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Seminar spotlight: Creating the Illuminated Field Journal

Friday, August 28th, 2015 by Elin, Communications Coordinator
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Good news: There are a few spaces still open in the Creating the Illuminated Field Journal field seminar! This three-day seminar is an introductory course to personalizing one’s time in nature and outdoors through sketches, words, and color in the pages of a field journal.

Caption caption Photo by Elin Ljung.

Join us for the field seminar, Creating the Illuminated Field Journal, for a spectacular weekend of sketching and writing in the Mono Basin. Photo by Elin Ljung.

Creating the Illuminated Field Journal • September 4–6 • $175 per person/$160 for members • sign up here (more…)

Enter the Free Drawing … you could win a Cali4nia ski pass!

Friday, August 21st, 2015 by Ellen, Membership Coordinator
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Free-Drawing-graphic

We recently mailed tickets for our 2015 Free Drawing to Mono Lake Committee members. You must return them to be entered to win one of this year’s great prizes. We suggest that you include a $5 donation for each ticket you return, but you do not have to make a donation to enter.

You could win an iPad mini, a GoPro Camera, a Cali4nia Ski Pass, or a tempting vacation package in the Bay Area, Los Angeles, Death Valley and, of course, the Eastern Sierra! Take a look at the full prize list and then send in your tickets today.

If you’re not a Mono Lake Committee member, you still can enter the Free Drawing. Send an email with your name and address to me, Ellen King, and we’ll send you ten tickets (or more, if you ask!). Be sure to return the tickets in order to be entered into the drawing. Or, if you’re planning a visit to Lee Vining, you can fill out tickets in our Information Center & Bookstore.

Tickets must be received by December 10, 2015. Remember—you can’t win a prize if you don’t enter!

New tables at the Mono Basin Outdoor Education Center

Wednesday, August 5th, 2015 by Melissa, Outdoor Education Instructor
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When students visit the Mono Basin Outdoor Education Center the OEC staff likes to spend as much time with them outside as possible, which is why the staff and students eat most of their meals together (weather permitting) at picnic tables in the backyard. Since the picnic tables are kept outside they are constantly exposed to the harsh elements of the Eastern Sierra, so it is no wonder they have begun to weather.

Photo by Santiago Escruceria.

New, durable picnic tables at the Mono Basin Outdoor Education Center thanks to generous members Art Carey, Dawn Cope, Linda Edwards, and Rick Garzoli & Holly Reid. Photo by Santiago Escruceria.

Thanks to donations from Art Carey, Dawn Cope, Linda Edwards, and Rick Garzoli & Holly Reid, the Mono Lake Committee was able to replace th e old, splintery wooden tables with new green and blue metal ones. They look great, they are durable, and a few of them are even handicap-accessible. All of us at the Committee are excited to have new tables at the OEC and they will definitely be put to good use for many years to come. Stop by and see these new additions to the Outdoor Education Center if you are passing through!

Intern Tina and OEC Instructor Edie assemble the new picnic tables. Photo by Santiago Escruceria.

Intern Tina and OEC Instructor Edie get the new picnic tables ready for use at the OEC. Photo by Santiago Escruceria.

Eastern Sierra loses James Wilson

Saturday, July 18th, 2015 by Lisa, Eastern Sierra Policy Director
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It is with heavy hearts and punch-to-the-gut reactions that we convey the news of James Wilson’s passing this past Wednesday at Renown Hospital in Reno. He died from complications of a stroke suffered the week before. He was 67 years old. He is survived by his wife Kay, his daughter Rosanne, son-in-law Bayard, and grandson Ansel.

Kay & James Wilson pictured last September at the Mono Basin Outdoor Education Center. Photo by Arya Degenhardt.

Kay & James Wilson pictured last September at the Mono Basin Outdoor Education Center. Along with Kay, James was a steadfast supporter of the Mono Lake Committee’s work on behalf of Mono Lake. Photo by Arya Degenhardt.

For residents and frequent visitors to the Eastern Sierra, James’ accomplishments are familiar and numerous. He was the founder of Wilson’s Eastside Sports in Bishop, co-founder of Friends of the Inyo, active member of Eastern Sierra Audubon, the California Wilderness Coalition, and the Bishop Rotary Club; the list goes on and on. Suffice it to say that James was involved in almost every environmental issue that emerged in the region for over 30 years, bringing his calm, principled, and collaborative approach to the table. He was driven by his passionate love for the Eastern Sierra and his strong desire to protect its wild places, encouraging others to get out and experience it firsthand.

As a dedicated and steadfast conservation leader in the Eastern Sierra, an avid birder and naturalist, and friend to many, James Wilson will be deeply missed.

The last of the day's light reflected in a pond in Lundy Canyon last Wednesday, on the evening that James passed away. Photo by Lisa Cutting.

The last of the day’s light reflected in a pond in Lundy Canyon this past Wednesday, the evening that James passed away. Photo by Lisa Cutting.

Seminar spotlight: Introduction to High Country Plants & Habitats

Wednesday, July 15th, 2015 by Elin, Communications Coordinator
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It’s one of the worst droughts on record, so that means there aren’t any flowers in the Mono Basin this year, right? Wrong!

Caption caption. Photo by Robbie Di Paolo.

Species of paintbrush are blooming brightly at many Mono Basin elevations, from riparian corridors where interns measure streamflow to alpine meadows. Photo by Robbie Di Paolo.

It’s one of the best wildflower years in the Eastern Sierra, thanks to the above-average precipitation we’ve received in May, June, and so far in July. The flowers are responding enthusiastically, so don’t miss the Introduction to High Country Plants & Habitats field seminar, scheduled for the peak of the summer bloom. Plants, animals, insects, geology, and weather all interact quickly during the short growing season, and this seminar is a guide to it all.

Introduction to High Country Plants & Habitats • July 31–August 2 • $165 per person/$150 for members • sign up here (more…)

Mono Lake Committee divests from fossil fuels

Monday, July 13th, 2015 by Geoff, Executive Director
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The Mono Lake Committee has now fully divested from fossil fuels. Photo by Arya Degenhardt.

The Mono Lake Committee has now fully divested from fossil fuels. Photo by Arya Degenhardt.

A worldwide fossil fuel divestment movement has begun involving governments, educational institutions, foundations, faith-based groups, individuals, and non-profit organizations. Participants range from Stanford University to the City of Seattle to the Ben & Jerry’s Foundation to Britain’s Prince Charles. We’re pleased to inform members that the Mono Lake Committee is part of the movement.

As inspirational climate leader and Mono Lake Committee member Bill McKibben says, divestment is a simple, direct action that counters “the scary new math of climate change.”

The Committee’s savings account hardly rivals those of big institutions. But similar to our solar panel installation several years ago, we need to continue to do our part to counter carbon pollution—an issue close to home as we grapple with the effects of a changing climate at Mono Lake.

While coal, gas, and oil companies were never a special focus in the Committee’s investments, they were often present in the diversified funds we used to safeguard endowment gifts, member bequests, and other savings. But no longer. The Mono Lake Committee has now fully divested from fossil fuels.

This post was also published as an article in the Summer 2015 Mono Lake Newsletter.

A toast to Randy Arnold and 25 Barefoot years at Mono Lake

Friday, July 10th, 2015 by Arya, Communications Director
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Randy Arnold. Photo by Arya Degenhardt.

Randy Arnold, Barefoot Wine ambassador and Mono Lake champion. Photo by Arya Degenhardt.

In spring 2003, the Mono Lake Committee got an intern application that stood out—Randy Arnold, 13-year ambassador for Barefoot Winery and 20-year Mono Lake Committee volunteer and member, wanted to be the Birding Intern. We were probably as surprised as his employers—Barefoot Wine founders Bonnie Harvey and Michael Houlihan, who had just given their #1 employee a sabbatical to follow his dream of working for Mono Lake.

Fast-forward to 2015 and Randy is celebrating his 25th anniversary with Barefoot. He continues to make good on the promise he made at age 14 (when he first visited Mono Lake on his way to 4-H summer camp) to return to the Eastern Sierra as often as possible. (more…)

2015 Mono Lake Committee Scholarships awarded

Sunday, June 14th, 2015 by Arya, Communications Director
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We are proud to announce the recipients of the 2015 Mono Lake Committee ScholarshipOlivia Nelson of Lee Vining High School and Carson Bold of Mammoth High School wrote essays that won them $1,000 each to help with their education expenses.

2015-06-12 MLC Scholarship Carson Bold

Arya Degenhardt presented Carson Bold with a Mono Lake Committee Scholarship at the Mammoth High School scholarship breakfast. Photo courtesy of Susan Morning.

Students were asked to go to the shore of Mono Lake and spend at least 15 minutes sitting quietly, taking in the sights, sounds, and smells while reflecting on the question, “Why does Mono Lake matter?” Olivia and Carson wrote essays that best demonstrated a connection with the lake and the question we asked. (more…)

Blue revolution in Southern California

Sunday, June 7th, 2015 by Bartshé, Education Director
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Over half of all urban water use goes toward outdoor use. In Southern California, residential lawns provide a frontier of opportunity to conserve water. The worst drought in the state’s history and some strategic financial incentives have sparked a water-saving landscape revolution.

How big is 172 million square feet? It’s the equivalent of all of Los Angeles International Airport and a chunk of El Segundo. Imagine every square foot of this circle yielding 42 gallons of water each year.

How big is 172 million square feet? It’s the equivalent of all of Los Angeles International Airport and a chunk of El Segundo. Imagine every square foot of this circle yielding 42 gallons of water each year.

Throughout Southern California public utilities are offering financial incentive to replace water-intensive lawns with more water efficient landscapes. Turf replacement in the Southland is so successful that (more…)

One drop and a dozen options: Sierra Watershed Progressive

Wednesday, June 3rd, 2015 by Robbie, Project Specialist
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This is a follow-up post to the “One drop, a dozen options” article in the Summer 2015 Mono Lake Newsletter. The article mentions longtime Mono Lake Committee member Regina Hirsch and her business Sierra Watershed Progressive with respect to the greywater system she helped us create in 2012. But there are a ton of awesome projects that Regina and Sierra Watershed Progressive have tackled and I wanted to highlight two of them here: (more…)

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