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Field Seminar instructors

Field Seminar instructors

The Mono Lake Committee works with field leaders who have received high ratings from past seminar participants.

Many instructors have been leading Field Seminars for more than a decade, and are experts in more than one field of study. These folks are known for being enthusiastic, approachable teachers—their passion for the Mono Basin is infectious!


  • Terri Geissinger
    1. Terri Geissinger 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. Take a seminar with Terri:
      Visions of the Past: Sierra Gold, Aurora Silver • September 16–17

  • David Gubernick
    1. David GubernickDavid 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. Take a seminar with David:
      Mono Basin Moonlight Photography • June 9–11
      Mono Basin & Bodie Photography • July 21–23

  • John Harris
    1. John HarrisJohn Harris is a Professor of Biology at Mills College whose interest in Mono's mammals began in 1975 while working as an undergraduate assistant in a study of chipmunks. He went on to study small mammals on Mono Lake's dunes as a graduate student and has worked on small mammals in the Sierra Nevada, San Joaquin Valley, and Mojave Desert of California. Take a seminar with John:
      Mono Basin Mammals • July 21–23

  • Hannah Hinchman
    1. Hannah HinchmanHannah Hinchman has written and taught on the subject of illuminated field journals since the mid-80s. Her book A Trail Through Leaves: The Journal as a Path to Place is used as a text in environmental studies programs. Her visual journal about Montana’s Rocky Mountain Front, Little Things in a Big Country, won the Mountains & Plains Booksellers Award in 2005. Take a seminar with Hannah:
      Creating the Illuminated Field Journal • September 29–October 1

  • Robb Hirsch
    1. Robb HirschRobb 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. Take a seminar with Robb:
      Mono Basin Fall Photography • October 13–15

  • Ann Howald
    1. Ann HowaldAnn 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. Take a seminar with Ann:
      High Country Plants & Habitats: How are they coping with climate change? • July 28–30

  • Ursula Jones
    1. Ursula JonesUrsula Jones, daughter of Lucy Parker and granddaughter of Julia Parker, is carrying basket weaving traditions forward into the next generation. Ursula went with her grandmother to the Yosemite museum and learned to weave there, the same way her mother did. Her own daughter, Naomi, is now learning the weaving traditions in turn. Take as seminar with Ursula:
      Miwok-Paiute Basketry • June 23–25
      Miwok-Paiute Basketry • August 25–27

  • Nora Livingston
    1. Nora LivingstonNora Livingston is the Mono Lake Committee's Lead Naturalist Guide. She has spent a decade birding the Mono Basin, is an expert on Mono Basin birding locations, and holds the Mono County Big Day record after seeing 153 species on July 26, 2011. Nora has worked as a field biologist on the Channel Islands, the Farallon Islands, and in the Eastern Sierra; she studied trees in the species-rich Appalachian Mountains; and she is the Secretary of the Mono Basin Historical Society. Take a seminar with Nora:
      Breeding Birds of the Mono Basin • June 2
      Mining the Past through Binoculars • June 3
      Birding Mono Basin Hotspots • June 4
      Twilight Birding & Owling • June 7 
      Twilight Birding & Owling • June 22
      Natural History Ramble • June 28
      Birding Between the Breweries • June 29
      Wildflower Waltz • June 30
      Full Moon Adventure • July 9
      Sierra Nevada Widlflowers • July 14
      Natural History Ramble • July 19
      Wildflower Waltz • July 21 
      Volcanism at Mono Lake • July 28
      Full Moon Adventure • August 7
      Natural History Ramble • August 10 
      Mining the Past through Binoculars • August 16 
      Birding the White Mountains • August 19
      A Long Journey: Shorebird & Waterfowl Migration • August 20
      Birding Between the Breweries • August 24
      Full Moon Adventure • September 6
      Mono Basin Tree Identification • September 15
      Fall Color Foray • October 4
      Full Moon Adventure • October 5
      Mining the Past through Binoculars • October 7
      Fall Color Foray • October 12
      Fall Color Foray • October 16

  • Kristie Nelson
    1. Kristie NelsonKristie Nelson has had a love for 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. She has conducted ornithological fieldwork throughout much of the state and has been the project leader for California Gull research at Mono Lake since 2005. When not engaged in butterflying or birding, she is busy running a small diversified farm in the Mono Basin with her husband Joel. Take a seminar with Kristie:
      Butterflies of the Mono Basin & Sierra Nevada • July 15–16

  • Malcolm North
    1. Malcolm North Malcolm North is a research scientist in the Forest Service's Pacific Southwest Research Station and a professor in the Department of Plant Sciences, UC Davis. He has a master's degree (Yale University) and a PhD (University of Washington) in forest ecology. Malcolm 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. Take a seminar with Malcolm:
      Fire Ecology of the Eastern Sierra • September 9–10

  • Penny Otwell
    1. Penny OtwellPenny 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. Take a seminar with Penny:
      En Plein Air at Mono Lake: Beginning Oil Painting • July 28–30

  • Julia Parker
    1. Julia ParkerJulia 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. Take a seminar with Julia:
      Miwok-Paiute Basketry • June 23–25
      Miwok-Paiute Basketry • August 25–27

  • Lucy Parker
    1. Lucy Parker 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. Take a seminar with Lucy:
      Miwok-Paiute Basketry • June 23–25 
      Miwok-Paiute Basketry • August 25–27

  • Greg Reis
    1. Greg Reis Greg Reis has been the Mono Lake Committee's Information & Restoration Specialist since 1995 And is the perfect guide for unraveling the Mono Basin's complex and fascinating plumbing. He has extensive experience in Mono Basin hydrology and restoration and keeps close track of Mono Basin water management. Greg's thoughtful, patient teaching style suits such a complicated subject well, and participants return to learn from him again and again. Take a seminar with Greg:
      Los Angeles Aqueduct Tour • June 23–25

  • Ane Carla Rovetta
    1. Ane Carla Rovetta Ane Carla Rovetta is a landscape painter known for her realistic depiction of our golden western lands. Her formal training was as a zoologist, and like the artisans of the European Renaissance, she is committed to the practice of art and science as kindred disciplines. Ane Carla has spent most of her adult life unifying the two in paintings, handmade art materials, and lively public performances across the United States. Her enthusiasm, humor, and care with her students bring many participants back for more of her classes. Take a seminar with Ane Carla:
      Capturing the Mono Basin in Pastel • July 14–16

  • Dave Shuford
    1. Dave Shuford 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. Take a seminar with Dave:
      Birding the Migration: Mono Basin & Bridgeport Valley • August 10–11
      Birding the Migration: Mono Basin & Long Valley • August 12–13

  • Steve Shunk
    1. Steve Shunk 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. Take a seminar with Steve:
      Natural History of Mono Basin Woodpeckers • June 13–15

  • Greg Stock
    1. Greg Stock 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. Take a seminar with Greg:
      Geology of the Mono Basin • August 25–27
      Geology of the Mono Basin • September 22–24

  • Jeff Sullivan
    1. Jeff SullivanJeff Sullivan is a landscape photography and astrophotography workshop instructor, and author of 320-page guidebook Photographing California Vol. 2 – South. His photography is licensed for use in magazines, books, websites, calendars, and his time-lapse videos have been featured in commercials and documentaries. Jeff's astrophotography won the "People and Space" category in the 2011 Astronomy Photographer of the Year contest, conducted by the Royal Observatory, Greenwich, UK, home of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) and the Prime Meridian (zero degrees longitude). Take a seminar with Jeff:
      Mono Basin Spring Landscapes & Astrophotography • June 2–4

  • David Wimpfheimer
    1. David WimpfheimerDavid 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. Take a seminar with David:
      Mono Basin Natural History: Aquatic & Terrestrial Habitats • July 7–9


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

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