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Capturing the Spirit of Birds: A presentation and book signing with photographer Marie Read

June 24th, 2019 by Lily, Information Center & Bookstore Manager

What does it take to create photographs that reveal the essential spirit of birds? For wildlife photographer Marie Read it means capturing their behavior—in this presentation she’ll show you how it’s done.

Join us for a presentation and book signing with Marie:

Friday, June 28
3:00–4:30pm
Mono Lake Committee gallery
in Lee Vining

Reserve your seat here

Marie will share the back stories to her compelling images, many of which appear in her latest book, Mastering Bird Photography: the Art, Craft, and Technique of Photographing Birds and Their Behavior. Whether you’re a bird watcher or an experienced photographer, Marie’s tips will help you improve your own images.

Signed copies of Mastering Bird Photography and Marie’s previous book, Sierra Wings: Birds of the Mono Lake Basin, will be available for purchase after the talk. For questions and more information contact me by email or at 760-647-6595.

2019 Mono Lake Committee Scholarship recipients

June 22nd, 2019 by Rose, Education Program Manager

Since 2008, the Mono Lake Committee has supported local students by awarding two $1,000 scholarships to Mono County high school seniors. This year we asked applicants to get close to the shoreline of Mono Lake without distractions and jot down what they saw, heard, smelled, and felt around them. Then to reflect on the question: Why do places like Mono Lake matter?

The answers were quite moving from all applicants, but two essays rose to the top. We are pleased to announce this year’s recipients—Orion Ellis from Mammoth High School and Sophia McKee from Lee Vining High School.

Rose Nelson with scholarship recipients Orion Ellis and Sophia McKee. Photos by Rose Nelson.

… more »

Tioga Pass open on a limited basis starting Friday, June 21

June 19th, 2019 by Elin, Communications Coordinator

As road crews continue to work to get Tioga Pass (Highway 120) all the way open, Yosemite National Park has announced that there will be limited access to the road starting on Friday.

The gate at the eastern entrance to Yosemite National Park. Photo courtesy of the National Park Service.

The Tioga Road will be open to all vehicles, including bicycles, from 10:00am to 11:00am and from 3:00pm to 4:00pm, with no parking allowed on the road and no day use recreation permitted. This is a pass-through option only, for visitors interested in crossing the Sierra.

There is still no estimated date for the road to open fully. For more information, see the full press release from the National Park Service.

Summer hours start Thursday at the Mono Lake Committee Information Center & Bookstore

June 11th, 2019 by Lily, Information Center & Bookstore Manager

Starting on Thursday, June 13, the Mono Lake Committee Information Center & Bookstore will be open from 8:00am to 9:00pm every day.

Mono Lake Committee Information Center & Bookstore summer hours begin on Thursday: open 8:00am to 9:00pm daily. Photo by Elin Ljung.

Stop by to pick up a Mono Lake T-shirt, buy maps for your next hike, find gifts for friends and family, watch The Mono Lake Story half-hour film, select some postcards to help remember your trip, or get information about canoeing, hiking, camping, lodging, restaurants, and more. We look forward to seeing you soon!

Space still open in Bird Chautauqua programs

June 8th, 2019 by Elin, Communications Coordinator

The eighteenth annual Mono Basin Bird Chautauqua is happening next weekend, June 14–16! The weather has warmed up, the birds have arrived in the Eastern Sierra, and many Chautauqua programs still have space.

Join us next weekend for the Mono Basin Bird Chautauqua! Photo by Elin Ljung.

If you have been on the fence about attending this year’s Chautauqua, we hope this list of open programs (below) convinces you to join us. You can still register for a fantastic weekend of field trips, workshops, and presentations—don’t miss out! … more »

Major changes to fishing regulations possible

June 5th, 2019 by Lisa, Associate Policy Director

Just a month before this year’s fishing season opener, the California Department of Fish & Wildlife (DFW) threw out a lunker of a proposal—a potential change to existing fishing regulations to allow year-round inland trout fishing throughout the state of California, including the Eastern Sierra. According to DFW, the motivation for the change is to simplify fishing regulations statewide.

The California Department of Fish & Wildlife has proposed that year-round inland trout fishing be permitted throughout the state, including on Mono Basin streams. Photo by Elin Ljung.

Since the announcement, DFW has hosted a series of meetings around the state. Locally, the topic has sparked much interest—not only among anglers and fishing guides, but also business owners, seasonal resort owners, and public officials, all of whom … more »

Sign up for a Mono Lake canoe tour today

June 1st, 2019 by Alison, Canoe Coordinator

With summer just around the corner, it’s time to start planning a visit to the Eastern Sierra! Reserve your seat today on a Mono Lake canoe tour to experience Mono Lake from an entirely new perspective.

Calm mornings lead to stunning reflections on Mono Lake. Photos by Alison Kaplan.

On your hour-long tour, you will learn all about the ecology and geology of this high desert lake while paddling among tufa towers, seeing eye-to-eye with the brine shrimp, and maybe even … more »

The Tioga Pass lower gate is open

May 31st, 2019 by Elin, Communications Coordinator

At noon today Caltrans opened the lower gate on Tioga Pass, which opens 13 miles of Highway 120, from Highway 395 to the Yosemite National Park boundary. The gate at the park boundary remains closed.

The Tioga Pass lower gate on February 7, 2019. The snow has melted and the gate opened today. Photo by Bartshe Miller.

With the lower gate open, people can access the high country near the park boundary—it remains almost completely snow-covered with wintry conditions and variable weather. Visitors planning to leave the road should be prepared for such conditions. Ellery Lake and Tioga Lake are still covered in ice and snow, and Saddlebag Lake Road is still closed, so there is no vehicle access to Saddlebag Lake. Tioga Pass Resort and Saddlebag Lake Resort remain closed.

There is still no estimated opening date for Tioga Pass; plowing updates can be found here and a list of previous opening dates here.

Summer 2019 Mono Lake Committee staff migrations

May 31st, 2019 by Jessica, Office Director

The 2018 Mono Lake Committee staff; 2019 staff arrive today! Photo by Elin Ljung.

Incoming seasonal staff are like spring flows in the creeks, bringing excitement, growth, and renewal to the whole Mono Basin. Without them, our extensive education programs at the lake and in the Information Center & Bookstore would be nearly impossible, and their zest for all things Mono Lake reminds us why we are all here.

We have two staff returning this year. Ava Stavros is back for her third year as an Outdoor Education Instructor after a winter working at The Lift café, a new woman-owned business in June Lake. Alison Kaplan will once again be leading weekend tours as the Canoe Coordinator after working for the Land Conservancy of San Luis Obispo County over the winter.

Information Center & Bookstore Assistant Kevin Brown has a wealth of retail experience in addition to experience as … more »

Mono Lake: Surviving the Anthropocene

May 28th, 2019 by Bartshé, Eastern Sierra Policy Director

Saline lakes are in steady decline around the world. Treasures on a planet of primarily freshwater lakes, saline lakes are unique, wild, and fascinating in their own right, as well as critical niche ecosystems in which birds and people live.

Mono Lake is likely the only salt lake ecosystem on earth with meaningful protection on a watershed scale. It is also a critical stop on the Pacific Flyway for migratory birds like phalaropes, seen here. Photo courtesy of Marie Read.

Because they are located in arid and semi-arid regions where evaporation loss is significant, water diversions have an increased impact on these lakes. Diversions have, in some cases, led to ecological collapse and loss of fisheries and/or critical bird habitat along with catastrophic air quality problems. Climate change is frequently blamed, but saline lakes began shrinking and disappearing decades ago as water diversions increased well ahead of global temperature rise. … more »

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The Mono Lake Committee is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization.