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2018 Mono Lake Committee Scholarship recipients

Saturday, June 2nd, 2018 by Gabrielle, Project Specialist
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Since 2008, the Mono Lake Committee has supported local students by awarding two $1,000 scholarships to Mono County seniors. Each year we ask applicants to visit Mono Lake and write an essay answering the question, “Why are places like Mono Lake important?” We are pleased to announce this year’s recipients, Rosalie Burch and Isabel Calderon from Lee Vining High School. Both wrote thoughtful and inspiring essays.

Gabrielle and Rosalie at the 2018 LVHS graduation. Photo by Ellen King.

In her essay Rosalie wrote, “Everything on our planet is connected and we all rely on each other in order to thrive.” Rosalie will be attending the National University of Ireland this fall to study international business affairs.

Gabrielle and Isabel at the 2018 LVHS graduation. Photo by Ellen King.

 

Isabel plans to begin her studies locally at Cerro Coso Community College in Mammoth Lakes and aspires to become a medical social worker. In her essay she wrote, “One reason why places like Mono Lake matter is because they simply provide a place to escape the world of mankind and be able to connect with nature.”

All Mono County seniors with firm plans to attend a 2- or 4-year college within a year of graduation are eligible to apply for the Mono Lake Committee Scholarship. If you have any questions about the scholarship program or would like to donate to the fund please contact Arya Harp at (760) 647-6595 x111.

Reflections on 40 years: A current look at the Mono Lake Committee

Thursday, May 31st, 2018 by Sally, Board of Directors
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Editor’s note: To celebrate the Mono Lake Committee’s 40th anniversary in the Newsletter, Sally Gaines, co-founder and Board Chair, is writing a series of reflections on the past, present, and future of the organization.

Today the Mono Lake Committee is widely respected as a model environmental group. I attribute this to an incredible staff, now numbering 15, as well as 11 seasonal staff, plus a cohesive Board of Directors. The policy issues grow ever more complex, and drag on for years, if not decades. The longevity of our staff means we are forever reeducating new bureaucratic staff we work with.

Several bequests have stabilized our financial picture, enabling us to improve the front of our headquarters, still and forever in Lee Vining. We continue to have excellent information for visitors, a fitting selection of books, clothing, and gifts, as well as staff offices in back. We are never changing our name either. Photo by Arya Harp.

Scientific research continues; some is old: California Gulls, Eared Grebes, lake level, salinity, stream restoration. Newer topics (more…)

Book reading & signing for “Naming Mt. Thoreau” on September 30, 2018

Sunday, May 27th, 2018 by Arya, Communications Director
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In celebration of their new book, Naming Mt. Thoreau, editor Laurie Glover, and contributors including Gary Snyder, Tom Killion, Kim Stanley Robinson, and more will be doing a reading and book signing this fall in Lee Vining.

Naming Mt. Thoreau is a beautiful and thoughtfully-crafted collection of essays, poems, and reflections. In the fall of 2014 this notable group of friends gathered to summit USGS Sierra Nevada peak 12,691 with the idea of renaming it “Mt. Thoreau” in honor of naturalist, philosopher, transcendentalist, and author Henry David Thoreau. Actually going through the process to formally name a peak is a daunting task, and this group felt that the act of getting together with a common purpose, climbing the peak, and then writing about it was a better—and more apt—path to the same goal. (more…)

2018 lake level forecast: Will Mono Lake rise or drop this year?

Friday, April 20th, 2018 by Elin, Communications Coordinator
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In April, once a new runoff year (April 1 to March 31) has begun, the Mono Lake Committee forecasts what Mono Lake’s level is likely to do over the next year. And the answer? According to our forecast, Mono Lake is likely to drop a little less than a foot.

This graph shows the range of possible Mono Lake elevations for the time period of April 1, 2018 to March 31, 2019. The “highest likely” and “lowest likely” projections are produced by Committee modeling using historical wet and dry hydrology sequences that can reasonably be expected given current conditions. Mono Lake Committee graph (click to enlarge).

To forecast Mono Lake’s level for a whole runoff year, we read the lake level gauge on April 1 to get the starting point, and then factor the runoff forecast into the equation to predict what Mono Lake might do going forward. When we read the lake level gauge on April 1 together with staff from the Los Angeles Department of Water & Power the lake was 6381.9 feet above sea level. As of April 16 the runoff forecast is 85% of average. Using those two data points, plus historical wet and dry hydrology sequences that can be reasonably expected given current conditions, our modeling indicates that the most probable lake level for March 31, 2019 is 6381.1 feet above sea level.

Buy your ticket now for the tenth Andrea Lawrence Award Dinner

Saturday, March 31st, 2018 by Elin, Communications Coordinator
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Buy your ticket now so you can join us in early May halfway up Mammoth Mountain … for the tenth Andrea Lawrence Award Dinner!

Andrea Lawrence Award Dinner
5:30pm on Friday, May 4, 2018
Parallax Restaurant, McCoy Station
Mammoth Mountain Ski Area

This year we’ll present the Andrea Lawrence Award to Phil Pister, retired California Department of Fish & Wildlife fishery biologist for the Eastern Sierra. Phil is a visionary desert pupfish and golden trout conservationist, has been an agent of positive ecological change, and is an advocate for and teacher of environmental ethics—he embodies the spirit of the award, which celebrates passionate engagement in community and the land.

Take a beautiful gondola ride up to McCoy Station for an evening of delicious food, inspiring company, and exceptional views as we celebrate Phil. Reserve your tickets with a $75 donation online here, or by calling (760) 647-6595 by Monday, April 16. We hope to see you there!

Farewell to Mono Lake advocate Genny Smith, 1922-2018

Saturday, March 17th, 2018 by Geoff, Executive Director
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Genny Smith, 1922–2018. Photo courtesy of Genny Smith.

On Sunday, March 4, the Eastern Sierra lost a lifelong champion with the passing of writer and conservationist Genny Smith at age 96.

Genny played a key role in protecting Mono Lake, getting involved in 1982 as a Board member of the young Mono Lake Committee at a time when court battles with the Los Angeles Department of Water & Power were heating up. She was a strong advocate for protecting the special wild places that make California so wonderful, and she had the determination and strategic thinking to turn such lofty goals into real accomplishments. She helped hone the strategy of recruiting members to the cause, making sure that the Committee was building a coalition of people who cared about Mono Lake for the long haul. In later years as a Board Member Emeritus she was always available to give advice—and inspiration—on the continuing efforts to protect this place. (more…)

This year’s Wild & Scenic Film Festival in Los Angeles—a wild success

Tuesday, March 13th, 2018 by Gabrielle, Project Specialist
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Every March, Mono Lake Committee staff make their annual migration to the southern end of the aqueduct to host the Wild & Scenic Film Festival in Los Angeles. The event serves as a way to connect with members and friends in Los Angeles as well as a fundraiser for the Committee’s Outdoor Education Center programs.

Committee staff with a student volunteer who will be participating in the OEC program this May. Photo by Andrew Youssef.

This year, in an effort to reach more potential members, we switched to two new venues—the Monica Film Center in Santa Monica and the Sierra Madre Playhouse. The showings at both venues were a huge success! (more…)

Save the date: Andrea Lawrence Award Dinner is May 4, 2018

Tuesday, February 20th, 2018 by Lily, Information Center & Bookstore Manager
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Save the date! Plan to join the Mono Lake Committee in commemorating Andrea Lawrence and her continuing legacy in the Eastern Sierra with the presentation of the Andrea Lawrence Award celebrating passionate engagement in community and the land.

Andrea Lawrence Award Dinner
5:30pm on Friday, May 4, 2018
Parallax Restaurant, McCoy Station
Mammoth Mountain Ski Area

Take a beautiful gondola ride up to McCoy Station for an evening of delicious food, inspiring company, and exceptional views as well as a celebration of the Andrea Lawrence Award recipient.

Volunteer at Mono Lake this coming summer

Wednesday, January 24th, 2018 by Gabrielle, Project Specialist
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Each summer, over 70 volunteers each commit to eight hours a month, June through August, speaking with visitors at Mono Lake. These volunteers are the eyes and ears at Mono Lake during the busiest season, and the visitor experience wouldn’t be the same without each volunteer.

Volunteers celebrate their graduation from training last June. Photo by Bartshe Miller.

We are now recruiting volunteers for this coming summer. In addition to roving at the lake, volunteers also assist the Mono Lake Committee with membership mailings, give talks at the Mono Basin Scenic Area Visitor Center patio, pull invasive plant species, and much more.

One of the benefits of volunteering for Mono Lake is the (more…)

All 2018 Mono Lake Field Seminars posted online

Tuesday, January 16th, 2018 by Elin, Communications Coordinator
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The complete list of all the Mono Lake Committee’s 2018 Field Seminars is now available online hereRegistration opens at 9:00am on Thursday, February 1.

Summer and fall are wonderful seasons for exploring the Mono Basin on a Field Seminar. Photo courtesy of Andrew Aldrich.

This year’s slate of 40 Field Seminars includes one-day, half-day, and multi-day options, and spans many topics: astrophotography, botany, mining history, butterflies, oil painting, basketry, woodpeckers, geology, fire ecology, and more.

We have brought back several popular workshops: (more…)

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The Mono Lake Committee is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization.