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The Mono-logue » Interpretive Tours

‘Interpretive Tours’ Category

Mono Basin fall colors are just around the corner

Sunday, September 17th, 2017 by Nora, Lead Naturalist Guide
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I saw my first yellow leaves the other day, just a few golden specks fluttering amidst a sea of vibrant green along the June Lake Loop, and it got me very excited for fall.

Leaves are just starting to change from green to yellow and red. Photo by Nora Livingston.

Fall is perhaps my favorite time of year in the Mono Basin. It’s like the whole ecosystem relaxes, it takes a deep breath after the constant rush of summer and lets it all go. The air is crisp and clear, the sagebrush sea becomes silent after its birds have flown south, the aspen leaves flutter gold, and the clouds put on spectacular broody shows most evenings.

Each week in fall is unique because of the changing leaves in each individual canyon and hilltop—one week they are still lime green, the next they may be neon yellow, the next buttercream with ruddy streaks like flames licking up a log. When the leaves (more…)

A summer for the birds at Mono Lake

Friday, September 15th, 2017 by Jenny, Birding Intern
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As the summer season comes to a close, I thought I’d take some time to reflect on my time at Mono Lake, and the incredible birds I’ve seen along the way.

California Gull perched on tufa. Photo by Bartshe Miller.

My summer internship began with the sixteenth annual Mono Basin Bird Chautauqua, an event that brings birders together to enhance appreciation and understanding of the Mono Basin’s incredible bird life. The event includes a variety of field trips, workshops, and presentations with renowned bird guides, naturalists, and artists. This year we had (more…)

The sun sets on an intern’s time at Mono Lake

Tuesday, September 12th, 2017 by Molly, Mono Lake Intern
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I had been in the computer lab at Colorado State University all day working on my final GIS project when I received the call that I was being offered a position as an intern with the Mono Lake Committee for the summer. I couldn’t have been more thrilled to hear that I would be spending my summer with the Mono Lake Committee. I got an A on that project, graduated with my BS in Human Dimensions of Natural Resources, and moved to Lee Vining in a flash.

During this beautiful day of training early in the summer, all the new seasonal staff were learning about Mono Lake’s ecology from Education Director Bartshe Miller. Photo by Ava Stavros.

I had never been to Mono Lake before so I really didn’t know what I was in for, but my expectations for the summer were exceeded ten-fold. I will never forget the first time I saw Mono Lake: I was driving in from Highway 120 East and when the lake came into my view I couldn’t believe how huge it was. I knew it was going to be big, but it is truly vast. My first thought was (more…)

Canoe on Mono Lake this Labor Day weekend

Thursday, August 31st, 2017 by Julissa, Canoe Coordinator
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Even if you have been on a Mono Lake Committee canoe tour or a guided walking tour before, being on Mono Lake this year is unlike any other year prior.

Experience Mono Lake by canoe this holiday weekend—tours are offered at 8:00am, 9:30am, and 11:00am on Saturday and Sunday. Photo by Bartshe Miller.

Mono Lake has risen over three feet so far this year—come and experience the clarity and beauty of the waters off of South Tufa with visibility up to six feet deep. As you canoe on one of the oldest lakes on the continent you’ll be surrounded by views of the youngest mountain range in North America (the Mono Craters), the snow-capped Sierra Nevada, and majestic islands created by volcanic activity. We also share the importance of how (more…)

Seminar spotlight: Fire Ecology of the Eastern Sierra

Tuesday, August 29th, 2017 by Michael, Mono Lake Intern
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Fire has been shaping Eastern Sierra landscapes for centuries. Human interactions with fire in the Western United States have greatly influenced wildfire type, severity, and its effect on forest ecosystems, creating management challenges across the region. If you are interested in learning more about wildfire and its role in shaping forest ecosystems, you’re in luck! There are still spots available in Malcolm North’s Fire Ecology of the Eastern Sierra field seminar, coming up September 9–10.

Smoke was visible at South Tufa in August 2016 as the Clark Fire burned south of the Mono Basin. Photo by Bartshe Miller.

Fire Ecology of the Eastern Sierra • September 9–10 • $155 per person/$140 for members • sign up here • view full itinerary here (more…)

Mono Lake Volunteer spotlight: Jo Bacon

Wednesday, August 9th, 2017 by Aviva, Mono Lake Intern
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“Volunteering has always been a part of my life, ever since I joined Girl Scouts,” says Mono Lake Volunteer Jo Bacon. Part of the original class of volunteers in 2004 and named Volunteer of the Year in 2011, Jo is a stalwart volunteer with a passion for engaging the public and protecting the Mono Basin.

Mono Lake Volunteer Jo Bacon, left, with Volunteer Coordinator Janet Carle. Photo by Rose Catron.

She originally discovered the wonders of the Eastern Sierra in the 1970s on a trip to cross country ski and eventually moved to Mammoth Lakes full-time in 2002 after more than 25 years in Riverside, California. Since her move, Jo has certainly made her mark on the Eastern Sierra community. She served on the Mammoth Lakes Town Council for eight years, including two as mayor, then another two on the planning commission, along with doing interpretive work for the Mammoth Ranger District and some naturalist work in the area.

She was drawn to the Mono Basin originally by (more…)

Mono Lake volunteer spotlight: Cathy Foye

Wednesday, August 2nd, 2017 by Aviva, Mono Lake Intern
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Cathy & Rich Foye, left and center, with fellow Mono Lake Volunteer Rosemarie Willimann. Photo by Bartshe Miller.

If you have taken a Saturday canoe tour this summer you will probably recognize our awesome volunteer Cathy Foye, who, every weekend, is prepped with a scope set on an Osprey nest perfectly perched on a tufa tower in Mono Lake.

Born and raised in Southern California, Cathy had actually never explored the Eastern Sierra until her now husband, and fellow volunteer, Rich Foye, took her on vacation. Their favorite parts of visiting were the guided canoe tours and weekly star talks offered during the summer. During their 25 years together in Fullerton they became frequent visitors to the Eastern Sierra, initially attracted to Mammoth Lakes, where they permanently moved to in 2009. (more…)

Free patio activities at the Mono Lake Committee

Wednesday, July 19th, 2017 by Julissa, Canoe Coordinator
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We are excited to announce that we are offering free educational interpretive programs and activities on the front patio of the Mono Lake Committee, Tuesday through Saturday at 11:00am. We will explore topics such as how the Mono Basin formed, bird adaptation, Mono Lake’s changing habitats, following animal tracks, and we’ll also make recycled crafts.

Join Mono Lake Intern Charlotte on the patio to learn about volcanoes and more local geology! Photo by Andrew Youssef.

Our forming the Mono Basin program will focus on the different types of rock in the Mono Basin. It will introduce visitors to the varied landscape of the Mono Basin and what makes it so unique. Join us for a chance to make your very own tufa! (more…)

Star gazing in the Mono Basin

Monday, July 17th, 2017 by Charlotte, Mono Lake Intern
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Being far from civilization, having few trees, and the framing of the mountains makes the Mono Basin an amazing place for star gazing. The stars have always created a sense of wonder in the human mind, leading us to explore them with our imagination far before space travel technology. Spending time in the basin has reinvigorated my sense of love and wonder for the night sky. If you’re like me, then I would recommend setting your sights on these stargazing spots.

Starry night skies and moonlit tufa at South Tufa. Photo courtesy of Bristlecone Media.

1) South Tufa
South Tufa can be pretty busy during the day, but once night falls it turns into a peaceful place to stargaze. With the tufa towers surrounding you and the sounds of the lapping water, you will be transported (more…)

Visitor questions at Mono Lake

Monday, July 10th, 2017 by Molly, Mono Lake Intern
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South Tufa tours are a great way to learn about the mysteries of Mono Lake. Photo by Erv Nichols.

Since I started giving walking and canoe tours this summer, I have been asked some really thought-provoking questions. Some have straightforward answers and some are more abstract, but I love every question I am asked because it helps me think about the lake differently and it helps me understand what people are really interested in.

I would like to share some of my favorite questions so far because if one person asked, others must be wondering too.

1. What if you put a shark into Mono Lake? (more…)

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