This year there are 38 Field Seminars to choose from, including one-day, half-day, and multi-day options. As always, the list spans many natural history, cultural history, art, and photography topics.
‘Natural History’ Category
With the winter solstice behind us, winter has officially begun and the days are getting longer! Join us here at Mono Lake for the Winter Ecology field seminar on February 9, 2019 for a guided trip into the mysteries of the winter season.
We’ve had a few winter storms already and we are hoping for lots more! Winter is a unique time to visit the Mono Basin—it’s a time for quiet solitude and reflection, for exploring curiosities on a smaller scale than during the bustle of summer.
One question I hear people ask a lot is “what do animals and birds do to survive in the winter when snow covers the ground or it is so cold that we humans need to add several extra layers to stay warm enough?” (more…)
The Mono Lake story is part of the fourth grade curriculum for many students across the United States. Students read about the natural and cultural history of the Mono Basin, including information on brine shrimp, alkali flies, and water diversions.
Ideally, every concept of curriculum should be reinforced by a field trip, but our remote lake can be difficult to access by everyone, at least physically. To bring Mono Lake to more students the Mono Lake Committee has been able to give two “virtual tours” in the past year. Students connect with Committee staff at South Tufa using a video-chat program and are actually able to see brine shrimp, birds, tufa towers, and the beautiful lake itself. Students ask questions and engage with staff in real time.
We are happy to be able to share the Mono Lake story further than before! If you have any questions or are interested in a virtual tour, please contact me by email or at (760) 647-6595.
As the Office Director for the Mono Lake Committee, I spend my summer days scheduling canoe and South Tufa tours, Information Center & Bookstore shifts, special school group visits, Outdoor Education Center programs, invasive species removal events, stream and lake monitoring, and bird walks at County Park.
However, none of these things can actually happen without the dedicated seasonal staff that arrives in (more…)
Each winter, tens of thousands of people get together all over the Western Hemisphere and count birds in what is possibly the largest community-science project in the world. The Christmas Bird Count, or CBC, has been going on for 118 years—the 2018–2019 season is the 119th CBC!
Last year, people tallied over 56 million individual birds during the count window. These counts help show trends in bird populations (more…)
Registration is now open to non-members for the three winter field seminars taking place in January and February. With a beautiful new layer of snow in the Mono Basin, this is shaping up to be a good winter so far.
Space is still available in all three seminars, but reserve your spot soon if you’d like to join us. A field seminar also makes a wonderful gift—if the holidays sneak up on you and you need a last-minute gift, consider a seminar—no shipping required!
The winter seminars include (more…)
Are you interested in learning more about Mono Lake on your next visit? This year we are offering free guided South Tufa tours every Saturday and Sunday at 1:00pm through the winter in partnership with the Mono Lake Tufa State Natural Reserve. It’s easy to reserve your spot online for tours through the end of March using our new, mobile-friendly registration website.
Come explore the enchanting South Tufa area with an expert naturalist to learn more about the (more…)
With the first winter storm in the forecast this week, the National Park Service has announced that Tioga Pass (Highway 120 west) will close at 6:00pm tomorrow, Tuesday, November 20.
In addition, Caltrans has announced that Ebbetts Pass (Highway 4) will close at 3:00pm tomorrow and Sonora Pass (Highway 108) will close at noon on Wednesday, November 21. Both agencies have noted that these closures are not necessarily the long-term seasonal closures yet. There are no expected re-opening times for the roads; that is weather-dependent.
Last week, diners at Epic Cafe at the south end of town observed a red fox running through the cafe’s lawn at night, sniffing for scraps dropped by messy eaters.
Not only is this stunning creature beautiful for visitors to observe, it is also quite rare in the area and the sighting sparked the interest of local agencies, including Yosemite National Park and the California Department of Fish & Wildlife. It has the potential to be an extremely rare Sierra Nevada red fox (Vulpes vulpes necator), a subspecies of the more widespread red fox (Vulpes vulpes). It could also be a non-native subspecies with Great Basin or fur farm ancestry. The only way to tell for sure is to gather genetic data—either fur or scat. (more…)
We had our first few fall color trips of the year this past week, and it is beyond gorgeous out there! The higher elevations (8,500′–10,000′) have some beautiful patches of red, yellow, and orange groves, and we just got dusted with the first snow of the season on tall peaks along the crest. Now the color is moving down the slopes—the canyons and creeks in the Mono Basin will be glowing in the next two weeks.
Want to learn more about the science behind fall colors and the natural history of these amazing trees that paint our mountains gold and crimson in the fall? Come join me on our Fall Color Foray field seminars and experience them for yourself—October 11 and 15, 8:00am to 12:00noon. I am also available for custom fall color tours to take you to the best spots for viewing and photography. (more…)