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 »
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 »
July 11th, 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
I recently had the opportunity to go out to the landbridge to help with maintenance of the gull fence. I woke up at 5:00am in order to get out there in time, and by 6:30am we were ready to head out, chest waders and all.
The north shore of the landbridge is a surreal, other-worldly landscape. Photo by Jennifer Rieke.
This was my first time to the north shore of Mono Lake and it was quite a contrast to the scenic southern shore I am used to. With Black Point behind us, we trudged over salt flats towards Negit Island. Passing skeletons of last year’s giant blazing stars and coyote scat, we approached the electric fence when suddenly I heard it—the clamor of the gull colony! I put my binoculars up to see the islets overflowing with California Gulls. This was a place I had only imagined in my mind, and now it was coming to life. … more »
July 10th, 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 (48) Contact Andrew
Small mammals like squirrels, chipmunks, kangaroo rats, and mice scurry around us humans all the time here in the Mono Basin, but how often do you actually get to really see them? If you’re interested in seeing the Mono Basin’s mammals up close (you might even get to hold one!), you’re in luck—there is still space available in the Mono Basin Mammals field seminar next week.
Biologist and Field Seminar instructor John Harris has studied the Mono Basin’s mammals since the 1970s. Photo by Elin Ljung.
Instructor John Harris has studied the Mono Basin’s mammals for decades, and has led many popular field seminars for the Mono Lake Committee and at the Mono Basin Bird Chautauqua. John catches the mammals in live traps, thereby allowing seminar participants to see these fascinating creatures up close.
The group visits the Tioga Pass high country to look for marmots and pikas during the seminar. Photo by Elin Ljung.
If you have never seen the tuft on a kangaroo rat’s tail, been able to compare the stripes of different chipmunk species, or watched families of pikas busily gathering grass for the winter, this seminar will show you all that and more. More mammals occur in the Mono Basin than in many states, from its desert sand dunes to Sierra forests and alpine meadows. This class will include live-trapping, field observation, learning about tracks, and identifying skulls, with a focus on identification and adaptations to Mono’s varied environments. Sign up now for a fascinating weekend in the Mono Basin, in the company of its smallest mammals.
More mammals occur in the Mono Basin than in many entire states, and identifying those varied species is much easier with John’s help. Photo by Sandra Noll.
July 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
South Tufa tours are a great way to learn about the mysteries of Mono Lake. Photo by Erv Nichols.
Since I started giving walking and canoe tours this summer, I have been asked some really thought-provoking questions. Some have straightforward answers and some are more abstract, but I love every question I am asked because it helps me think about the lake differently and it helps me understand what people are really interested in.
I would like to share some of my favorite questions so far because if one person asked, others must be wondering too.
1. What if you put a shark into Mono Lake?… more »
July 6th, 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
View from the canoe tour starting destination at Navy Beach. Photo by Andrew Youssef.
Whether you are a local or simply passing through right now is the best time to get out on Mono Lake. Since January of this year the lake has risen over two feet and we are expecting it to continue to rise another foot-and-a-half. It is a magical, serene, and beautiful place to experience by canoe.
The Mono Lake Committee offers hour-long canoe tours with knowledgeable guides paddling you through tufa groves. We offer these tours every Saturday and Sunday at 8:00am, 9:30am, and 11:00am through the first weekend in September. Reserve your spot online today!
Canoe guides lead you through tufa groves while looking for brine shrimp. Photo by Andrew Youssef.
It is astonishing how much the lake has risen in the past month. I go out every week as often as I can, even on my days off and before work, just to see how different the changing water level makes tufa disappear under the water’s surface. There is so much to see from the Sierra Nevada’s still-snow-covered peaks, the lake teeming with brine shrimp, and the new nesting Osprey chicks. There is so much to explore and be grateful for in what the Mono Lake Committee and friends have done to ensure that this splendid lake is not lost or forgotten. We’d love it if you would join us for an amazing morning out on Mono Lake so you can experience the magic yourself.
July 4th, 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 (48) Contact Andrew
After an extraordinarily wet winter, this will certainly be an exciting year for wildflowers. We’ve already been delighted with the number of blooms in the Mono Basin and as the snow continues to melt at the higher elevations, there will be so many more to enjoy.
Join instructor Ann Howald for her field seminar High Country Plants & Habitats July 28–30. Photo by Robert Di Paolo.
Come join renowned botanist Ann Howald for her field seminar High Country Plants & Habitats, which will have a special focus on the ways high-elevation plants and animals of the Mono Basin are affected by climate change, now and in the future. During this field seminar, Ann will take you to sub-alpine meadows and forests, shores of sub-alpine lakes, streams that cascade toward Mono Lake, and natural rock gardens. … more »
June 30th, 2017 by Arya, Communications DirectorcloseAuthor: Arya, Communications DirectorName: Arya Harp Title: Communications Director About: Arya oversees the Committee's communications program, which includes the Mono Lake Newsletter and the Mono Lake Calendar. She loves her job because she gets to share the inspiring work of the Mono Lake Committee with members and visitors alike. Her favorite things to do in the Mono Basin include ice skating on nearby lakes, skiing the Mono Craters, and getting to smell the sagebrush when it rains.See All Posts by Arya (177) Contact Arya
The landbridge is a particularly excellent place to see Mono Lake’s incredibly fast rise right now (click on the images for larger versions):
Dawn on June 15 out on the landbridge, where Mono Lake lapped at the end of the temporary electrified fence that is protecting the nesting California Gull colony from coyote predation. Mono Lake Committee wildlife camera photo.
Twelve days later Mono Lake had risen over half a foot, and it was time for the end of the fence to be adjusted. Mono Lake Committee wildlife camera photo.
June 29th, 2017 by Elin, Communications CoordinatorcloseAuthor: Elin, Communications CoordinatorName: Elin Ljung Title: Communications Coordinator About: Elin's job consists of some of her favorite things: finding typos, experimenting with layouts, and figuring out how best to communicate the Committee's work to the world. She also oversees the Field Seminar program. Elin grew up in on California’s Central Coast dreaming of the two weeks each summer that her family would spend in the Eastern Sierra, and as soon as she graduated from St. Olaf College in 2005 she moved to Mono Lake full-time. She prefers to travel at high speed on either telemark skis or a mountain bike, or be completely still, immersed in a good book.See All Posts by Elin (306) Contact Elin
Want to see Mono Lake rising before your eyes? Check out this timelapse from May 25 to June 25, when the lake rose an incredible 1.2 vertical feet!
You’ll see wildlife along the shore investigating the changing habitat as lagoons form, tufa blocks get submerged, and the grass floods. You might also notice that the lake rise speeds up in early June, when warm weather started melting snow in the high country more quickly, sending record volumes of water down the streams and to the lake.
Mono Lake has risen 2.8 feet so far this calendar year and is projected to rise another 1.5 feet by year’s end. It’s a remarkable time to be at Mono Lake when it’s rising so fast—make plans to visit this summer and see for yourself!
June 28th, 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 the end of June approaching, it is now officially summer in the Mono Basin! The Mono Lake Committee, in partnership with local agencies and organizations, has lined up a great selection of programs and tours at Mono Lake. No matter your interest or background, there’s sure to be a program perfect for you! Below is a brief list of these programs, which will be available from June 28 to September 1, 2017.
Join a State Park, Forest Service, or Mono Lake Committee guide for a South Tufa Walk every day at 10:00am, 1:00pm, and 6:00pm. Photo by Sandra Noll.
South Tufa Walks:10:00am, 1:00pm, and 6:00pm every day
Unearth the mysteries of Mono Lake’s water, geology, and wildlife. You’ll even have the chance to create tufa and eat alkali fly pupae! Meet at the South Tufa Kiosk for this free 1 to 1.5-hour tour and don’t forget sunscreen, water, and a hat. To get to South Tufa from Lee Vining, drive South on Highway 395 for about 5 miles and then east on Highway 120 for 5 miles. Look for signs for “South Tufa.”… more »