Friday, September 22nd, 2017 by Gabrielle, Project SpecialistcloseAuthor: Gabrielle, Project SpecialistName: Gabrielle Renteria Title: Project Specialist About: Gabby’s love for the Sierra Nevada started when she began visiting Yosemite National Park every year as a child. During her summer as a Mono Lake Intern she shared her passion for nature, Mono Lake, and the Sierra with visitors, and she's now staying through the winter as a Project Specialist. When she’s not working you can find her drinking yerba, hiking, fishing, or rolling around in the grass. Gabby hopes to become an Interpretive Ranger for the National Park Service so she can continue to share the great outdoors with others!See All Posts by Gabrielle (26) Contact Gabrielle
This week is the first week of fall, with fresh snow on the hills above town. The aspen leaves are beginning to change color, and most of our seasonal staff have headed back home or to back to school.
Intern Jenny shows visitors Mono Lake’s brine shrimp during a South Tufa tour. Photo by Bartshe Miller.
With all of these changes comes a revised tour schedule. Free walking tours at South Tufa are offered at 1:00pm on Saturdays and Sundays through October. If you can’t make it to one of our weekly tours be sure to check out monolakemobile.orgon your smartphone, where you’ll find a self-guided tour of South Tufa that is accessible anytime.
Sunday, September 17th, 2017 by Nora, Lead Naturalist GuidecloseAuthor: Nora, Lead Naturalist GuideName: Nora Livingston Title: Lead Naturalist Guide About: Nora is a passionate naturalist who got her interpretive start as a Mono Lake Intern in 2008 and went on to seven years of seasonal ornithologist work in the most beautiful corners of California and beyond. She has since led many popular birding field trips for the Mono Basin Bird Chautauqua. It is her utmost joy to share her love of birds and nature with anyone and everyone to help foster a deeper respect for this unique planet. Contact Nora if you would like to set up a custom guided field trip, or if you have questions about the Chautauqua.See All Posts by Nora (23) Contact Nora
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…)
Saturday, September 16th, 2017 by Michael, Mono Lake InterncloseAuthor: Michael, Mono Lake InternName: Michael Morris Title: Mono Lake Intern About: After growing up in New England and receiving a degree in environmental science at the University of Vermont, the west coast is calling Michael's name. With a passion for restoring natural ecosystems and community involvement, he is extremely excited to explore the Sierra Nevada this summer! In his free time Michael loves to ski, hike, play Ultimate Frisbee and lay in his hammock.See All Posts by Michael (4) Contact Michael
Last Sunday, September 10, 132 runners and walkers challenged themselves to ascend the 12.4 miles of the Tioga Pass during this year’s annual Tioga Pass Run. This was another successful year for the epic event, where the participants start in front of the Mono Lake Committee in Lee Vining and finish at the entrance to Yosemite National Park, gaining 3,165 feet of elevation along the way to the top.
Runners make their way up Highway 120 west with the horizon dominated by the Dana Plateau. Photo by Bartshe Miller.
Kenny Palmer of Mammoth Lakes won the overall race this year with a time of 1:37:31. Jessica Francois, a Lee Vining local and (more…)
Friday, September 15th, 2017 by Jenny, Birding InterncloseAuthor: Jenny, Birding InternName: Jennifer Rieke Title: Birding Intern About: Jenny was first introduced to the wonders of the Mono Basin on a field program through UC Santa Cruz in the spring of 2014. Since then, she hasn't been able to stay away for long. She has worked in Yosemite for the past two summers, spending her days off rambling around the high mountain peaks and finding the best spots to swim in the river. Since graduating, Jenny has been working as an educator at various organizations, including a bird observatory in Minnesota, a wildlife refuge in Florida, and as a volunteer Park Ranger in Tuolumne Meadows. She is excited to spend the summer amongst Sage Thrashers, Penstemon newberryi, and tufa towers—and to share the magic of Mono Lake with others.See All Posts by Jennifer (3) Contact Jennifer
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…)
Wednesday, September 13th, 2017 by Ava, Mono Lake InterncloseAuthor: Ava, Mono Lake InternName: Ava Stavros Title: Mono Lake Intern About: Born in Bishop and raised in Mammoth Lakes, Ava is thrilled to be back in the Sierra Nevada this summer to intern with the Mono Lake Committee. She has lived the last seven years on the verdant coast of Northern California, where she completed her bachelor's degree in English Writing Practices at Humboldt State. Since graduation in 2013, she has enjoyed volunteering at Redwood National Park, hiking the trails and beaches, riding and working on bicycles, reading about natural history, and creating art in various media. Ava gets excited about rocks, birds, books, being outside, and the intersection of art and science.See All Posts by Ava (3) Contact Ava
Fall is slowly making its way into the Mono Basin, evident in the dropping temperatures, a few scattered aspen branches turning gold, and the sudden quiet in the town of Lee Vining. Following the birds, our seasonal interns begin their migrations to new locations after a few productive months at the Mono Lake Committee. With the passing of summer, most of our guest visitations have also slowed down considerably.
Scattered clouds over the Information Center & Bookstore yesterday (and check out those new solar panels we installed in June!). Photo by Ava Stavros.
Be sure to stop by to get the latest information on all things Mono Lake, check for updates on the changing autumn foliage as it arrives, and browse the bookstore for holiday gifts before the rush. We have had a beautiful summer here, and we are so happy to have gotten to share it with all of you!
Tuesday, September 12th, 2017 by Molly, Mono Lake InterncloseAuthor: Molly, Mono Lake InternName: Molly Casey Title: Mono Lake Intern About: Molly just graduated from Colorado State University with a degree in Human Dimensions of Natural Resources. She loves exploring new places and enjoying nature. Last year she spent time kayaking in southern Alaska for a field course and studied abroad in New Zealand where her favorite thing to do was go backpacking on the weekends. She is excited to work for the Mono Lake Committee and adventure around this area!See All Posts by Molly (11) Contact Molly
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…)
Sunday, September 10th, 2017 by Molly, Mono Lake InterncloseAuthor: Molly, Mono Lake InternName: Molly Casey Title: Mono Lake Intern About: Molly just graduated from Colorado State University with a degree in Human Dimensions of Natural Resources. She loves exploring new places and enjoying nature. Last year she spent time kayaking in southern Alaska for a field course and studied abroad in New Zealand where her favorite thing to do was go backpacking on the weekends. She is excited to work for the Mono Lake Committee and adventure around this area!See All Posts by Molly (11) Contact Molly
Join us on Wednesday, September 13 at 4:00pm in the Mono Lake Committee gallery for this week’s Refreshments with Refreshing ‘Ologists presentation. UC Davis researcher Mary Clapp will be here to discuss her ongoing research on the impacts of introduced trout on the native bird community in the high-elevation lake basins of the Sierra Nevada. Her work focuses on the connection between water and land by using acoustic recorders to remotely capture lakeside activity by birds and bats.
Researcher Mary Clapp is studying high-elevation lakes like this one to see if trout introduction is affecting the bird communities. Photo by Nora Livingston.
Introduced trout prey on native aquatic insects like mayflies and stoneflies, thus depleting the abundance and diversity of those insects in fish-containing lakes. These insects have a winged adult life-stage, at which point they become available to terrestrial predators (birds and bats) as a valuable food source.
Mary is testing the hypothesis that trout are therefore in competition with birds for this insect food, and that as a result, bird activity is greater at fishless lakes where aquatic insect emergences remain abundant. She will discuss a few different approaches to analyzing acoustic data, the benefits and limits of the technology, and how it compares with traditional survey methods. Her talk is entitled “Investigating the Impacts of Introduced Trout on the Native Bird at High-Elevation Lakes.”
If you’re interested, join us in the gallery at 4:00pm on Wednesday for this free presentation and free snacks!
Wednesday, September 6th, 2017 by Molly, Mono Lake InterncloseAuthor: Molly, Mono Lake InternName: Molly Casey Title: Mono Lake Intern About: Molly just graduated from Colorado State University with a degree in Human Dimensions of Natural Resources. She loves exploring new places and enjoying nature. Last year she spent time kayaking in southern Alaska for a field course and studied abroad in New Zealand where her favorite thing to do was go backpacking on the weekends. She is excited to work for the Mono Lake Committee and adventure around this area!See All Posts by Molly (11) Contact Molly
Today at 4:00pm, join us in the Mono Lake Committee gallery to hear National Park Service researcher Mike McDonald speak about the Sierra Nevada red fox.
The Sierra Nevada red fox, a species that was thought to be gone from Yosemite, was re-discovered in the park in 2014. Researcher Mike McDonald is trying to find out why. Photo courtesy of the US Forest Service.
Mike will be presenting about Yosemite National Park’s effort this past winter to investigate the Sierra Nevada red fox, which was re-discovered in the park in 2014. If you are interested in these charismatic critters, come by the Mono Lake Committee today at 4:00pm for free snacks and this free lecture.
The Refreshing ‘Ologist talks aren’t over yet! We have one more talk scheduled for next Wednesday, September 13 with Mary Clapp, whose presentation is called “Learning by Ear: Investigating the Impacts of Introduced Trout on the Native Bird Community at High-Elevation Lakes.”
Friday, September 1st, 2017 by Lily, Information Center & Bookstore ManagercloseAuthor: Lily, Information Center & Bookstore ManagerName: Lily Pastel Title: Information Center & Bookstore Manager About: Lily stocks the store with educational, handmade, local, and ecologically friendly merchandise and keeps operations functioning efficiently. She graduated from Humboldt State University in May 2014, where she majored in Environmental Science. Contact Lily with questions or feedback about the items we carry, if you would like to place an order for Mono Lake Committee merchandise, if you have questions about an existing order, if you have questions about or need assistance with our online store, or if you are a vendor or artisan who would like us to carry your work.See All Posts by Lily (57) Contact Lily
It’s already September and as fall sneaks up, things begin to change around Lee Vining. For the Mono Lake Committee the end of summer means that the seasonal staff begin to depart and there are new hours in our Information Center & Bookstore.
Starting on Tuesday, September 5 the Mono Lake Committee Information Center & Bookstore will be open 9:00am–7:00pm every day.
We hope you’ll stop in during these last days of summer for information about Mono Lake, and to get a jump-start on your holiday shopping. This summer has been a whirlwind of activities and we are thrilled so many of you were able to experience Mono Lake with us!
Thursday, August 31st, 2017 by Julissa, Canoe CoordinatorcloseAuthor: Julissa, Canoe CoordinatorName: Julissa Rosales Title: Canoe Coordinator About: Julissa graduated from Pacific University in Oregon with a degree in Environmental Studies. Born and raised on the Central Coast of California, she has developed a deep passion for the environmental non-profit community and has been involved with programs such as AmeriCorps and Audubon California. Her favorite forms of water are rain, streams, wetlands, and lakes. Her hobbies include crochet crafts, dancing, listening to music, birding, and yoga.See All Posts by Julissa (5) Contact Julissa
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…)