufa, captured last January during the winter photography seminar. Photo courtesy of Cindy Lee Hoover.
Space is still available in all three seminars, but reserve your spot soon if you’d like to join us. A field seminar also makes a wonderful gift—if the holidays sneak up on you and you need a last-minute gift, consider a seminar—no shipping required!
Saturday, November 24th, 2018 by Andrew, Digital Engagement CoordinatorcloseAuthor: Andrew, Digital Engagement CoordinatorName: Andrew Youssef Title: Digital Engagement Coordinator About: A graduate of Vanderbilt University and a native of Atlanta, Georgia, Andrew came to the Sierra to volunteer in Tuolumne Meadows in 2014. He fell in love with the area and began working at the Committee as a Mono
Lake Intern. Today he combines his passions for education and the environment by working in all of the Committee's program areas on everything from organizing the Mono Basin Bird Chautauqua and Field Seminar programs to creating social media and video content to editing the
Mono Lake Newsletter. In his free time, he enjoys relaxing at Lee Vining Creek, paddling on Mono Lake, hiking in the High Sierra, and skiing wherever there is snow.See All Posts by Andrew (58) Contact Andrew
Thursday, October 4th, 2018 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.See All Posts by Nora (31) Contact Nora
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…)
Saturday, September 8th, 2018 by Max, Mono Lake InterncloseAuthor: Max, Mono Lake InternName: Max Price Title: Mono Lake Intern About: Max first visited Mono Lake in 2015 for a geology field class through Indiana University, and it was love at first sight. Inspired by the beauty of Mono Lake and the entire basin, he continued his geology education at Indiana University and graduated with a BS in Geological Sciences. He has been working with the Indiana Geologic and Water Survey on a statewide lead sampling program. In his free time, Max enjoys adding bird species to his "life list," climbing tall things, and just being outside.See All Posts by Max (4) Contact Max
Monday, August 27th, 2018 by Eric, Mono Lake InterncloseAuthor: Eric, Mono Lake InternName: Eric Bergdoll Title: Mono Lake Intern About: Growing up in an outdoorsy family, Eric has been mountain biking, snowboarding, and kayaking for most of his life. After taking a National Outdoor Leadership School semester course in 2015 where he learned to rock climb and whitewater kayak, he realized it was time to pursue a career in the outdoors. Eric is working on his BS in Environmental Science at the University of Pittsburgh, and leads weekly trips as the President of the Pitt Outdoors Club. This summer Eric is looking forward to exploring the Eastern Sierra while learning all about Mono Lake.See All Posts by Eric (3) Contact Eric
If you’ve ever wanted to know more about the role of fire in California, our upcoming field seminar, Fire Ecology of the Eastern Sierra, is the place to jump in. After a summer when wildfires have made news all over California and the western US, spend September 15–16, 2018 in the field with fire expert Malcolm North to learn about this powerful force. Sign up here.
The Marina Fire burns on the west side of Mono Lake in June 2016. The site of the Marina Fire will be one of the stops in this seminar. Photo by Santiago Escruceria.
It has been a hot summer for wildfires in California, and while fires are vital to maintaining healthy forests in much of the western US, many modern fires burn differently than the fires forests evolved with. What is the current wildfire situation (more…)
Friday, August 17th, 2018 by Alison, Canoe CoordinatorcloseAuthor: Alison, Canoe CoordinatorName: Alison Kaplan Title: Canoe Coordinator About: Alison first moved to Yosemite in 2014, after which she almost quit college multiple times because she could hardly bear to leave the Sierra Nevada each fall. To her parents' relief she persevered and earned a degree in English from Whitman College, and promptly moved back to the Sierra. She prefers to work seasonal jobs and spends her winters living in her minivan and exploring various deserts around the west, freelancing as a copywriter to pay for gas. Alison is excited to spend her summer in the Mono Basin where she hopes to climb a lot and get better at identifying birds.See All Posts by Alison (4) Contact Alison
The Ferguson Fire, which started burning on July 13, 2018 near the western edge of Yosemite National Park, is finally nearing full containment after over a month of hard work by firefighters and response crews. Yosemite Valley was closed for almost two weeks due to road closures and hazardous air quality, but the valley has officially reopened to the public. While the Ferguson Fire is still burning, it is 87% contained as of August 17 and air quality within the park as well as in the surrounding gateway communities has improved drastically.
Anna, Mono Lake Intern, prepares to lead a smoky canoe tour on Mono Lake. Photo by Alison Kaplan.
Here at the Mono Lake Committee we were lucky to have clean enough air in the mornings to run all of our scheduled canoe tours despite the generally poor air quality, but visibility was low and views of the surrounding mountains were scarce. (more…)
Friday, August 10th, 2018 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.See All Posts by Nora (31) Contact Nora
The summer is waning, the canyons are quieting down, birds have reared their chicks, and the young are independent as they prepare to head south to warmer climes for the winter. The Eastern Sierra is a great place to bird at this time, as the higher-elevation migrants move down to the lower basins and the birds from farther north pass through this corridor on their journey south.
A Least Sandpiper at Mono Lake. Photo by Santiago M. Escruceria.
Sunday, July 22nd, 2018 by Alison, Canoe CoordinatorcloseAuthor: Alison, Canoe CoordinatorName: Alison Kaplan Title: Canoe Coordinator About: Alison first moved to Yosemite in 2014, after which she almost quit college multiple times because she could hardly bear to leave the Sierra Nevada each fall. To her parents' relief she persevered and earned a degree in English from Whitman College, and promptly moved back to the Sierra. She prefers to work seasonal jobs and spends her winters living in her minivan and exploring various deserts around the west, freelancing as a copywriter to pay for gas. Alison is excited to spend her summer in the Mono Basin where she hopes to climb a lot and get better at identifying birds.See All Posts by Alison (4) Contact Alison
Each weekend the Mono Lake Interns wake with the sun and meet at 6:30am, bright-eyed, bushy-tailed, and ready for a day of paddling on Mono Lake. When they arrive at Navy Beach, they are almost always greeted by a calm, glassy lake and an empty parking lot.
Early morning is one of the best times to enjoy Mono Lake, especially from a canoe. Photo by Erv Nichols.
Saturday, July 21st, 2018 by Gabrielle, Project SpecialistcloseAuthor: Gabrielle, Project SpecialistName: Gabrielle Renteria Title: Project Specialist About: Gabby's love of nature began with spending summers exploring Yosemite with family and on monthly camping trips with her Dad. After years of dreaming of a life in the mountains, three years ago she packed her things and left Southern California for Mono Lake. Gabby is excited to spend one more summer educating people about the Mono Basin before leaving for the University of Montana to pursue a degree in Wildlife Biology. In her free time, you can find her rock climbing, dancing at the Mobil, or exploring with her dog Jessie.See All Posts by Gabrielle (38) Contact Gabrielle
I was 11 years old when I first set eyes on Mono Lake. My family had just finished our annual camping trip to Yosemite and decided to take the “long” way home and spend a night in the Eastern Sierra.
Seasonal staff training in 2015. Photo by Erv Nichols.
I can vividly remember the surprise I felt as our car made its way to the bottom of Tioga Pass. How had I never seen or heard of this ginormous lake before?! We didn’t make it to the lake’s salty shore that year or even into a visitor center to learn more about it—but it was a day that would shape my future, although I didn’t know it at the time. (more…)
Tuesday, July 10th, 2018 by Nigel, Birding InterncloseAuthor: Nigel, Birding InternName: Nigel Bates Title: Birding Intern About: Nigel loves birds, mountains, and environmental challenges, so he is thrilled to be spending the summer learning all about the Mono Basin and leading weekly bird walks. Nigel graduated from Williams College in Massachusetts, where he researched old-growth forest carbon cycles and led nature programs for local elementary schools. After graduating, he postponed the leap to full adulthood for a few months by hiking the entire Appalachian Trail from Maine to Georgia. Having thoroughly explored the east, he is excited to work and play in the shadow of mountains twice as tall.See All Posts by Nigel (6) Contact Nigel
Looking for something fun to do on a weekend morning in the Mono Basin? The Mono Lake Committee and California State Parks offer free bird walks at 8:00am every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday throughout the summer. Join a naturalist for a leisurely 2-hour excursion through some of the most productive bird habitats in the area. The Friday and Sunday morning walks are at Mono Lake County Park, and the Saturday morning walk explores Lundy Canyon. All experience levels are welcome! We’ll provide loaner binoculars if you don’t have a pair.
The lush riparian habitat at County Park is a great place to spot Western Tanagers. Photo by Sandra Noll.
Fridays and Sundays: Meet at Mono Lake County Park (5–10 minute drive from Lee Vining). Take Highway 395 north from Lee Vining for 5 miles, then turn right on Cemetery Road (signs for County Park/Mono Lake Access). Follow Cemetery Road for a 1/2-mile to the parking lot on the right.
Saturdays: Meet at the Lundy Lake Resort (15 minute drive from Lee Vining). Take Highway 395 north from Lee Vining for 7 miles, then turn left on Lundy Lake Road. Follow the Lundy Lake Road for 5 miles to the Lundy Lake Resort, where you can park on the shoulder just before the main cluster of buildings.