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Monitoring willow growth along Rush Creek

Tuesday, October 29th, 2019 by AnnaLisa, Mono Lake Intern

After tumbling out of the car following a jaunt down Forest Service roads to Rush Creek, fellow intern Meghan and I started the steep, sandy descent to a location known as Vestal Springs, weaving our way between fragrant sagebrush and rose shrubs.

AnnaLisa measuring a willow stem as Robbie looks on. Photo by Meghan Cihasky.

The springs are named for California Fish & Game Biologist Elden Vestal (1914–1998), an expert on Mono Lake’s tributary streams and a critical witness during the courtroom and State Water Board proceedings leading up to the 1994 Mono Lake decision.

Vestal Springs support a lush, grassy oasis separate from the nearby riparian habitat of Rush Creek. In addition to grasses and wildflowers, the area is scattered with large willow trees. It is these trees that Meghan and I came here for. (more…)

Calling Mono Lake photographers!

Wednesday, October 23rd, 2019 by Arya, Communications Director

Submitting images for consideration for the Mono Lake Calendar has never been easier, so if you have a beautiful shot, we’d love to see it! Now is the time—the deadline is next Thursday, October 31, 2019, and you can find submission information here.

2020 Mono Lake Calendar

We are looking for images of scenes within the watershed boundary of Mono Lake, and possible subjects include, but are not limited to: plants, geologic features, streams, (more…)

Join us for a winter field seminar at Mono Lake

Friday, October 11th, 2019 by Elin, Communications Coordinator

Travel to the Mono Basin in winter to experience the “forgotten” season on the east side of the Sierra Nevada. Winter here is quiet, majestic, and worth discovering with a guide on one of our winter field seminars.

Join us for a winter field seminar to experience the “forgotten” season in the Mono Basin. Photo by Arya Harp.

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Winter Photography at Mono Lake
January 10–2, 2020 • Joe Decker

Mono Basin Winter Wanders (half-day) •
February 1 & 15, March 7 & 21, 2020
• Nora Livingston

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Registration will open on Tuesday, October 15 at noon. To sign up, call (760) 647-6595 or register online. (more…)

Fall colors are just starting in the Mono Basin

Thursday, September 26th, 2019 by Krista, Birding Intern

Autumn in the Eastern Sierra is a captivating time of year. After a busy summer of growth and renewal, vibrant pockets of yellow, gold, and red spills down steep canyon walls and across hilltops. Most of the birds have flown south for the winter, and the autumn leaves quiver and shine throughout a silent landscape. Though the fall colors have just started to pop up in isolated pockets throughout the Eastern Sierra, the crisp clean air announces more fall splendor to come soon!

Lundy Canyon fall color on 9/26/19. Photo by Krista Fanucchi.

Some small groups of aspen are just starting to change color along the June Lake Loop (7,654′), in Lee Vining Canyon (6,781′), and (more…)

2021 Mono Lake Calendar submission deadline is approaching

Wednesday, September 25th, 2019 by Joslyn, Project Specialist

We hope you are planning to submit your Mono Lake and Mono Basin photos for the 2021 Mono Lake Calendar jury selection this year. The deadline is Wednesday, October 31, 2019, and you can find submission information here.

Photos courtesy of John Dittli, Jessica Tallman, Dennis Flaherty.

We encourage you to submit high-quality photographs that you feel best capture the spirit of the Mono Basin’s geological and ecological wonders. To be selected for inclusion (more…)

Invasive plants—we’re in the thick of it!

Wednesday, September 4th, 2019 by Meghan, Mono Lake Intern

When I first started at the Mono Lake Committee as an intern this past June, I had very little concept of why invasive plants are such a threat to healthy habitats. I would see posters plastered around boat ramps, heard about volunteer opportunities for invasive plant removal, and driven through vehicle inspection stops and thought, “so what?”

Interns Meghan and AnnaLisa checking along Mill Creek for invasive plant species. Photo by Robbie Di Paolo.

Last month I took my first invasive plant scouting trip down at Mill Creek (one of Mono Lake’s tributaries that the Committee is working to restore) with Restoration Field Technician Robbie Di Paolo. It didn’t take long to see the threats invasive species pose here in the Mono Basin and why they’re so important to address. (more…)

Refreshing ‘Ologists: Sage-grouse conservation across the sagebrush sea

Saturday, August 31st, 2019 by Ellie, Mono Lake Intern

Join us on Wednesday, September 4 at 4:00pm in the Mono Lake Committee gallery for this week’s Refreshments with Refreshing ‘Ologists presentation. Eric Tymstra, PhD candidate at UC Davis, will be here to discuss his research on the Greater Sage-grouse, their behavior, diet, and conservation. If you can join us for this free event, please register here.

A male Sage-grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus) struts his stuff on the lek during the breeding season in an effort to attract a mate. Photo courtesy of Andrew Hallberg.

Conservation and restoration efforts aim to protect organisms and the areas that they use. Herbivores in particular face unique challenges when it comes to habitat use: many plants have high fiber content, low nutritional value, and defenses such as toxins. In response to toxic, low-quality food, many herbivores have evolved counter defenses, such as (more…)

Summer activities on the Mono Lake Committee bookstore patio

Thursday, August 29th, 2019 by AnnaLisa, Mono Lake Intern

As the summer drifts steadily onward, seasonal staff are making the most of the long days and increased visitation to Lee Vining by offering activities and natural history interpretation on the patio outside of the Mono Lake Committee Information Center & Bookstore.

Look for the table out in front of the Mono Lake Committee bookstore—we’re there with games, activities, and answers to your questions. Photo by AnnaLisa Mayer.

Stopping beneath a welcome shade tent, as the August sun beats down on the concrete inlay of Mono Lake, passersby can play family-friendly games such as Wildflower Bingo and Shrimp Toss, all the while learning about the story of the lake and the local ecology. If (more…)

Trail Chic: Lee Vining’s fashion icons emerge to support outdoor education

Monday, July 29th, 2019 by Ellie, Mono Lake Intern

Mono Lake Committee staff and other Lee Vining residents hit the astroturf runway on July 20 for the Eastern Sierra’s most anticipated event of the year—the Trail Chic Fashion Show Fundraiser.

This year’s group of runway walkers at the Trail Chic Fashion Show Fundraiser. Photo by Elin Ljung.

A fundraiser for the Mono Lake Committee’s Outdoor Education Center (OEC) Access Fund, the Trail Chic Fashion Show raised enough money this year to bring nine future OEC groups to the Mono Basin for five days of life-changing outdoor activities while learning about the source of their water. (more…)

Refreshing ‘Ologists: Conserving giant sequoia and coast redwood in a time of global change

Saturday, July 27th, 2019 by Ellie, Mono Lake Intern

Join us on July 31 at 4:00pm in the Mono Lake Committee gallery for Refreshments with Refreshing ‘Ologists. Kristen Shive, Science Director of Save the Redwoods League, will be here to discuss how sequoias and redwoods respond to a changing climate. If you can join us for this free event, please sign up here.

A prescribed burn in the Mariposa Grove in Yosemite. Photo courtesy of Kristen Shive.

(more…)

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