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…)
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…)
Tuesday, September 5th, 2017 by Charlotte, Mono Lake InterncloseAuthor: Charlotte, Mono Lake InternName: Charlotte Johnston-Carter Title: Mono Lake Intern About: Originally from sunny San Luis Obispo, Charlotte now lives in British Columbia and studies Biology and Environmental Studies at the University of Victoria. Charlotte spends most of her time as an advocate and organizer in the LGBTQ community. When she's not busy with school or her advocacy work, you can find her drawing comics or exploring nature. Charlotte hopes to work in nature and conservation after graduating university, so she is very excited to spend her summer working and living at Mono Lake!See All Posts by Charlotte (4) Contact Charlotte
With college starting soon, I have to say goodbye to Mono Lake a little earlier than my other seasonal coworkers. This summer has been one of the best of my life, so it will be a bittersweet goodbye. As a final goodbye to this amazing corner of the world, here are some of my favorite photos and memories from this summer.
Mono Lake Intern Charlotte standing by the bronze bear in Lee Vining. Photo by Aviva North.
Monday, August 21st, 2017 by Andrew, Digital Engagement CoordinatorcloseAuthor: Andrew, Digital Engagement CoordinatorName: Andrew Youssef Title: Digital Engagement Coordinator About: Andrew works to connect to Mono Lake Committee supporters and members digitally through video content and social media. Some know him as "the voice of Mono Lake," from his narration of the South Tufa self-guided tour on the Mono Lake mobile website. He also helps organize the Mono Basin Bird Chautauqua, the Committee's Wild & Scenic Film Festival in Los Angeles, and the Field Seminar program. Andrew first visited Mono Lake at the height of the California drought and now is thrilled to see the lake on the rise. On his days off, you'll find him outside relaxing by Lee Vining Creek, hiking in the High Sierra, or skiing wherever there is snow.See All Posts by Andrew (36) Contact Andrew
June 2014—Mono Lake level: 6380.4 feet above sea level
One of my first visits to Mono Lake on a full moon in 2014. Photo by Andrew Youssef.
Just three years ago, during the middle of California’s historic drought, I visited Mono Lake for the first time. The large, salty lake in the middle of the high desert amazed me and I vividly remember admiring the incredible tufa towers for the first time one summer evening. That was before I worked for the Mono Lake Committee, before I understood the significance of Mono Lake’s level, and the last time I would see the lake with that much water until this month (August 2017). (more…)
Monday, July 17th, 2017 by Charlotte, Mono Lake InterncloseAuthor: Charlotte, Mono Lake InternName: Charlotte Johnston-Carter Title: Mono Lake Intern About: Originally from sunny San Luis Obispo, Charlotte now lives in British Columbia and studies Biology and Environmental Studies at the University of Victoria. Charlotte spends most of her time as an advocate and organizer in the LGBTQ community. When she's not busy with school or her advocacy work, you can find her drawing comics or exploring nature. Charlotte hopes to work in nature and conservation after graduating university, so she is very excited to spend her summer working and living at Mono Lake!See All Posts by Charlotte (4) Contact Charlotte
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…)
Wednesday, July 12th, 2017 by Aviva, Mono Lake InterncloseAuthor: Aviva, Mono Lake InternName: Aviva North Title: Mono Lake Intern About: Ever since her first hike in the Eastern Sierra at three weeks old, Aviva has been in love with this spectacular part of the world! Fortunately her family just moved to Mammoth Lakes, which led her to making the Mono Lake Committee her home for the summer. Originally from Davis, California, Aviva currently studies Geography at Mount Holyoke College, a field that has fueled her passions for urban sustainability, planning, and conservation. In her free time you can catch Aviva trail running, quoting The Office, looking up pictures of Tom Brady, or playing with her two rambunctious labs.See All Posts by Aviva (4) Contact Aviva
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…)
Wednesday, June 21st, 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
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…)
Wednesday, May 10th, 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 (21) Contact Nora
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 seminarso 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…)
Sunday, March 19th, 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 (25) Contact Gabrielle
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 forecastcalls 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.
Tuesday, January 24th, 2017 by Robbie, Restoration Field TechniciancloseAuthor: Robbie, Restoration Field TechnicianName: Robert Di Paolo Title: Restoration Field Technician 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 or are interested in our social media efforts, contact Robbie.See All Posts by Robert (38) Contact Robert
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.
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…)