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‘Summer’ Category

Beach Fire ignited by lightning near Mono Lake’s southeast shore

Monday, August 17th, 2020 by Elin, Communications Coordinator

Last night at about 6:30pm lightning ignited the Beach Fire southeast of Mono Lake, which is estimated to be 1,650 acres in size and 20% contained as of this morning, according to the Inyo National Forest. It is being “aggressively suppressed.”

A view of the Beach Fire from Highway 120 East yesterday evening as it flared up, driven by gusty winds from the east. Photo by Santiago Escruceria.

Mono Lake Committee staff who volunteer on the Lee Vining Fire Department were among the first responders to the fire, and staff who live north of Mono Lake got a good view of the plume of smoke with storm clouds to the east of it. (more…)

Mono Lake canoe tour program canceled this year

Thursday, April 30th, 2020 by Rose, Education Director

The Mono Lake Committee’s canoe tours have been a tradition in the Eastern Sierra for more than 35 years. Canoe tours offer a unique, immersive experience where one can weave through the tufa towers, glide among flocks of Wilson’s Phalaropes, and learn the Mono Lake story from trained interpretive guides.

Public canoe tours on Mono Lake will not take place this summer, due to COVID-19 and staffing decisions made because of it. Photo by Andrew Youssef.

Unfortunately, due to COVID-19 and our decision to not bring any seasonal staff to Lee Vining this summer, we must cancel the 2020 canoe tour program.

We will continue to (more…)

No Mono Lake Committee seasonal staff for 2020; summer programs evaluated week by week

Wednesday, April 29th, 2020 by Claire, Office Manager

The Mono Lake Committee has made the difficult decision to not bring any of the summer seasonal staff we had hired to Lee Vining for 2020. Our whole team is disappointed to not be able to share the summer with what promised to be an incredible group of interns, but we all agree that it is the right decision for everyone involved.

The 2019 seasonal staff learning about Mono Lake’s ecology on the south shore last summer. Photo by Alison Kaplan.

Cancellation of the summer hiring does not mean that all summer programs are cancelled, but the uncertainty about when we might be able to offer tours and reopen the bookstore was a major reason for the decision.

Normally our intern training takes two full weeks at the beginning of June, and some of the summer staff arrive much earlier (more…)

This year’s Mono Basin Bird Chautauqua is canceled

Tuesday, April 28th, 2020 by Nora, Lead Naturalist Guide

We are sorry to announce that we must cancel this year’s Mono Basin Bird Chautauqua due to COVID-19.

Red-breasted Nuthatch. Photo by Santiago Escruceria.

The Chautauqua partners are committed to the health and safety of our participants, presenters, staff, and the broader community; therefore, we feel it would be irresponsible to hold an event of this size at this time. Moreover, with Governor Newsom’s stay-at-home order and plans to reopen the state in stages—with large gatherings last on the list—as well as Mono County discouraging visitation to the Eastern Sierra, it’s clear that (more…)

Field seminar adventures: Mono Basin Landscapes & Milky Way Photography

Thursday, September 5th, 2019 by Chloe, Mono Lake Intern

Nature and art go hand-in-hand here at the Mono Lake Committee and one of the best ways to make use of this is through a field seminar, which the Committee hosts throughout the year.

Field seminar participants capture the evening light and the rise of the moon at South Tufa. A reflection of the scene shimmers in the foreground of the photo. Photo courtesy of Jeff Sullivan.

In early August the Mono Basin Landscapes & Milky Way Photography field seminar took place, led by accomplished nature photographer Jeff Sullivan. It was timed to take advantage of the waxing crescent moon and allow for extraordinary astrophotography that highlighted both the shining moon and abundant stars that are visible throughout the Mono Basin. (more…)

Video of migratory phalaropes at Mono Lake

Tuesday, July 23rd, 2019 by Elin, Communications Coordinator

On Saturday morning canoe tour participants were treated to a spectacular show by migratory phalaropes, which are arriving to the lake by the thousands!

Over their four- to six-week stay at Mono Lake, the phalaropes molt into a new set of feathers and double their weight in preparation for their continued migration. From here, they fly 3,000 miles non-stop to South America—an epic journey fueled almost entirely by Mono Lake’s alkali flies and brine shrimp. With just a quick walk down to South Tufa, you too may get a front-row seat to their incredible aerial performance!

Thank you to our friends at New West Studios for generously providing the music in the video.

The sound of the fury

Monday, July 1st, 2019 by Kevin, Information Center & Bookstore Assistant

There are a number of ways to picture from afar the torrent of water heading downhill from the Sierra Nevada toward Mono Lake right now. One is to review data on the rapidly dwindling snowpack at Tioga Pass, some of which is destined for the lake.  Another is to check in on DWP’s real time streamflow monitoring, which quantifies in cubic feet per second how much water the creeks are carrying. And depending on shadows and leaf, it is even possible to glimpse Mill Creek itself from an overhead webcam.

All of these tools provide critical information for the Mono Lake Committee, DWP, and stream scientists. But they also all seem sterile in comparison to actually standing next to a creek flowing at 50, 100, or even 350 cubic feet per second. The reason, I think, is that they have no sound. And to traipse along one of the swollen creeks pouring out of the Sierra and into the Mono Basin this summer is to be awash in sound.

The author recording Lee Vining Creek. Photo by Kevin Brown.

To capture this auditory landscape, I spent a recent morning along the Lee Vining Creek Trail—not a half-mile from the Committee office—with my microphone, headphones, and field recorder. (more…)

It’s the season for interpretive activities at Mono Lake

Sunday, June 30th, 2019 by AnnaLisa, Mono Lake Intern

Summer is a busy time in the Mono Basin, and the birds aren’t the only ones making the most of the warmer temperatures and longer days! Whether it is your first or fiftieth visit to the area, there are a variety of exciting interpretive programs for the whole family available at and near Mono Lake this summer.

Join a 10:00am or 6:00pm free South Tufa tour to learn about Mono Lake from a naturalist guide. Photo by Bartshe Miller.

Gain an understanding of the ecology and history of the lake by stopping by charismatic South Tufa for one of the free, hour-long tours at 10:00am and 6:00pm every day, where you’ll have the hands-on opportunity to get to know the fascinating ecosystem and political history of the lake with the guidance of a naturalist. While the tours are free, South Tufa is (more…)

Genny Smith memorial naturalist hikes

Saturday, June 29th, 2019 by Nora, Lead Naturalist Guide

Join us on July 13 and August 24 for hikes in memory of naturalist Genny Smith. Photo courtesy of Andrew Aldrich.

Genny Smith was the Naturalist Queen of the Eastern Sierra. She wandered many Eastern Sierra trails in search of flowers, birds, mammals, and quiet serenity, and in turn learned about the important interactions between all of the life in these habitats and the ancient geology that sets the stage. These experiences inspired her (more…)

Tioga Pass to open fully on Monday, July 1

Thursday, June 27th, 2019 by Elin, Communications Coordinator

News from Yosemite National Park: Tioga Pass will open fully on Monday, July 1 at 8:00am. Until the full opening on Monday morning vehicular access will continue to be available at 10:00–11:00am and 3:00–4:00pm.

A view of the Tioga Pass area from the slopes of Mt. Dana on June 23, 2019. Photo by Joslyn Rogers.

July 1 is one of the latest dates for Tioga Pass to fully open, and later than in 2017 when the road opened on June 29 with more snow in the high country that year than this year. This is only the fifth time it has opened fully in July since record keeping began in 1933—other July opening dates happened in (more…)

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