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2017 Field Seminars
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Mono Lake Committee field seminars

Registration for the Mono Lake Committee's 2017 Field Seminars will open at 9:00am on Wednesday, February 1 for Mono Lake Committee members only.

If you are not a Committee member, but you wish to register in February, you may join the Committee and sign up for the class of your choice. Non-members will be able to register beginning March 1, 2017.

When registration is open, you may register either by calling the Mono Lake Committee at (760) 647-6595 or by clicking the "register" button near the seminar(s) of your choice to sign up online.

Questions? Call (760) 647-6595 and ask for Elin, Nora, or Andrew. You can also email us if that's easier: email Elin, email Nora, email Andrew.

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Full Moon in Februaryregister now
Winter Photography in the Mono Basin
February 10–12, 2017 • Joe Decker
$275 per person / $250 for members
Winter at Mono Lake is a very special season, complete with snowy Sierra peaks, poconip fog that coats tufa towers in rime ice, ice sculptures along creek banks, and bright bluebird days. Add a full moon to the equation and you have an unforgettable winter weekend at Mono Lake. Join accomplished photographer and workshop leader Joe Decker for a weekend of photographic opportunities along the lakeshore and into the surrounding canyons, including moonlight photography. A fully-adjustable camera of any size or format is suggested, and come prepared for cold winter weather. Click here for a full seminar itinerary.

Breeding Birds of the Mono Basin
June 2 • Nora Livingston
$95 per person / $85 for members
Late spring and early summer are the best time to find breeding birds in the Mono Basin as they are singing from the tops of every tree and shrub to declare their territory to rivals and protect their mates. This one-day seminar will visit the hotspots in the Mono Basin to learn about the many breeding birds that raise their families here. Nora Livingston is our very own Lead Naturalist Guide. She has spent nine years birding the basin and is an expert on Mono Basin birding locations. Click here for a full seminar itinerary.


Mono Basin Spring Landscapes & Astrophotography

June 2–4 • Jeff Sullivan
$275 per person / $250 for members

Spring is a special time for photographers in the Eastern Sierra, with wildflowers emerging, snow lingering on Sierra Nevada peaks catching morning alpenglow, afternoon cumulus cloud formations for potential sunset color, typically yielding to clear skies for night photography. Accomplished local photographer Jeff Sullivan will teach you some of his favorite techniques and show you some of his favorite spots for landscape and night photography in the Mono Basin. Jeff is a landscape photography and astrophotography workshop instructor, and author of 320-page guidebook Photographing California Vol. 2 – South. Limited to 12 participants. Click here for a full seminar itinerary.

Mining the Past through Binoculars
June 3 • Nora Livingston
$95 per person / $85 for members
The Mono Basin is rich with Native American, mining, logging, and ranching history. This one-day field seminar will spend the morning visiting different historic locations in the basin while learning both about the stories behind them and also the critters that inhabit them now. Nora Livingston is our very own Lead Naturalist Guide. She is also the Secretary of the Mono Basin Historical Society and the daughter of an historian. Click here for a full seminar itinerary.

Mono Basin Moonlight Photography
June 9–11 • David Gubernick
$275 per person / $250 for members
Nighttime photography opens up a new world of photographic possibilities, both compelling and challenging. Through guided practice sessions, field trips in the Mono Basin and upper reaches of the Eastern Sierra, coaching in the field, and review of images, you will learn to create nighttime images with visual impact. David Gubernick is an internationally and nationally published and award-winning nature photographer and workshop leader. His exhibition prints can be seen at Gallery Sur in Carmel and the Ventana Inn & Spa in Big Sur. Limited to 10 participants. Click here for a full seminar itinerary.

Natural History of Mono Basin Woodpeckers
June 13–15 • Steve Shunk
$165 per person / $150 for members
Join North American woodpecker specialist Steve Shunk for this dynamic overview of Mono Basin woodpeckers. Woodpeckers are one of the most specialized bird families in the world, and at least nine species of woodpeckers occur regularly in the Mono Basin, making the forests around Mono Lake a perfect stage for observing these amazing forest carpenters. Steve has studied the ecology of western forests for the last 16 years and recently completed the Peterson Reference Guide to Woodpeckers of North America. This field seminar will complement the Mono Basin Bird Chautauqua, taking place June 16–18. Click here for a full seminar itinerary.

Miwok-Paiute Basketry
June 23–25 • Julia Parker, Lucy Parker, Ursula Jones
$265 per person / $250 for members
$80 materials fee
seminar takes place at Mono Lake County Park; no camping included
During this seminar, participants will prepare materials and create a small Miwok-Paiute basket. This seminar is designed for weavers of all levels and will take place at Mono Lake County Park, on Mono Lake's northwest shore. Lucy Parker is a descendent of the Yosemite Miwok, Mono Lake Kutzadika'a, and Kayasha Pomo peoples. She learned traditional handiwork from her mother Julia, a master basket weaver who has dedicated her life to learning and teaching basketry. Ursula, Lucy's daughter and Julia's granddaughter, is carrying the tradition forward. Limited to 12 participants. Click here for a full seminar itinerary.

Los Angeles Aqueduct Tour
June 23–25 • Greg Reis
$165 per person / $150 for members
The Mono Basin extension of the Los Angeles Aqueduct began transporting water 350 miles south to the City of LA in 1941. Visit all the major aqueduct facilities in the Mono Basin and learn about their modern relationship with Los Angeles, Mono Lake, and its tributary streams. Look at the changes coming from a recent stream restoration agreement with Los Angeles, discuss past and present diversions, and see how 20th century infrastructure is serving the 21st century water needs. Greg Reis has over 20 years of experience in Mono Basin hydrology and restoration and keeps close track of Mono Basin water management. Click here for a full seminar itinerary.

Mono Basin Natural History: Aquatic & Terrestrial Habitats
July 7–9 • David Wimpfheimer
$190 per person / $175 for members
The Mono Basin is one of the most diverse ecosystems on the continent; this field seminar will be an overview of the varied habitats that are found here. We will enjoy the rich diversity of mammals, butterflies, wildflowers, trees, and other plants as we explore the Mono Basin, and a major focus of this seminar will be the identification and ecology of birds that breed here. A guided canoeing exploration of Mono’s south shore is included in this class. David Wimpfheimer has been an educator and interpreter for over 20 years, focusing on birds and California’s natural history. Limited to 12 participants. Click here for a full seminar itinerary.

Sierra Nevada Wildflowers
July 14 • Nora Livingston
$95 per person / $85 for members
Summer in the Sierra brings a flood of flowers, and there is endless learning to be had. In this one-day seminar, we will scour lower-elevation wet meadows and canyons for the plethora of blooms and stalks that grace the trails, focusing on identification and natural history of the flowers we see. This is a great seminar for photographers and budding botanists. Nora Livingston is our very own Lead Naturalist Guide. She leads multiple wildflower trips throughout the summer and enjoys watching the progression of species blooming over the length of the season. Click here for a full seminar itinerary.

Capturing the Mono Basin in Pastel
July 14–16 • Ane Carla Rovetta
$175 per person / $160 for members
$50 materials fee*
The sparkling light and radiant skies of the Mono Basin are pure inspiration. Add a set of brilliant pastel chalks and your own unique imagination, and you have an incredible weekend of color exploration and art. Landscape painter Ane Carla Rovetta is known for her realistic depiction of western landscapes. She will guide students through a value system she modeled after Ansel Adams’ work that will help organize the overwhelming hues of the summer terrain. Each participant will go home with at least one small finished painting and several sketches, color studies, and value experiments that will fuel future artistic endeavors. *Ane Carla can provide you with your own set of 72 pastel chalks; you must reserve your set when you sign up for the class. Limited to 12 participants. Click here for a full seminar itinerary.

Butterflies of the Mono Basin & Sierra Nevada
July 15–16 • Kristie Nelson
$155 per person / $140 for members
Join local naturalist Kristie Nelson for an exploration of butterflies of the Mono Basin and Sierra Nevada high country. With a range of habitats and plant species on which butterflies depend, this region is an excellent place to get acquainted with these bright splashes of living color. In fact, the Tioga Pass region is known to be one of the most productive and species-diverse regions for butterflies in the United States. Kristie Nelson is a year-round resident of the Mono Basin. She has had a passionate love for birds and the outdoors since she was a tiny child. As a lifelong serious birder, discovering the world of butterflies of the local area has been life-changing for her. Click here for a full seminar itinerary.

Mono Basin & Bodie Photography
July 21–23 • David Gubernick
$300 per person / $275 for members
Join this warm and supportive field seminar to enhance your photo-taking abilities in the uniquely beautiful Mono Basin and at the world-renowned Bodie State Historic Park. Field trips and classroom sessions will combine to cover a multitude of photographic topics. Plus, the group will visit Bodie for private after-hours evening access. David Gubernick is an internationally and nationally published and award-winning nature photographer and workshop leader. His exhibition prints can be seen at Gallery Sur in Carmel and the Ventana Inn & Spa in Big Sur. Limited to 12 participants. Click here for a full seminar itinerary.

Mono Basin Mammals
July 21–23 • John Harris
$165 per person / $150 for members
This class will cover the diversity of mammals found in the Mono Basin, from desert sand dunes to forests and alpine meadows of the high Sierra. More mammals occur here than in many states, and the group will try to see as many as possible by live-trapping and field observation. Participants will look for tracks and learn to identify skulls, focusing on identification and adaptations to Mono’s varied environments. John Harris is a recently retired Mills College biology professor whose interest in Mono’s mammals began in 1975 while studying chipmunks as an undergraduate. Click here for a full seminar itinerary.

Volcanism at Mono Lake
July 28 • Nora Livingston
$95 per person / $85 for members
Mono Lake sits in a bowl formed by ancient volcanic sediments and recent volcanic eruptions. This one-day seminar will visit several volcanic formations around the lake while addressing the overall picture of volcanism in the Mono Basin and its role in shaping the landscape we see today. Nora Livingston is our very own Lead Naturalist Guide.  She has been learning about the volcanism of the Mono Basin since she was 16 years old. Click here for a full seminar itinerary.

En Plein Air at Mono Lake: Beginning Oil Painting
July 28–30 • Penny Otwell
$175 per person / $160 for members
Painting outdoors allows an instant connection with landscape, and the textural possibilities and complete-coverage quality of oil paint allow students to portray their own unique feelings in their work. This field seminar is designed to be an introduction to the sometimes-intimidating subject of oil painting for students who may or may not have experience painting but who want to learn oil painting outdoors. Instructor Penny Otwell has painted in oil in the Sierra Nevada for over 20 years, and her distinctive style has evolved as a self-taught painter. Her work has been influenced by the work of Chiura Obata, Maynard Dixon, Edgar Payne, and Wayne Thiebaud. Limited to 12 participants. Click here for a full seminar itinerary.

High Country Plants & Habitats:
How are they coping with climate change?

July 28–30 • Ann Howald
$165 per person / $150 for members
This class will explore the mosaic of habitats found in the Eastern Sierra high country—flower-filled meadows fed by meandering streams, sagebrush-covered slopes, lodgepole pine forests, subalpine lakes bordered by willows, and flowery rock gardens. A special focus will be the ways high elevation plants and animals of the Mono Basin are affected by climate change, now and in the future. Ann Howald is a retired consulting botanist who has taught popular Committee field seminars for over a decade. Click here for a full seminar itinerary.

Birding the Migration: Mono Basin & Bridgeport Valley
August 10–11 • Dave Shuford
$155 per person / $140 for members
The east slope of the Sierra Nevada is a major migration route for birds traveling from northern nesting areas to warm southern habitats. As a result, late summer is the time of year to see fall migrants and early arriving wintering birds in the Mono Basin and Bridgeport Valley. Dave Shuford has been a staff biologist at Point Blue Conservation Science for over 30 years. He has conducted numerous surveys and research projects in the Mono Basin and beyond and is well acquainted with where to find birds in the Eastern Sierra. Click here for a full seminar itinerary.

Birding the Migration: Mono Basin & Long Valley
August 12–13 • Dave Shuford
$155 per person / $140 for members
The east slope of the Sierra Nevada is a major migration route for birds traveling from northern nesting areas to warm southern habitats. As a result, late summer is the time of year to see fall migrants and early arriving wintering birds in the Mono Basin and Long Valley. Dave Shuford has been a staff biologist at Point Blue Conservation Science for over 30 years. He has conducted numerous surveys and research projects in the Mono Basin and beyond and is well acquainted with where to find birds in the Eastern Sierra. Click here for a full seminar itinerary.

Birding the White Mountains
August 19 • Nora Livingston
$95 per person / $85 for members
The gradient from the Owens Valley up to the White Mountains provides a great swath of diverse habitat, from desert oasis up to high-elevation pinyon-juniper woodland. On a day of birding like this, one could easily see over 100 species in eight hours. This one-day field seminar will search high and low for a great variety of species and end the day tallying up the list at the Mountain Rambler Brewery in Bishop. Nora Livingston is our very own Lead Naturalist Guide. She holds the Mono County Big Day record after seeing 153 species on July 26, 2011. Click here for a full seminar itinerary.

A Long Journey: Shorebird & Waterfowl Migration
August 20 • Nora Livingston
$95 per person / $85 for members
As birds fly south for winter, the common questions include “Where exactly are they going? Where are they coming from? How long does it take them to get there? How do they know where to go?” This seminar strives to answer those questions during a fun time in the field observing these lightweight travelers as they fuel up along their migration. We will focus on waterbirds and shorebirds, but there will be plenty of landbird migrants as well. Nora Livingston is our very own Lead Naturalist Guide. She has spent nine years migrating to and from the basin along with the birds, until she finally became a resident in 2016. Click here for a full seminar itinerary.

Miwok-Paiute Basketry
August 25–27 • Julia Parker, Lucy Parker, Ursula Jones
$265 per person / $250 for members
$80 materials fee
primitive group campsite included (no pets)
During this seminar, participants will prepare materials and create a small Miwok-Paiute basket. This seminar is designed for weavers of all levels and participants are encouraged (but not required) to camp with the group at a peaceful private campsite near Lundy Canyon. Lucy Parker is a descendent of the Yosemite Miwok, Mono Lake Kutzadika'a, and Kayasha Pomo peoples. She learned traditional handiwork from her mother Julia, a master basket weaver who has dedicated her life to learning and teaching basketry. Ursula, Lucy’s daughter and Julia’s granddaughter, is carrying the tradition forward. Limited to 12 participants. Click here for a full seminar itinerary.

Geology of the Mono Basin
August 25–27 • Greg Stock
$165 per person / $150 for members
From volcanic craters to glacial moraines, earthquake faults to tufa towers, the Mono Basin displays some of the most unique, spectacular, and accessible geology anywhere in the world. This seminar, consisting mostly of field visits to the premier sites, will present the geologic stories of the Mono Basin in understandable fashion. Greg Stock is the first ever Yosemite National Park geologist. He has authored and co-authored over 50 papers and abstracts on Sierra Nevada geology and is co-author of the book Geology Underfoot in Yosemite National Park. Click here for a full seminar itinerary.

Fire Ecology of the Eastern Sierra
September 9–10 • Malcolm North
$155 per person / $140 for members
We live in a pyrogenic landscape, where most forests are born and shaped by fire. Fires are inevitable in much of the western United States, but many modern fires burn differently than what forests evolved with. This seminar will visit several recent fires in the Mono Basin, show fire effects on forest ecosystems, and discuss the good, bad, and ugly of current fire management and policy. Malcolm North is a research scientist in the Forest Service’s Pacific Southwest Research Station and a professor in the Department of Plant Sciences at UC Davis. He has studied Sierra Nevada forests for more than 20 years, authored or co-authored over 150 papers, and worked extensively with forest managers to apply research findings. Click here for a full seminar itinerary.

Mono Basin Tree Identification
September 15 • Nora Livingston
$95 per person / $85 for members
This one-day seminar will delve deeply into the diversity of trees in the Mono Basin and their identifying traits. We will examine, observe, and even smell the trees to help ingrain the knowledge into our senses. Nora Livingston is our very own Lead Naturalist Guide. She was lucky to study dendrology (the study of trees) in the Appalachian Mountains where there are well over 100 tree species in a small geographic area. Click here for a full seminar itinerary.

Visions of the Past: Sierra Gold, Aurora Silver
September 16–17 • Terri Geissinger
$155 per person / $140 for members
The gold-mining operations of Bennettville and the Log Cabin Mine and the silver-mining town of Aurora offer visions of the past to those who visit these now-deserted outposts at the Sierra crest and in the high desert. At Bennettville and the Log Cabin Mine we will get a sense of the miners’ struggle to hit pay dirt at the highest elevations of California, overlooking Mono Lake. After traveling the legendary Aurora cutoff route we will be treated to spectacular views and tales of the Aurora’s lively history. Terri Geissinger is a Bodie Foundation interpreter and guide, with a talent for making history come alive. Click here for a full seminar itinerary.

Geology of the Mono Basin
September 22–24 • Greg Stock
$165 per person / $150 for members
From volcanic craters to glacial moraines, earthquake faults to tufa towers, the Mono Basin displays some of the most unique, spectacular, and accessible geology anywhere in the world. This seminar, consisting mostly of field visits to the premier sites, will present the geologic stories of the Mono Basin in understandable fashion. Greg Stock is the first ever Yosemite National Park geologist. He has authored and co-authored over 50 papers and abstracts on Sierra Nevada geology and is co-author of the book Geology Underfoot in Yosemite National Park. Click here for a full seminar itinerary.

Creating the Illuminated Field Journal
September 29–October 1 • Hannah Hinchman
$175 per person / $160 for members
A field journal is an ideal vehicle to record moments of discovery about the natural world, as well as a quiet way of simply being present outdoors. In this workshop, artist and writer Hannah Hinchman will guide you in exploring the variety of nearby habitats—opening windows to nature’s many secrets and learning to personalize these experiences through journal entries, both drawn and written. Hannah is the author of three books about field journals—with a fourth in progress—and has been teaching field journal workshops all over the US for over 20 years. Limited to 12 participants. Click here for a full seminar itinerary.

Mono Basin Fall Photography
October 13–15 • Robb Hirsch
$275 per person / $250 for members
Autumn in the Mono Basin is one of the greatest photographic experiences in the country. Spectacular foliage and skies combine with exceptional light, presenting ample subject matter for photographers in both color and black-and-white. Join accomplished photographer and workshop leader Robb Hirsch to explore shoreline locations at sunrise and sunset, fall color in nearby canyons, and grand overviews of the Mono Basin. Photographers of all levels are welcome; a fully adjustable camera of any size or format is suggested. Limited to 12 participants. Click here for a full seminar itinerary.

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Past Seminar Offerings

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.
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The Mono Lake Committee works with field leaders who have received high ratings from past seminar participants.
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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.
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Questions? Call (760) 647-6595 or email Communications Coordinator Elin Ljung.

 

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© 2017 mono lake committee
The Mono Lake Committee is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization.