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Tracks in the sand north of Mono Lake

February 16th, 2018 by Nora, Lead Naturalist Guide
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Learning about the creatures that share our environment clearly enhances our experiences in the outdoors. It helps us notice more interactions as we explore and often paints a picture of what goes on when we are absent, exhibiting the mystery of life away from human eyes. I recently ventured out into the dunes on the north shore of Mono Lake to brush up on my knowledge of mammal tracks and immerse myself in the world of rabbits, kangaroo rats, and coyotes.

Black-tailed Jackrabbit prints (hopping leftwards). Larger hind prints on the left, smaller staggered fore prints to the right. Photos by Nora Livingston.

A common Mono Basin track is that of the Black-tailed Jackrabbit. These hares inhabit the sagebrush and dunes of the high desert, though they are widespread and found in many other habitats in North America as well. Often you don’t notice them until they shoot out from the next bush over, scaring the daylights out of you, and you just get to see their dark tail disappearing into the maze of brush in an instant. Their tracks are … more »

Wild & Scenic Film Festival LA tickets now on sale!

February 10th, 2018 by Andrew, Digital Engagement Coordinator
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Tickets for the annual Wild & Scenic Film Festival in Los Angeles are on sale now! Tickets are just $15 for general admission and half-price for students. For a limited time, you can also use promo code MONOLAKE to save 20% on general admission tickets. We are excited to have screenings at two new venues this year; Monica Film in Santa Monica on Thursday, March 8 from 7:00–9:30pm and the Sierra Madre Playhouse on Saturday, March 10 from 7:00–9:30pm.

This year’s festival features eight short, beautiful films about wilderness, community, belonging, and empowerment through the lens of skiing, mountaineering, climbing, trail running, and more.

Tickets can be purchased here for Santa Monica and here for Sierra Madre or by calling us at (760) 647-6595. For more information, including film lineups and sponsors, check out the Wild & Scenic Film Festival, Los Angeles website. You can also follow the festival on Facebook and Twitter for all the latest news.

All proceeds from the event go to the Mono Lake Committee’s Outdoor Education Center programs that bring students from Los Angeles to the Mono Basin to learn about the source of their water through five days of life changing outdoor experiences.

See you in March!

New gallery show starts in February: “Sierra Twain” by painter Moira Donohoe

January 27th, 2018 by Lily, Information Center & Bookstore Manager
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We are thrilled to announce that paintings by Yosemite-based artist Moira Donohoe will be featured in the Mono Lake Committee’s gallery from February 3 through July 2018 in a show entitled “Sierra Twain.”

“A Thousand Island Lake Morning,” courtesy of Moira Donohoe.

Moira grew up and continues to be rooted in Yosemite and the Sierra Nevada, where she specializes in painting her natural surroundings, and draws inspiration from the beautiful mountain environment. Her style emphasizes color—this vibrant show featuring landscapes of the Sierra is not to be missed!

The Mono Lake Committee gallery is currently open from 9:00am to 5:00pm daily, and we hope you’ll stop in and delight in Moira’s work.

Mono Lake Committee Information Center & Bookstore closed January 31

January 26th, 2018 by Lily, Information Center & Bookstore Manager
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The Mono Lake Committee Information Center & Bookstore will be closed on Wednesday, January 31 for our annual inventory count.

Lisa and Terry tally squeaky plush birds at last year’s inventory. Photo by Elin Ljung.

We will resume winter hours—9:00am to 5:00pm—on Thursday, February 1. We apologize for any inconvenience, and we hope to see you all after our inventory day is complete!

Volunteer at Mono Lake this coming summer

January 24th, 2018 by Gabrielle, Project Specialist
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Each summer, over 70 volunteers each commit to eight hours a month, June through August, speaking with visitors at Mono Lake. These volunteers are the eyes and ears at Mono Lake during the busiest season, and the visitor experience wouldn’t be the same without each volunteer.

Volunteers celebrate their graduation from training last June. Photo by Bartshe Miller.

We are now recruiting volunteers for this coming summer. In addition to roving at the lake, volunteers also assist the Mono Lake Committee with membership mailings, give talks at the Mono Basin Scenic Area Visitor Center patio, pull invasive plant species, and much more.

One of the benefits of volunteering for Mono Lake is the … more »

Keep up with Mono Lake on social media

January 23rd, 2018 by Andrew, Digital Engagement Coordinator
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Did you know the Mono Lake Committee is active on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter? Keep up with Mono Lake year-round on social media to get a glimpse of all four seasons in the Mono Basin, learn more about events at Mono Lake, and hear about all the latest Mono Lake news.

Check out our first-ever year-in-review video and much more on the @Mono Lake Committee Facebook page.

On Facebook (@Mono Lake Committee), you’ll find all of our upcoming events, stunning photos of the Mono Basin throughout the seasons, updates from the Mono-logue, and special live video … more »

Winter birding in Bridgeport

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 »

Federal government shutdown update for the Mono Basin

January 20th, 2018 by Andrew, Digital Engagement Coordinator
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The federal government shutdown affects a large amount of public land in our area including the Inyo National Forest, Mono Basin National Forest Scenic Area, Yosemite National Park, and Bureau of Land Management lands. We have compiled the best current information we can gather.

Mono Lake Tufa State Natural Reserve: Old Marina is open. The Mono Lake County Park/State Natural Reserve boardwalk is open, however, there are no services at the Mono Lake County Park. Camping is not permitted at these sites any time of the year.

Scenic Area Visitor Center: Closed for the winter. No permits are available. … more »

All 2018 Mono Lake Field Seminars posted online

January 16th, 2018 by Elin, Communications Coordinator
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The complete list of all the Mono Lake Committee’s 2018 Field Seminars is now available online hereRegistration opens at 9:00am on Thursday, February 1.

Summer and fall are wonderful seasons for exploring the Mono Basin on a Field Seminar. Photo courtesy of Andrew Aldrich.

This year’s slate of 40 Field Seminars includes one-day, half-day, and multi-day options, and spans many topics: astrophotography, botany, mining history, butterflies, oil painting, basketry, woodpeckers, geology, fire ecology, and more.

We have brought back several popular workshops: … more »

New book: Naming Mt. Thoreau, and book reading in Berkeley

January 13th, 2018 by Arya, Communications Director
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We are excited to announce the release of a very special new book, Naming Mt. Thoreau, edited by Laurie Glover with contributions from Michael Blumlein, Dick Bryan, Darryl DeVinney, Hilary Gordon, Tom Killion, Paul Park, Kim Stanley Robinson, Carter Scholz, Gary Snyder, Christopher Woodcock, and David Robertson.

The cover of Artemisia Press’s newest release. Cover image: “Mt. Thoreau from Piute Pass” by Tom Killion (c) 2017.

In the fall of 2014 this notable group of friends gathered to summit USGS Sierra Nevada peak 12,691 with the idea of renaming it “Mt. Thoreau” in honor of naturalist, philosopher, transcendentalist, and author Henry David Thoreau. Actually going through the process to formally name a peak is a daunting task, and I’d be willing to guess that this thoughtful group felt that the act of getting together with a common purpose, climbing the peak, and then writing about it was a better—and more apt—path to the same goal.

Naming Mt. Thoreau is a beautiful and thoughtfully-crafted collection of essays, poems, and reflections. And it is also precisely not what you just imagined upon reading the previous sentence. I am willing to bet that readers will (1) think of this book the next time you climb a mountain in the Sierra, (2) discover something new and unexpected about Thoreau, and (3) feel less like you’re reading an account of someone else’s journey and more like you’re a member of the group.

When author Laurie Glover floated the idea of the Mono Lake Committee publishing Naming Mt. Thoreau we knew we had to figure out a way to make it happen. We are so glad we did—not only did the contributors donate their work in hopes that the sale of the book would raise funds for the Committee, but we are very happy to be able to offer this little gem of a book to the world.

There will be a book reading with the authors on Sunday, January 21 at 7:00pm at Moe’s Books in Berkeley with Committee board and staff members in addition to the authors and contributors. Please join us if you can.

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The Mono Lake Committee is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization.