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Refreshing ‘Ologists: Effects of climate change on mountain ecosystems with Connie Millar

Sunday, September 9th, 2018 by Joslyn, Project Specialist
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Join us on Wednesday, September 12 at 4:00pm in the Mono Lake Committee gallery for this week’s Refreshments with Refreshing ‘Ologists presentation. Connie Millar, US Forest Service Senior Research Ecologist, will be here to discuss the effects of climate change on mountain ecosystems. If you can join us, register here for this free program!

A pika near Virginia Lakes. Connie will be discussing her research on pikas, which are particularly vulnerable to rising temperatures. Photo courtesy of Ken Hickman.

Connie will provide an overview of her research into the responses of mountain ecosystems—in particular, pines and pikas—to changing climates. With information on how species responded to (more…)

Free guided tours at Mono Lake: Fall schedule

Saturday, September 8th, 2018 by Max, Mono Lake Intern
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The seasons are starting to shift and with that comes a shift in the Mono Basin interpretative tour schedule. Join a naturalist for a free guided South Tufa tour or a Stars Over Mono talk this fall—both are great ways to experience the Mono Basin from a new perspective and learn something new, no matter if you’re a new visitor or you return every year.

Join us at South Tufa on Monday nights this fall for the free Stars Over Mono program. Photo courtesy of Gowrishankar Lakshminarayanan.

This fall, South Tufa tours will be offered to visitors on Saturdays and Sundays at 1:00pm and will begin at the South Tufa kiosk. These tours will be led by a naturalist from the (more…)

Mono Lake Committee initiates study of Mono Basin glaciers

Friday, September 7th, 2018 by Mono Lake Committee Staff
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Jace Shuler, a junior math major at Boston College, started a study of Mono Basin glaciers when he worked at the Mono Lake Committee this summer. This post was written by Jace.

When I tell people that I spent the summer studying and mapping the glaciers in the Mono Basin, the question I always seem to get is, “There are glaciers around Mono Lake?” The short answer is, yes, there are, and they are of great interest to the Mono Lake Committee.

The first step of my project with the Committee was to identify what exists in the area, both in terms of glaciers and data about those glaciers. From there (more…)

Lee Vining Creek Trail repair work begins this month

Wednesday, September 5th, 2018 by Robbie, Restoration Field Technician
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Ever since record high streamflows washed out a section of the Lee Vining Creek Trail in June 2017, the Mono Lake Committee has been working with several agencies and organizations to create a plan to fix the trail. We’re excited to announce that the trail repair work will begin this month!

Mammoth Lakes Trails Coordinator Joel Rathje and his crew check out the hillside where the rerouted portion of the Lee Vining Creek Trail will go. Photo by Robbie Di Paolo.

The trail will not be closed as the repair work takes place, but hikers may see trail crews and signs about the work happening. The trail damage was in a section of (more…)

Refreshing ‘Ologists: Insects & conservation with Kristie Nelson

Sunday, September 2nd, 2018 by Joslyn, Project Specialist
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Join us on Wednesday, September 5 at 4:00pm in the Mono Lake Committee gallery for this week’s Refreshments with Refreshing ‘Ologists presentation. Kristie Nelson, Lead Scientist for Point Blue Conservation Science, will be here to discuss insects and their ability to conserve the planet.

A wasp and a Sierra Blue butterfly pollinating. Photo courtesy of Kristie Nelson.

Insects comprise over 80% of Earth’s organisms, yet relatively few people pay attention to them, and declining populations or localized extinctions risk not being noticed. For example (more…)

Fall hours at the Mono Lake Committee Information Center & Bookstore

Saturday, September 1st, 2018 by Joslyn, Project Specialist
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September has crept up on us again! Interns are migrating from Lee Vining back to school while the days become shorter and markedly more chilly.

With that comes a change in store hours at the Mono Lake Committee Information Center & Bookstore. Starting on Tuesday, September 4 we’ll be open from 9:00am to 7:00pm. Not to worry—as always, we’re open seven days a week.

A couple of interns and seasonal staff remain, eager to answer your questions, play the Mono Lake Story movie in our gallery and help you make your purchases. Please stop by if you are passing through Lee Vining—we’d love to see you!

The story of the Pioneer Solar Pavilion

Wednesday, August 29th, 2018 by Janet, Volunteer Coordinator
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“Once upon a time, in a little mountain town on the edge of a big blue lake, a small group of people wanted to do something. They noticed that winter snows were less deep, and summer days were drier and hotter with forest fire smoke in the air. The group wanted to protect their beautiful lake, which depended on the snow to stay healthy.

“So the group decided to build a beautiful pavilion with a roof of solar panels, based on an idea from a town across the sea, to showcase how it is possible to have clean energy. It was a wonderful plan, but there was no money or knowledge to build something so grand.”

This is the beginning of the story of the Pioneer Solar Pavilion that was dedicated on Saturday, August 25, 2018 at Hess Park in Lee Vining.

Lee Vining’s Pioneer Solar Pavilion is a community-built gathering space that provides shade, electricity, wi-fi, shelter from wind, and information about local pioneer families. Photo by Elin Ljung.

The rest of the story is this: (more…)

Learn about the hot topic of wildfire in the Fire Ecology of the Eastern Sierra field seminar

Monday, August 27th, 2018 by Eric, Mono Lake Intern
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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…)

Mono Lake volunteer spotlight: Joy Costello

Sunday, August 26th, 2018 by Anna, Mono Lake Intern
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Originally from San Antonio, Texas, volunteer Joy Costello has found home in the Mono Basin. She moved to Bridgeport in 2013 and discovered Mono Lake soon after: “Mono Lake was one of the coolest things. I knew I wanted to be around it more and learn more about it.”

Joy helping remove invasive white sweet clover in the Mono Basin at a restoration event. Photo by Nigel Bates.

One of her favorite early memories of the lake is when she saw a nest of Great Horned Owls on a canoe tour. She enjoys watching all the animals at the lake, especially the California Gulls eating the alkali flies. As a lover of animals and the environment, becoming a Mono Lake Volunteer was a natural next step for Joy. (more…)

Successful invasive sweet clover removal at Mono Lake

Thursday, August 23rd, 2018 by Nigel, Birding Intern
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This summer, Mono Lake Committee staff, volunteers, and guest naturalists made substantial progress toward removing invasive white sweet clover (Melilotus albus) from the Old Marina area. This annual project is a crucial piece of the Committee’s mission to restore native habitats throughout the Mono Basin.

Volunteers Joy and Maddog add to the growing pile of pulled sweet clover. Photo by Nigel Bates.

Sweet clover can quickly overtake an ecosystem if it is not held in check, so our yearly invasive removal events are critical to maintaining the biodiversity of the area. Over the course of two mornings, we removed 199.75 pounds of sweet clover! This marked one of our most efficient summers ever, with each participant pulling an average of 17 pounds. Thanks to all of our volunteers for their hard work and good spirits.

As we pulled sweet clover, we were treated to informal lectures by our guest naturalists (more…)

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