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Make your plans now for 2019 Mono Lake Field Seminars

Tuesday, January 15th, 2019 by Elin, Communications Coordinator
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The complete list of all the Mono Lake Committee’s 2019 Field Seminars is now available online hereRegistration opens at 9:00am on Friday, February 1.

The Mono Lake Committee’s Lead Naturalist Guide Nora Livingston will be leading 16 seminars this year, with topics ranging from birding to botany, history to geology. Photo courtesy of Bob Yates.

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.

New seminars this year include Watercolors in the Wild in (more…)

Take a guided trip to experience the majesty of winter at Mono Lake

Sunday, December 23rd, 2018 by Nora, Lead Naturalist Guide
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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.

Snow blankets Lee Vining canyon. Photo by Nora Livingston.

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…)

Virtual tours connect remote students to Mono Lake

Saturday, December 22nd, 2018 by Rose, Education Program Manager
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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.

Fourth grade students at Montalvin Manor K-8 in San Pedro, California tune into a South Tufa tour at Mono Lake. Photo courtesy of Beth Levine.

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.

Calling all Mono Lake lovers: Apply to work here in the summer!

Friday, December 21st, 2018 by Jessica, Office Director
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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.

Apply now to join our dedicated staff working in one of the most beautiful places in the West. Photo by Arya Harp.

However, none of these things can actually happen without the dedicated seasonal staff that arrives in (more…)

Christmas Bird Counts are on the horizon!

Sunday, December 9th, 2018 by Nora, Lead Naturalist Guide
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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!

Rough-legged Hawks are typically only in Mono County during the winter months, and they blend right in with the patchy snow. Photo by Nora Livingston.

Last year, people tallied over 56 million individual birds during the count window. These counts help show trends in bird populations (more…)

Mono Lake winter field seminar registration now open for non-members

Saturday, December 1st, 2018 by Elin, Communications Coordinator
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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.

A winter sunrise at South Tufa, captured last January during the winter photography seminar. Photo courtesy of Cindy Lee Hoover.

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…)

Weekend South Tufa tours continuing through winter

Saturday, November 24th, 2018 by Andrew, Digital Engagement Coordinator
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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.

Free guided South Tufa tours will continue through the winter on weekends at 1:00pm. Reserve your spot online today! Photo by Andrew Youssef.

Come explore the enchanting South Tufa area with an expert naturalist to learn more about the (more…)

Tioga Pass, Sonora Pass closing this week

Monday, November 19th, 2018 by Elin, Communications Coordinator
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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.

Tioga Pass will close tomorrow evening at 6:00pm due to incoming winter weather. Photo by Bartshe Miller from February 15, 2018.

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.

A glimpse into Lee Vining’s nightlife: Foxes, raccoons, and more!

Sunday, October 21st, 2018 by Nora, Lead Naturalist Guide
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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.

Here’s the red fox seen at Epic Cafe. Notice its black ears, black feet, and white tip of the tail. It is larger than a gray fox, with longer legs and a bushier tail.

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…)

Guided trips to the best fall color spots at Mono Lake

Thursday, October 4th, 2018 by Nora, Lead Naturalist Guide
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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.

Join Nora Livingston to visit the best fall color locations in the Mono Basin right now. Photo by Bartshe Miller.

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…)

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