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The Mono-logue » Staff Musings

‘Staff Musings’ Category

Star gazing in the Mono Basin

Monday, July 17th, 2017 by Charlotte, Mono Lake Intern
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Being far from civilization, having few trees, and the framing of the mountains makes the Mono Basin an amazing place for star gazing. The stars have always created a sense of wonder in the human mind, leading us to explore them with our imagination far before space travel technology. Spending time in the basin has reinvigorated my sense of love and wonder for the night sky. If you’re like me, then I would recommend setting your sights on these stargazing spots.

Starry night skies and moonlit tufa at South Tufa. Photo courtesy of Bristlecone Media.

1) South Tufa
South Tufa can be pretty busy during the day, but once night falls it turns into a peaceful place to stargaze. With the tufa towers surrounding you and the sounds of the lapping water, you will be transported (more…)

Mono Lake and me: 20 years in the making

Wednesday, July 12th, 2017 by Aviva, Mono Lake Intern
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As a human geography major I often explain what I study as the intersection of how place impacts people and how people impact place. This is why I was so drawn to interning for the Mono Lake Committee—the Mono Basin has been a second home for me most of my life. What I did not realize until I was a teenager was that the Committee is the reason this landscape is still here—for birds, animals, and humans alike. I spent so many vacations in Lundy Canyon, the north shore sand dunes, or walking at South Tufa, yet I always took for granted how much work has gone into preserving this basin and enabling me and countless others to enjoy this slice of paradise.

Me at age nine, with my mom and our loyal lab Jasper. Photo courtesy of Malcolm North.

My love for the outdoors stated here and I’m sure for many other people, so it is now so exciting to work (more…)

From East Coast to West Coast

Wednesday, June 21st, 2017 by Michael, Mono Lake Intern
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After hearing about Mono Lake from a former intern, I had to check out the area for myself.

This year’s seasonal staff get an orientation to the Mono Basin’s complex plumbing from Executive Director Geoff McQuilkin, center. Photo by Michael Morris.

I was raised in Massachusetts and was lucky enough to attend college at the University of Vermont, but I had never traveled west past South Dakota before! The aspect that I love most about my time so far in the Mono Basin is how new everything is, from the massive mountains to the crazy weather. Here are some photos from my first few weeks as a summer intern: (more…)

Great Mother’s Day gift: A guided trip at Mono Lake

Wednesday, May 10th, 2017 by Nora, Lead Naturalist Guide
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My mother, Kerry, at Black Point. Photo by Nora Livingston.

My mother loves the Mono Basin. She lives on the coast in the lush hills of West Marin, but she craves the dry expanse of sagebrush and the quiet aspen canyons of the Eastside, so she visits me as often as she can in the summertime. She and my dad set up their tent in Lee Vining Canyon and spend their days exploring Mono Lake, basking in the glory of the Sierra, and painting flowers with watercolors. She, like many of our visitors, likes to make the most out of her time here, filling her days with adventure, diving deeper into her experience here in the Eastern Sierra.

Last year, I gave my mom the gift of attending the Miwok-Paiute Basketry field seminar so she could learn the art of weaving willows from Julia and Lucy Parker. She was thrilled. She enjoyed the seminar immensely, and was very proud of her beautiful basket. In fact, she loved it so much, she signed up for the seminar again this year!

Why not give your mother the gift of learning and exploration for Mother’s Day this year? (more…)

Spring is springing at Mono Lake

Sunday, March 19th, 2017 by Gabrielle, Project Specialist
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After what feels like an endless winter, signs of spring are starting to pop up all over the Mono Basin. Daytime highs in the mid to high 60’s mean that most of the snow around Mono Lake and in town has melted away. Morning commutes are feeling more and more like the crisp summer mornings I came to love while leading canoe tours and Nora, our Lead Naturalist Guide, has led the way, declaring it officially sandal weather.

We’re not the only ones enjoying the warmer weather; the songs of Red-winged Blackbirds, Cassin’s Finches, and Spotted Towhees can be heard through town. And a quick trip to the lake reveals that California Gulls have already begun to arrive for their summer nesting season.

Red-winged Blackbird. Photo by Nora Livingston.

Although we look forward to the warm and busy summer months ahead, we are excited to see that Mother Nature still has snow to share with Mono Lake. The forecast calls for a storm starting Tuesday and our hopes are high for a few more like it!

As of March 15 the lake is at 6378.2 feet above sea level and with all the snow we got this winter it will only continue to rise. It will be a great season and we cannot wait to share it with you.

A skiing adventure to check Mono Lake’s level

Tuesday, January 24th, 2017 by Robbie, Restoration Field Technician
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This January is proving to be the wettest January in our weather recording history. In Lee Vining, we saw 5.5 inches of snow on January 4, and we received a combined 3.92 inches of rain on January 8 and 9. With all this water pouring into Mono Lake, I set out with my coworker Andrew to measure the lake level on cross country skis.

Mono Lake Committee Project Specialist Andrew Youssef. Photo by Robbie Di Paolo.

An amused Andrew shuffles towards Lee Vining Creek. Photo by Robbie Di Paolo.

It was Wednesday, January 11 at 10:00am. The sky was blue, the wind was calm, and the day before had enveloped the basin in (more…)

Overnight snow blankets the Mono Basin

Sunday, November 27th, 2016 by Andrew, Digital Engagement Coordinator
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Seven inches of snow fell overnight Saturday, blanketing everything in the Mono Basin with snow, including the islands. Photo by Andrew Youssef.

Seven inches of snow fell overnight Saturday, blanketing everything in the Mono Basin with snow, including the islands. Photo by Andrew Youssef.

For days we have all been constantly checking the weather forecast, refreshing radar maps, and hoping that the predictions of an inch or two of snow would deliver. This morning, I pulled open my blinds and my jaw dropped. There was about half a foot of snow on the ground and I was thrilled. Having grown up in Georgia, any amount of snow is exciting for me, but this amount of snow—especially during this five-year drought—made me giddy. In my excitement, I actually took out my cross-country skis and skied along the road to the office before it was plowed! Along the Highway 395 corridor, between seven and 12 inches of snow fell overnight. (more…)

We’re thankful for those who love Mono Lake

Thursday, November 24th, 2016 by Elin, Communications Coordinator
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Long live Mono Lake! Photo by Arya Degenhardt.

Long live Mono Lake! Photo by Arya Degenhardt.

This Thanksgiving Day, we are thankful for your generous donations, faithful support, visits to our Lee Vining headquarters, emails asking about our work, views of our website, comments on our Mono-logue posts, Instagram photos, Facebook and Twitter comments, phone calls from far away, and above all, for your love for this place. Together we are standing strong for Mono Lake. Thank you and happy Thanksgiving.

Resource damage below Tioga Lodge: Observations and photographs

Friday, November 18th, 2016 by Nora, Lead Naturalist Guide
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In early November I ventured down to the shoreline of Mono Lake below the Tioga Lodge to use my former-biologist eyes to assess the damage done to State Park land and Post Office Creek.

In late October a heavy excavator tore up State Park land along the shore of Mono Lake below Tioga Lodge and Highway 395. Photo by Bartshe Miller.

In late October a heavy excavator tore up State Park land along the shore of Mono Lake below Tioga Lodge and Highway 395. Photo by Bartshe Miller.

It was interesting to contrast the damage caused by the Marina Fire with the damage caused by heavy machinery; I’m sure the combination of the two events is even more detrimental. While I made observations and took photographs, I was especially concerned by two things—the bird habitat adjacent to the excavation and the wide swath of flood water rushing down from what used to be a creek channel that now spreads the water across the landscape haphazardly on it’s way to Mono Lake. (more…)

Deer migration season in the Eastern Sierra

Sunday, September 25th, 2016 by Gabrielle, Project Specialist
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Dear travelers and locals alike,

If you’ve ever spent time driving Highway 395, especially during fall or spring, you’ve most likely had the chance to see one of the Eastern Sierra’s many mule deer.

Family of mule deer enjoy a beautiful day at County Park. Photo by Sandra Noll.

Family of mule deer at County Park. Photo by Sandra Noll.

These beautiful animals are part of the Round Valley mule deer herd. Every spring they migrate to higher elevations to give birth and feed on the foliage of alpine meadows, returning each (more…)

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