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Walking with “Walking Water”

September 10th, 2015 by Janet, Volunteer Coordinator
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Pinyon jays flocking over the Aeolian Buttes at dusk.
Warm pears in the morning on a perch of Bishop tuff.
Scent of shady Jeffrey pines on a hot afternoon.

On the morning of August 31, a group of walkers joined together in Lee Vining Canyon to begin a journey paralleling the route that water diverted from the Mono Basin takes en route to Los Angeles—around Williams Butte, through the aqueduct tunnel below the Mono Craters, on to Crowley Lake, and beyond to the Owens Valley.

The Walking Water group fords a creek on the first leg of their journey. Photo courtesy of G. Dalglish.

The Walking Water group fords a creek on the first leg of their journey. Photo courtesy of Geoff Dalglish.

We walked through a landscape my husband Dave and I have viewed thousands of times from the windows of our car on Highway 395. Walk on the east side of 395? Why? What could be there?

I am a retired park ranger, a practical “let’s get it done” type. A group pilgrimage on dusty dirt roads was a leap of faith. Working with the Walking Water organizers over several years on logistics and route questions, it became increasingly obvious they were really going to do it. To organize, to recruit, to inspire, and TO WALK TO LOS ANGELES over three years’ time. We had to join the walk, if only for the first week, to support the tremendous effort and heart it takes to make something this big happen. … more »

Register for the 35th annual Tioga Pass Run

September 8th, 2015 by Mono Lake Committee Staff
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Photo courtesy of Dick Erb.

Photo courtesy of Dick Erb.

This post was written by Sarah Angulo, 2015 Mono Lake Intern.

It’s that time of year again! On Sunday, September 13, in front of the Mono Lake Committee Information Center & Bookstore, we will kick off our 35th annual Tioga Pass Run. The race, a 12.4-mile climb up Tioga Pass, is infamous for being “only one hill.” Runners ascend over 3,000 feet from the start to the finish line at the eastern entrance to Yosemite National Park. Participants have the option of walking or running the course. For walkers, the start time is 7:00am; for runners, the start time is 8:00am. The race is also the finishing event for those taking on the Granite Man Challenge, which includes an additional swim and bike race on Friday and Saturday. … more »

Refreshments with Refreshing ‘Ologists: Jonathan Fusaro on mesocarnivores

September 5th, 2015 by Mono Lake Committee Staff
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This post was written by Sarah Angulo, 2015 Mono Lake Intern.

Coyotes, foxes, ring-tailed cats, and skunks—these are some examples of mesocarnivores, the subject of this summer’s final Refreshments with Refreshing ‘Ologists presentation. Join us this Wednesday, September 9 at 4:00pm in the Mono Lake Committee gallery.

A spotted skunk that jumped off a woodpile into this garbage can at a local residence. The skunk was released back into the wild. Photo by Bartshe Miller.

This spotted skunk jumped off a woodpile into this garbage can at a local residence, offering a good photo opportunity. The skunk was released back into the wild. Photo by Bartshe Miller.

California Department of Fish & Wildlife (DFW) environmental scientist Jonathan Fusaro will explain what is exactly a mesocarnivore, as well as what DFW’s Bishop field office is doing for research and management of mesocarnivores locally. Jonathan works closely in research for the management of black bear populations, and studied them for his master’s degree in wildland resources from the University of Utah. He is also heavily involved with the Eastern Sierra Black Bear Project.

If you want to find out more about the management and research of mesocarnivores, come to the Committee gallery this Wednesday afternoon. It’s free admission and light snacks and refreshments will be provided. Hope to see you there!

Changing seasons, changing schedule

September 4th, 2015 by Lily, Information Center & Bookstore Manager
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“How is it already September?” has been a question floating around the office this past week. As fall sneaks up, schedules, interpretive tours, and leaves begin to change around Lee Vining.

Caption.......... Photo by Bartshe Miller.

The last day to join a 6:00pm South Tufa tour led by a Mono Lake Committee intern will be Monday, September 7. After that, South Tufa tours will be offered on weekends at 1:00pm. Photo by Bartshe Miller.

Here are some important dates to take note of while planning your last-minute summer trips to Mono Lake:

This summer has been a whirlwind of activities and we are thrilled that so many of you were able to share the splendor of Mono Lake with us!

The Mono Basin’s top ten August birds

September 2nd, 2015 by Mono Lake Committee Staff
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This post was written by Sandra Noll, Birding Intern in 2014, 2015, & 2016.

The season of weekly bird walks is drawing to a close, so this is the final top ten list for the year.  As in previous lists, all birds were seen within a half-hour radius of the Mono Lake Committee headquarters in Lee Vining.

Juvenile Sage Thrasher perched on caterpillar greasewood..... Photo by Sandra Noll.

A juvenile Sage Thrasher perched on caterpillar greasewood, a salt-tolerant plant that thrives near Mono Lake. Photo by Sandra Noll.

Some find birding less attractive once chicks have fledged and many species that breed here begin migrating to follow food resources to southern wintering grounds. I find, however, that August birding presents interesting challenges in the identification of juvenile birds and of … more »

Walking Water begins its journey

September 1st, 2015 by Mono Lake Committee Staff
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This post was written by Sarah Angulo, 2015 Mono Lake Intern.

Here in the Mono Basin, we have come to know how important water is for sustaining life. The streams that flow down the mountains and into Mono Lake support a thriving ecosystem. The Mono Lake Committee and its members remember how Rush, Lee Vining, Parker, and Walker creeks were once silent, and that it took the love and dedication of a group of people to revive the place so many cherish.

Walking-Water-logo

It’s these type of connections with water that the organizers of Walking Water are looking to create on a broad scale. They plan to raise awareness of how people interact and use water … more »

Refreshments with Refreshing ‘Ologists: Ben Hatchett on ice ages and megadroughts

August 30th, 2015 by Mono Lake Committee Staff
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This post was written by Sarah Angulo, 2015 Mono Lake Intern.

Our lecture series continues this Wednesday, September 2 with our next presentation, Ice Ages and Megadroughts in the Eastern Sierra Nevada. Starting at 4:00pm, Ph.D. student Ben Hatchett from the University of Nevada, Reno will be discussing his work in aligning Mono Lake’s past with that of nearby glacial moraines to paint a better picture of past climate changes.

Photo by Arya Degenhardt with aerial support by Lighthawk.

The Mono Basin’s interesting glacial history has left remnants on the landscape, like the moraines near Williams Butte. Photo by Arya Degenhardt with aerial support provided by Lighthawk.

Because terminal lakes such as Mono Lake and Walker Lake (in Nevada) have no outlet to the sea, their surface elevations reflect the climatic balance of precipitation and evaporation. Glacial moraines formed during ice ages offer a similar window from which we can view the millennial pulse of Earth’s climate cycles. Through studies of lake level and glacier size variability, we can better understand both how different the climate must have been during ice ages and megadroughts and how sensitive are these environments to changes in climate. Understanding these past climate events is crucial in planning for future climate changes. Ben will share with us new findings from studies of these lake systems from both ends of the “extreme climate” window that place our historical and current climate into a paleoclimate perspective.

If you’re in the area and want to learn more about this topic, be sure to join us in the Mono Lake Committee gallery. It’s free admission, and light snacks and refreshments will be provided. Can’t wait to see you!

Seminar spotlight: Creating the Illuminated Field Journal

August 28th, 2015 by Elin, Communications Coordinator
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Good news: There are a few spaces still open in the Creating the Illuminated Field Journal field seminar! This three-day seminar is an introductory course to personalizing one’s time in nature and outdoors through sketches, words, and color in the pages of a field journal.

Caption caption Photo by Elin Ljung.

Join us for the field seminar, Creating the Illuminated Field Journal, for a spectacular weekend of sketching and writing in the Mono Basin. Photo by Elin Ljung.

Creating the Illuminated Field Journal • September 4–6 • $175 per person/$160 for members • sign up here … more »

New gallery show: Penny Otwell’s Mono Basin paintings

August 26th, 2015 by Mono Lake Committee Staff
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This post was written by Terry McLaughlin, 2012 Outdoor Experiences Lead Instructor, 2014 & 2015 Interim Information Center & Bookstore Manager, and 2015–2017 Membership Assistant.

"Moon Over Mono," oil on panel, 6 x 12" by Penny Otwell.

“Moon Over Mono,” oil on panel, 6 x 12″ by Penny Otwell.

We are delighted to host nationally-acclaimed artist Penny Otwell‘s work in the Mono Lake Committee gallery. Penny, a member of the Committee since its inception, has been painting scenes from the Mono Basin since 1964. Her fascination with the steep escarpment of the Eastern Sierra joining the desert at Mono Lake, the aspen-filled canyons, the smell of sage, and arid air compels Penny to return to the Mono Basin to paint again and again.

Join us for an evening artist’s reception to open the new show, entitled “Arresting Horizons,” on Saturday, September 5. From 6:00 to 7:30pm come enjoy wine and cheese, meet Penny, and enjoy her beautiful work in the Mono Lake Committee gallery.

The show features a variety of … more »

Refreshments with Refreshing ‘Ologists: Sarah Stock and Yosemite wildlife

August 24th, 2015 by Mono Lake Committee Staff
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This post was written by Sarah Angulo, 2015 Mono Lake Intern.

Join us on Wednesday, August 26 at 4:00pm in the Mono Lake Committee gallery for the next Refreshments with Refreshing ‘Ologists lecture from Sarah Stock.

A Sierra Nevada bighorn sheep lamb gets released into Yosemite National Park. Photo courtesy of Steven Baumgardner.

A Sierra Nevada bighorn sheep lamb gets released into Yosemite National Park. Photo courtesy of Steven Baumgardner.

Sarah is a wildlife biologist for Yosemite National Park. She oversees many different aspects relating to the park’s animals, coordinating bird and mammal program studies from day to day. As a result of her broad oversight, she has extensive knowledge about the park’s wildlife. If you’re curious to learn about how the park is managing some of its most charismatic animals, then you won’t want to miss out on this week’s event!

Sarah will be speaking about discovering the elusive Sierra Nevada red fox, restoring the endangered Sierra Nevada bighorn sheep, conserving the Great Gray Owl and Spotted Owl, and protecting Peregrine Falcons. If this is something you want to come hear about, join us on Wednesday, August 26 at 4:00pm in the Mono Lake Committee gallery. The event is free admission and light snacks and refreshments will be provided. Hope to see you there!

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