Saturday, July 18th, 2015 by Lisa, Eastern Sierra Policy DirectorcloseAuthor: Lisa, Eastern Sierra Policy DirectorName: Lisa Cutting Title: Eastern Sierra Policy Director About: Lisa concentrates on the Mono Basin's policy issues such as protecting the integrity of the Scenic Area, coordinating with regional agency staff, and working with the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power and scientists on the ongoing restoration of Mono Lake and its tributary streams. Lisa uses sleuthing-out good fly fishing spots as another excuse for hiking, and it's always a treat when her happy golden retriever Abbey comes to visit the office!See All Posts by Lisa (12) Contact Lisa
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. 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 this past Wednesday, the evening that James passed away. Photo by Lisa Cutting.
Wednesday, July 15th, 2015 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 is an EMT on the Lee Vining Fire Department, loves sitting at Latte Da Coffee Cafe immersed in a good book, and watches English Premier League football (soccer) at any opportunity.See All Posts by Elin (224) Contact Elin
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!
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.
Monday, July 13th, 2015 by Geoff, Executive DirectorcloseAuthor: Geoff, Executive DirectorName: Geoff McQuilkin Title: Executive Director About: Geoff's goals for the Committee are: assuring Mono Lake's continuing protection, restoring Mono Lake's tributary streams, developing a permanent education program, and assuring that the strong tradition of scientific research at Mono Lake continues. A graduate of Harvard in the history of science, Geoff has worked for the Committee since 1992. He's happy to live close to the lake with his wife Sarah and their daughters Caelen and Ellery.See All Posts by Geoff (2) Contact Geoff
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.
Friday, July 10th, 2015 by Arya, Communications DirectorcloseAuthor: Arya, Communications DirectorName: Arya Degenhardt Title: Communications Director About: Arya oversees the Committee's communications program, which includes the Mono Lake Newsletter. She loves her job because she gets to share the inspiring work of the Mono Lake Committee with members and visitors alike. Her favorite things to do in the Mono Basin include ice skating on nearby lakes, skiing the Mono Craters, and getting to smell the sagebrush when it rains.See All Posts by Arya (141) Contact Arya
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…)
Sunday, June 14th, 2015 by Arya, Communications DirectorcloseAuthor: Arya, Communications DirectorName: Arya Degenhardt Title: Communications Director About: Arya oversees the Committee's communications program, which includes the Mono Lake Newsletter. She loves her job because she gets to share the inspiring work of the Mono Lake Committee with members and visitors alike. Her favorite things to do in the Mono Basin include ice skating on nearby lakes, skiing the Mono Craters, and getting to smell the sagebrush when it rains.See All Posts by Arya (141) Contact Arya
We are proud to announce the recipients of the 2015 Mono Lake Committee Scholarship. Olivia 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.
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…)
Sunday, June 7th, 2015 by Bartshé, Education DirectorcloseAuthor: Bartshé, Education DirectorName: Bartshé Miller Title: Education Director About: Bartshé directs the Committee's Outdoor Experiences Program, Canoe Program, and Interpretive Programs, and manages the Mono Basin Field Station. He has been an Eastern Sierra resident since 1993.See All Posts by Bartshé (47) Contact Bartshé
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.
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…)
Wednesday, June 3rd, 2015 by Robbie, Project SpecialistcloseAuthor: Robbie, Project SpecialistName: Robert Di Paolo Title: About: A 2012 graduate from Humboldt State University with a degree in Environmental Science, Robbie loves hiking, camping, and bike touring, all of which are great Eastern Sierra activities. He also likes to play music, primarily guitar and singing, but also flute and alto saxophone. If you're interested in volunteering with the Committee's restoration program, have questions about your membership, or are interested in our social media efforts, contact Robbie.See All Posts by Robert (18) Contact Robert
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…)
Monday, June 1st, 2015 by Arya, Communications DirectorcloseAuthor: Arya, Communications DirectorName: Arya Degenhardt Title: Communications Director About: Arya oversees the Committee's communications program, which includes the Mono Lake Newsletter. She loves her job because she gets to share the inspiring work of the Mono Lake Committee with members and visitors alike. Her favorite things to do in the Mono Basin include ice skating on nearby lakes, skiing the Mono Craters, and getting to smell the sagebrush when it rains.See All Posts by Arya (141) Contact Arya
This is the first time in 37 years that we have featured the Milky Way on the cover of the Mono Lake Newsletter. Tufa and Milky Way, by photographer and Mono Lake Committee member Thomas Piekunka, is not only a stunning view of the night sky over Mono Lake, it was shot without artificial light. Knowing that the photograph was taken with sensitivity for the subject—without disrupting wildlife (people included) with bright lights at night—makes it that much more beautiful.
That idea, that knowing more about something can make it more beautiful, is actually a pretty good theme for this issue of the Mono Lake Newsletter. Let’s face it, drought doesn’t look good on Mono Lake. Dusty exposed lakebed and weak trickles of water in cobbled creek channels are hard to see. With the final snowpack numbers in we’ve had to face up to some stark realities about what the coming summer is going to mean for the Mono Basin—a potential two-foot vertical drop in lake level not being the least of it.
Today the lake is at 6,379 feet above sea level. Without the Mono Lake Committee, the lake would be at 6350′. That’s not only 29 vertical feet of water, it’s the difference between a landscape with a recovering ecosystem, and one without. So, when I look out at Mono Lake knowing it could be that much worse, I can still see a landscape that has undoubtedly stalled out, but is, in the bigger scheme of things, on the road to recovery. Mono Lake has protections in place and a dedicated group of people who really, really care about it, work for it every single day, and are determined to figure out the best things for it no matter what the circumstances. I’m pretty sure there is extra beauty in that.
Maybe you should come see for yourself—walk the shoreline, check out the night sky, or scout out some water and follow the lead of the dipper below.
American Dippers are North America’s only truly aquatic songbird, and catch their food underwater by swimming and walking on the bottom of streams. A family of dippers takes up residence along Lee Vining Creek each summer—if you listen closely you can hear them singing and see them diving for food and feeding chicks. Photo courtesy of Marie Read.
Saturday, May 2nd, 2015 by Lily, Canoe CoordinatorcloseAuthor: Lily, Canoe CoordinatorName: Lily Pastel Title: About: Lily graduated from Humboldt State University in May 2014, where she majored in Environmental Science. She was drawn to the Mono Basin by the beauty of the area as well as the Mono Lake Committee's worthy cause. After working through the winter on projects like the Andrea Lawrence Award Dinner and the Mono Basin Bird Chautauqua, Lily is paddling the waters of Mono Lake for the summer. Contact Lily if you are interested in taking a canoe tour on Mono Lake.See All Posts by Lily (15) Contact Lily
On April 24th community members, friends, and family of Andrea Mead Lawrence gathered at Mammoth Mountain’s Parallax Restaurant to commemorate Andrea’s life and those who embody her spirit of community and conservationism through the presentation of the Andrea Lawrence Award.
Quentin Lawrence, Ted Schade, and Geoff McQuilkin with Ted’s Andrea Lawrence Award. Photo by Santiago Escruceria.
Andrea was a visionary environmental leader, two-time Olympic gold medalist, mother of five, 16-year Mono County Supervisor, and Mono Lake Committee board member. Since her passing in 2009, the Mono Lake Committee has hosted the Andrea Lawrence Award Dinner to celebrate her influential life and those who continue to improve and protect the Eastern Sierra through their passionate engagement with community and the land. (more…)
Wednesday, April 22nd, 2015 by Jessica, Office ManagercloseAuthor: Jessica, Office ManagerName: Jessica Horn Title: Office Manager About: Jess began working at the Mono Lake Committee in 2010, oversaw the bookstore for several years, and returned to the Mono Lake Committee in late 2014 as Office Manager after working at a local resort and starting her own business. Jess creates the complicated office and bookstore schedule, oversees the intern and volunteer programs, and keeps the office functioning smoothly. If you have questions about job opportunities at the Mono Lake Committee, would like to volunteer at Mono Lake, or need any general information about the Mono Lake Committee, contact Jess.See All Posts by Jessica (34) Contact Jessica