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Winter birding in Bridgeport

Monday, January 22nd, 2018 by Nora, Lead Naturalist Guide
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Just north of the Mono Basin lies a wide golden valley with a glittering half-frozen reservoir edged up against a pinyon pine forest. Winter is a fantastic time to look for birds in Bridgeport, and this winter in particular has drawn in some rare birds. The reservoir is packed with ducks like Redheads, Northern Shovelers, and Common Goldeneyes.

A half-iced-over Bridgeport Reservoir reflects the snowy Sierra Nevada, including Matterhorn Peak and the Sawtooth Ridge. Photo by Nora Livingston.

In December, the reservoir was just beginning to freeze over and the ice edge provided a perch for gulls to stand, or nap, without bobbing up in down in the cold water. A rare Black-legged Kittiwake spent almost two weeks (more…)

2018 Mono Lake calendar essay: Turning the Tide

Tuesday, January 2nd, 2018 by Elin, Communications Coordinator
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This essay, written by Vern Gersh, appears in the 2018 Mono Lake Calendar.

“Least and Western sandpipers in Flight.” Photo courtesy of Alice Atwood.

“Never give up for that is the time and place that the tide will turn.” —Harriet Beecher Stowe

Forty years ago, in the Eastern Sierra, the tide was running. Like all tides it ran in one direction. Its flow must have seemed inexorable as the waters of life were sucked away.

Shakespeare referred to living in “the tide of times.” The tide that has been running strongest in my life is the stream of change. When I was born in 1955 there were half as many humans on the planet. Nothing human-made orbited the earth. There were fewer than 600 pizza parlors in the entire United States. The majority of Americans shared their phone line with a neighbor. You would dial that phone and were tethered to it with a cord. There was one Mexican restaurant in the city of half a million Americans where I was born.

Forty years ago, when the Mono Lake Committee was born (more…)

The Mono Lake Committee 2017 Annual Report

Saturday, November 25th, 2017 by Arya, Communications Director
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Each year printed copies of the Mono Lake Committee Annual Report are sent out to Defense Trust level members and Guardians of the Lake monthly-giving club members, but it is has information that is important to members at all giving levels, friends, anyone who is curious, and the general public. So without further ado, click here to see the Mono Lake Committee 2017 Annual Report.

Did you get a yearbook in high school? The Annual Report feels a little bit like the grown-up version of getting the yearbook … (more…)

We’re thankful for all of you who love Mono Lake

Thursday, November 23rd, 2017 by Elin, Communications Coordinator
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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, phone calls from far away, Facebook and Twitter comments, Instagram photos, and above all, for your love for this place. Together we are standing strong for Mono Lake. Thank you and happy Thanksgiving.

Your love for Mono Lake helps keep us standing strong on its behalf, for 39 years and counting—thank you. Photo courtesy of Andrew Aldrich.

Leaving a legacy at Mono Lake

Tuesday, October 31st, 2017 by Andrew, Digital Engagement Coordinator
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Last spring, I sat down with Mono Lake Committee members Vern Gersh and Terry McLaughlin just before their retirement and talked with them about what Mono Lake means to them and why they decided to put the Committee in their estate plans.

As I talked with them, I was inspired by their passion and love for this place. They shared with me stories from their years of living in Lee Vining and working at the Committee, from enjoying beautiful evening walks to see the sunset to getting stuck in “Mono muck” after their first time paddling a kayak on the lake.

Over the past few months, I’ve put together a short video featuring Terry and Vern’s story. In the video, you’ll hear them reflect on the sublime beauty of the Mono Basin, the remarkable ecological productivity of Mono Lake, and the important role the Mono Lake Committee plays to ensure that this place continues to be protected and restored.

Vern’s parting words at the end of the video still resonate with me: “It’s not necessarily leaving things to the people that are on the earth, but it’s also leaving a portion of the earth to the people who are still here.”

A summer for the birds at Mono Lake

Friday, September 15th, 2017 by Mono Lake Committee Staff
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This post was written by Jenny Rieke, 2017 Birding Intern.

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…)

The sun sets on an intern’s time at Mono Lake

Tuesday, September 12th, 2017 by Mono Lake Committee Staff
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This post was written by Molly Casey, 2017 Mono Lake Intern.

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…)

An intern’s goodbye to Mono Lake

Tuesday, September 5th, 2017 by Mono Lake Committee Staff
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This post was written by Charlotte Johnston-Carter, 2017 Mono Lake Intern.

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.

(more…)

Observing four years of an ever-changing Mono Lake

Monday, August 21st, 2017 by Andrew, Digital Engagement Coordinator
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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…)

Star gazing in the Mono Basin

Monday, July 17th, 2017 by Mono Lake Committee Staff
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This post was written by Charlotte Johnston-Carter, 2017 Mono Lake Intern.

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…)

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