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Shop for Mono Lake this holiday season

Wednesday, November 13th, 2019 by Lily, Information Center & Bookstore Manager

The holiday season is upon us! It’s time to start making your lists—and checking them twice. There are many great gifts to choose from in the Mono Lake Committee’s online store, and as with all purchases made from the Committee, 100% of the profits go towards protection, restoration, and education programs here at Mono Lake!

Do your holiday shopping at Mono Lake Committee’s online store to support our work on behalf of Mono Lake. Photo by Elin Ljung.

We invite you to peruse our online store and 2019 Fall Catalog to help you start checking gifts off your list. Purchases can be made directly online, or if you would like to call with your order you can phone (760) 647-6595, Monday through Friday, 9:00am–5:00pm to be assisted by one of our staff “elves.” (more…)

Mono Basin Outdoor Education Center turns 25

Thursday, November 7th, 2019 by Rose, Education Director

Since 1994 the Mono Basin Outdoor Education Center has been connecting students from Los Angeles to the source of their water. Photo by Miranda Norlin.

“Where does your water come from?” This question has been asked to thousands of students visiting the Mono Basin Outdoor Education Center (OEC) from Los Angeles over the past 25 years. At the beginning of their week-long stay in the Mono Basin, some students are unsure.

By the end of the week, there is no question. They have played in high Sierra snow, traveled to the northern extent of the Los Angeles Aqueduct at Lee Vining Creek, pulled invasive plants along Mono Lake’s tributary streams, and pondered the total ecological destruction narrowly escaped at Mono Lake. Through these experiences, they learn where their water comes from, about themselves as (more…)

Phalarope researchers and their muses flock to Mono Lake

Monday, November 4th, 2019 by Nora, Lead Naturalist Guide

If you’ve been to Mono Lake in late July, you may have been lucky enough to have seen the elegant aerial ballet of a flock of Wilson’s Phalaropes.

Phalarope surveyors counted birds through binoculars in a clockwise transect around Mono Lake. Photo courtesy of Ryan Carle.

This summer there were thousands of phalaropes along Mono Lake’s south shore, so visitors were fortunate to have the chance to witness these small shorebirds in magnificent flocks dancing above the reflective lake surface, turning on a dime, flashing their white bellies all at once before seeming to disappear in the dark mountain background when they turn their brown and gray backs in unison. This flocking behavior is a truly breathtaking sight to behold. It was a notable phalarope summer at Mono Lake in several other ways as well. (more…)

For the love of grebes

Sunday, October 20th, 2019 by Robbie, Restoration Field Technician

In British Columbia Robbie assisted Dr. Boyd with telemetry studies to determine annual migration patterns of Eared Grebes. Photo by Robbie Di Paolo.

They’re not an endangered species, they’re not an invasive species, and they’re not a mascot for a sports team—according to a recent paper these are indicators that we shouldn’t expect Eared Grebes to start trending on Google anytime soon. In fact, a paper published in the National Academy of Sciences journal identified grebes as one of the least-popular bird groups in the United States.

I learned this not-so-fun fact while I was in Riske Creek, British Columbia, capturing Eared Grebes with Dr. Sean Boyd and his colleagues from Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC). While cradling a little one-pound grebe in my hands, the bird patiently waiting to be released, I felt baffled about why such a cool and unique bird was not more loved.

Eared Grebe aerial photo surveys at Mono Lake have been conducted almost every year since 1996, and the Mono Lake Committee has (more…)

Fall 2019 Mono Lake Committee staff migrations

Friday, October 18th, 2019 by Jessica, Office Director

The 2019 Mono Lake Committee staff. Photo by Andrew Youssef.

In a blink, summer 2019 came to a close and another excellent group of seasonal staff headed out into the world, in one way or another changed by their time spent in the Mono Basin.

When not answering questions on the front counter, Information Center & Bookstore Assistant Kevin Brown also presented his talk, “Save the Pupfish! History, Water, and the Surprising Persistence of the Devils Hole Pupfish,” at our Refreshments with Refreshing ‘Ologists lecture series.

Merryn Venugopal is sticking around the Eastern Sierra for the winter after a great summer as Information Center & Bookstore Assistant. We were fortunate to have her professionalism and experience with retail systems at the front counter all season. (more…)

Mono Lake Committee intern program receives new support

Thursday, October 17th, 2019 by Anna, Philanthropy Director

The Mono Lake Committee’s intern program is a bridge that connects passionate people to the Mono Lake story.

2019 Ruth Borun Intern AnnaLisa Mayer, right, on a field trip with members of the Committee’s staff and Board of Directors. Photo by Andrew Youssef.

Internships allow individuals (young and old) the opportunity to be paid to work for a successful environmental organization and launch their own careers or propel them in new directions. Past interns fondly remember leading walking tours at South Tufa, answering challenging questions in the bookstore, guiding canoe trips with unbelievable scenic views, and recruiting new members to join the Committee.

In 2019, two families chose to honor family members with special contributions to support internships over the summer. This marks the first year the Committee made available the opportunity for memorial gifts in this manner. (more…)

Fall 2019 Mono Lake Newsletter now online

Wednesday, October 16th, 2019 by Elin, Communications Coordinator

At the Mono Lake Committee we spend a lot of time thinking about inputs of water into Mono Lake. How much? For how long? In what patterns? From what sources? When will it arrive? Is it enough?

But during the recent windstorm-induced power outage (see page 17), I got to thinking about Mono Lake’s output. It powers the phalaropes (see page 6) on their long migration to South America after they have stopped here to gorge on brine shrimp and molt. On their non-stop flight to Chile, Argentina, Peru, and Paraguay, each new feather, each tiny digestive system is powered by Mono Lake. (more…)

Mono Lake Tufa State Natural Reserve Ranger, Dave Marquart, retires

Saturday, October 5th, 2019 by Arya, Communications Director

In July, longtime Mono Lake Tufa State Natural Reserve Ranger Dave Marquart retired after 36 years of service at Mono Lake. To say that Dave is an institution at Mono Lake, and within the Reserve, is an understatement—in his tenure he saw much change, and through it all, he served as a dedicated caretaker of the resources and a skilled interpretive guide, helping countless people learn about and become inspired by Mono Lake.

By the time he retired in July, ranger Dave Marquart had led countless bird walks at County Park during his 36-year career with the Mono Lake Tufa State Natural Reserve. Photo by Elin Ljung.

The Mono Lake Tufa State Natural Reserve essentially protects the central core of Mono Lake—the bed and waters of the lake itself and all state-owned portions of the lake’s 40-mile shoreline, including the majority of the tufa groves, for a total of approximately 49,000 protected acres. Dave’s (more…)

A bountiful year at Mono Lake

Monday, September 30th, 2019 by Geoff, Executive Director

If you wanted to summarize this past summer at Mono Lake in one word it would be this: phalaropes.

Phalaropes flocked in spectacular formations at South Tufa this summer. Photo by Andrew Youssef.

The dainty Mono-loving migrators put on spectacular displays at South Tufa for many days, dipping and weaving in tight flocks of thousands. Visitors stopped in their tracks and canoes floated in place to watch the aerial acrobatics. Mono Lake Committee staff captured one dramatic episode on video and it quickly became our most-watched video ever; you can see it for yourself here.

The phalaropes have now headed to points south for the winter, but like many things at Mono Lake, their summer displays were possible thanks to protection work behind the scenes (more…)

Mono Basin Outdoor Education Center receives many pairs of donated boots

Thursday, August 8th, 2019 by Miranda, Outdoor Education Instructor

The Mono Basin Outdoor Education Center (OEC) staff have been busy this season with a different group every week. Students of all ages, often from Los Angeles, spend five days with us, camping, hiking, and canoeing. They learn about the Mono Basin, where their water comes from, and how to cherish and preserve natural spaces and resources.

OEC students from Modesto’s Camp Cricket hiked up Bennettville Dome in boots generously donated by members. Photo by Miranda Norlin.

Each group brings new and wonderful adventures, but it takes hard work and support from many people to make sure students are prepared and to—literally—get boots on the ground. Most participants don’t have all the equipment needed to hike and recreate outdoors, so we turn to the OEC closet to find what they need.

We put out a call for gently used boots in the most recent Mono Lake Newsletter and received an awesome response! (more…)

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