Seminar Instructors
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Field Seminar Instructors

The Mono Lake Committee works with field leaders who have received high ratings from past seminar participants. Our instructors are experts in their fields, and bring enthusiasm and a unique perspective on the Mono Basin.

Terri Geissinger is a Bodie State Historic Park Interpreter and Guide. She is active in the Mono Basin Historical Society, and has been interviewing the last surviving residents of Bodie to collect their stories and memories before they are lost. Terri has a talent for making history come alive—participants return to take her seminars many times because of her enthusiasm and commitment to Bodie's history.

David Gubernick is a nationally published and award-winning nature photographer and workshop leader. Some of his exhibition prints can be seen at Gallery Sur in Carmel and the Ventana Inn & Spa in Big Sur. He provides fine art prints and stock images for the advertising, corporate, editorial, and home décor markets. His first photography book, Wildflowers of Monterey County, was published in 2002 to rave reviews.

Nancy Hadlock has been a naturalist, interpreter and educator for the National Park Service and US Forest Service for over 30 years. She has also been studying Basque culture for many years, taking classes at the University of Nevada's Basque Study Center. She and her husband Richard Potashin claim to have the largest Basque resource library in the Eastern Sierra.

Cole Hawkins earned a Master's in Biology at Fresno State and a PhD in Wildlife and Fisheries Sciences from Texas A&M and currently teaches college biology. Cole looks forward to sharing his knowledge and love of this area with all. Along with his wife Priscilla, Cole has held the Mono Lake Music & Ecology Camp at their solar-powered home on the north shore of Mono Lake for 12 years (students ages 12–18).

Priscilla Hawkins received a Bachelor of Music from the University of Michigan, holds a California Teaching Credential, and has taught cello and chamber music for 40 years. Priscilla's cello teachers include Arlene Seaman, Jeff Solow, and Ron Leonard. She and her husband Cole have held the Mono Lake Music & Ecology Camp at their solar-powered home on the north shore of Mono Lake for 12 years (students ages 12–18).

Robb Hirsch is a biologist/naturalist turned professional photographer based in Groveland, California, just outside Yosemite. His images have appeared in numerous publications, including Nature's Best, Sierra Club, and Mono Lake Committee calendars, and several textbooks. He maintains his gallery, Mountain Sage, in Groveland and has been invited to several other gallery showings of his work. Robb's images are known for their compelling compositions, attention to detail and fine light. As a past naturalist and educator, Robb brings a positive and engaging teaching style to his workshops.

Ann Howald is a retired consulting botanist who focuses on rare plant surveys and conservation issues. Ann is also an active volunteer for the California Native Plant Society. She lives in Sonoma, and spends some of each summer studying plants in the Eastern Sierra. Ann's enthusiastic and personal teaching style make for very popular seminars; participants return again and again to learn about plants with Ann.

Bartshe Miller Bartshe Miller directs the Committee's Outdoor Education Center program, canoe program, interpretive programs, and oversees the Mono Basin Field Station operations too. He's often out in the field sharing Mono Lake with students and visitors. He has lived in the Mono Basin for over 20 years, and subsequently no longer has space or money for more field guides or natural history books.

Penny Otwell paints full-time in oil, acrylic, and watercolor, often en plein air in Yosemite National Park. A self-taught painter, she aims to "capture the natural rhythm found in mountains, rivers, lakes, and canyons." Penny has taught workshops in Yosemite at the Ansel Adams Gallery, Yosemite Art Center, and Parsons Memorial Lodge and her work has been exhibited in galleries all over California.

Julia Parker has dedicated her life to learning and teaching basketry as well as continuing the traditions of her people. She is one of the famous basket weavers of California, and the only weaver still practicing who was taught by women who wove in the early 20th century. Julia works as a cultural demonstrator in Yosemite National Park, and was named as a National Heritage Fellow by the National Endowment for the Arts in 2007.

Lucy Parker is Julia's daughter, and is a descendant of the Yosemite Miwok, Mono Lake Kutzadika'a, and Kayasha Pomo peoples. She learned traditional handiwork from her mother, a master basket weaver, and passes on some of her knowledge in classes for the Mono Lake Committee, Yosemite Conservancy, Pt. Reyes Field Seminars, and many other venues around California.

Richard Potashin, aka "Alkali Aspenowza," is a longtime Eastern Sierra resident and past Mono Lake Committee intern and canoe guide who has been discovering and documenting aspen carvings for many years. He and his wife Nancy Hadlock claim to have the largest Basque resource library in the Eastern Sierra.

Dave Shuford is an expert birder, avid naturalist and teacher, and a full-time ornithologist with Point Blue Conservation Science. Dave's bird research has included over 15 years studying the ecology of Mono Lake's California Gull colony and five years compiling an atlas of breeding birds in the Glass Mountain area. He regularly teaches classes with the Mono Lake Committee and at the Sierra Nevada Field Campus at Yuba Pass.

Steve Shunk started birding in the San Francisco Bay Area in 1989 and moved to Sisters, Oregon, in 1997, where he has studied the ecology of western forests for the last 16 years. Steve co-founded the East Cascades Bird Conservancy and served as its first president, and he now lectures and leads birding tours across the continent. Steve is the author of the Peterson Reference Guide to Woodpeckers of North America.

Greg Stock is the first-ever Yosemite National Park geologist. He has a BS in geology from Humboldt State University and a PhD in earth sciences from UC Santa Cruz. Greg has studied and interpreted the geology of the Sierra Nevada for over a decade. He has authored or co-authored over 50 papers and abstracts on Sierra Nevada geology, and is co-author of the book Geology Underfoot in Yosemite National Park.

John Wehausen John Wehausen has studied bighorn sheep intensively for over 30 years as a wildlife ecologist with the White Mountain Research Station in Bishop. He is the president of the Sierra Nevada Bighorn Sheep Foundation, and makes his living entirely as an independent research biologist working on bighorn sheep inhabiting the high mountains and deserts of California.

Stuart Wilkinson is a long-time Mono Lake paddling guide and veteran kayaker. He and his wife Sue own and operate Caldera Kayaks, and have been paddling on Mono Lake for about 15 years. When he's not kayaking, Stuart assists with the monitoring of Long Valley Caldera for the US Geological Survey.

David Wimpfheimer has been educating about and interpreting birds and the natural history of California for nearly 30 years. His connection with and love for Mono Lake started with educational work for the Mono Lake Committee in 1983 and continued as he rode in 11 Mono Lake Bike-A-Thons. He has worked with groups such as the Smithsonian, Point Reyes Field Seminars, the Oceanic Society, and Elderhostel.

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Past Seminar Offerings

aspen group
The Mono Lake Committee offers a summer field seminar series and one winter seminar annually. Seminars offer the chance for participants to delve beyond a basic understanding of the Mono Basin's natural history in a hands-on way.
people in meadow
We emphasize a spirit of learning and cameraderie in a magnificent outdoor setting for a reasonable cost. Proceeds from Mono Lake Committee Field Seminars benefit research and education in the Mono Basin.