Seven people wearing hiking gear gather around a guide leaning on an unusual rock in a rocky and sunny outdoor setting.

Field Seminars

Deepen your knowledge and understanding of the Mono Basin on a seminar. Field Seminars will look a little different this year to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

COVID-19 protocols and guidelines

Please be sure to read our COVID-19 protocols and guidelines before registering for a seminar. Keeping participants, instructors, and our staff safe is our highest priority.

Six people gather around a guide who is using his hands to describe something, and the group is standing on a high precipice overlooking Mono Lake stretched out in a large expanse of blue with a clear view of the islands in the lake and the desert all around.

Learn more on a field seminar

Through a combination of field excursions and classroom presentations, field seminars emphasize a spirit of learning and camaraderie in a magnificent outdoor setting at a reasonable cost. Instructors are experts in their fields and include scientists, naturalists, and acclaimed photographers, writers, historians, and artists.

Virtual Seminars

Bird Anatomy & Physiology (FULL)
March 6, 2021 @ 6:00–8:00pm
Instructor: Nora Livingston
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Bird Feathers & Flight (FULL)
March 20, 2021 @ 6:00–8:00pm
Instructor: Nora Livingston
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Bird Food & Foraging (FULL)
April 3, 2021 @ 6:00–8:00pm
Instructor: Nora Livingston
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Bird Mating, Social, & Vocal Behavior (FULL)
April 17, 2021 @ 6:00–8:00pm
Instructor: Nora Livingston
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Bird Breeding Biology (FULL)
May 1, 2021 @ 6:00–8:00pm
Instructor: Nora Livingston
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Bird Migration & Dispersal (FULL)
May 15, 2021 @ 6:00–8:00pm
Instructor: Nora Livingston
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Field Seminars

Mono Basin Natural History: Aquatic & Terrestrial Habitats – FULL
July 9–11, 2021
Instructor: David Wimpfheimer
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Mountain Botany & Ecology – FULL
July 23–25, 2021
Instructor: Michèle Slaton
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Mono Basin Mammals
August 6–8, 2021
Instructor: John Harris
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Falling for the Migration: Bridgeport, Crowley, Mono – FULL
August 20–22, 2021
Instructor: Dave Shuford
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Restoring Sierra Nevada Bighorn SheepFULL
September 10–12, 2021
Instructor: John Wehausen
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Geology of the Mono BasinFULL
September 24–26, 2021
Instructor: Greg Stock
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Arborglyphs & Aspen Natural HistoryFULL
October 2–3, 2021
Instructors: Richard Potashin & Nancy Hadlock
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Registration information

How to sign up: Registration for Virtual Seminars is open and all those seminars have filled. For Field Seminars, participants from last year who chose to apply their tuition to this year will get priority registration, which will open on Thursday, April 1, 2021 at 9:00am PDT. We have a list of those who are eligible for priority registration; to check if you are on that list please send us an email. Field Seminar registration will open to Mono Lake Committee members on Thursday, April 15 at 9:00am PDT. When registration is open, “register” links will appear on this page. You can also call (760) 647-6595 to register.

Cancellation policy: Refunds are not available for Virtual Seminars. For Field Seminars, if you cancel three weeks prior to the seminar start date, we will refund your payment (less a $15 processing fee per person per seminar). No refunds can be issued for any reason if cancellation is within three weeks of the seminar date, but tuition can be applied to another seminar within one calendar year of your cancellation date. If you cancel within one week of the seminar start date, no credits can be issued for any reason. Because statewide and region-wide COVID-19 conditions will continue to change, we may have to cancel seminars, possibly last-minute; full refunds will be issued in that case.

Frequently asked questions

You need a Visa, MasterCard, Discover, or American Express credit card to pay for your seminar, whether you are signing up online or over the phone. We do not accept personal checks.

You may, as long as you attend the very first meeting of the seminar. For example, if your seminar begins on Friday evening at 6:00pm, you must attend that portion. There are no discounts for attending only a portion of any field seminar.

Children ages 12 and older are welcome to participate in field seminars, as long as a parent or guardian is also registered in the same seminar. Children under the age of 12 are not allowed in Mono Lake field seminars.

No pets are allowed on any Field Seminars. Please consider this in advance and find boarding accommodations for your pets or leave them at home; do not leave pets in your car during seminars. Service animals assisting people with disabilities are allowed on seminars and must be leashed.

No, generally not.

The Mono Basin’s dramatic weather is part of what you come here to experience. There are no refunds for weather-related reasons, so please check road conditions before you leave home, and bring plenty of layers, rain gear, and warm clothes for your seminar.

Preventing the spread of COVID-19 to keep participants, instructors, and Mono Lake Committee staff safe is our highest priority.

We are implementing protocols, developed in accordance with local, state, and federal guidelines, including guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, to mitigate the risk of COVID-19 to seminar participants, instructors, and staff. It will be the responsibility of all participants to cooperate with these protocols and guidelines.

Participants are requested to reduce potential exposure before traveling to the Mono Basin for a Field Seminar. We will be sending out a health screening form by email prior to the seminar; participants must complete it truthfully and return it promptly.

If at any point during the 14 days prior to the start of your seminar you have 1) come into contact with anyone known to be infected with coronavirus, 2) traveled internationally, or 3) experienced symptoms of COVID-19 such as fever or chills, cough, difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle or body aches, loss of taste or smell, nausea or vomiting, or diarrhea, you must cancel your registration for the seminar. If you need to cancel, you will receive a full refund.

At the start of each seminar participants will need to complete another health screening and sign the Mono Lake Committee’s COVID-19 acknowledgement and liability release waiver.

All participants, including those who have been vaccinated, are expected to bring their own face masks or cloth face coverings and wear them for the duration of the seminar (with the exception of lunch and snack breaks, and to stay hydrated). All participants must bring their own hand sanitizer (at least 60% alcohol). All participants are expected to maintain social distance of six feet between themselves and other participants, instructors, and staff for the duration of the seminar.

Seminars will take place entirely outside. Participants will caravan to each field location rather than carpool. Participants, instructors, and staff must not share binoculars, spotting scopes, field guides, cameras, snacks, and other supplies with each other.

If you begin to feel ill at any time during the seminar, you must immediately notify the staff member accompanying the group and leave the group.

Because statewide and region-wide conditions will continue to change, we may have to cancel seminars, possibly last-minute. Full refunds will be issued in that case.

Five people look out over a field of green with yellow, white, and purple flowers as a guide standing in the field with a hiking stick talks, with the Sierra Nevada with snow in the distance.

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All Field Seminars operate under permits from the Inyo National Forest and California State Park system.
Top photo courtesy of Bob Yates.