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Refreshing ‘Ologists: Insects & conservation with Kristie Nelson

Sunday, September 2nd, 2018 by Joslyn, Mono Lake Intern
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Join us on Wednesday, September 5 at 4:00pm in the Mono Lake Committee gallery for this week’s Refreshments with Refreshing ‘Ologists presentation. Kristie Nelson, Lead Scientist for Point Blue Conservation Science, will be here to discuss insects and their ability to conserve the planet.

A wasp and a Sierra Blue butterfly pollinating. Photo courtesy of Kristie Nelson.

Insects comprise over 80% of Earth’s organisms, yet relatively few people pay attention to them, and declining populations or localized extinctions risk not being noticed. For example (more…)

Fall hours at the Mono Lake Committee Information Center & Bookstore

Saturday, September 1st, 2018 by Joslyn, Mono Lake Intern
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September has crept up on us again! Interns are migrating from Lee Vining back to school while the days become shorter and markedly more chilly.

With that comes a change in store hours at the Mono Lake Committee Information Center & Bookstore. Starting on Tuesday, September 4 we’ll be open from 9:00am to 7:00pm. Not to worry—as always, we’re open seven days a week.

A couple of interns and seasonal staff remain, eager to answer your questions, play the Mono Lake Story movie in our gallery and help you make your purchases. Please stop by if you are passing through Lee Vining—we’d love to see you!

The story of the Pioneer Solar Pavilion

Wednesday, August 29th, 2018 by Janet, Volunteer Coordinator
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“Once upon a time, in a little mountain town on the edge of a big blue lake, a small group of people wanted to do something. They noticed that winter snows were less deep, and summer days were drier and hotter with forest fire smoke in the air. The group wanted to protect their beautiful lake, which depended on the snow to stay healthy.

“So the group decided to build a beautiful pavilion with a roof of solar panels, based on an idea from a town across the sea, to showcase how it is possible to have clean energy. It was a wonderful plan, but there was no money or knowledge to build something so grand.”

This is the beginning of the story of the Pioneer Solar Pavilion that was dedicated on Saturday, August 25, 2018 at Hess Park in Lee Vining.

Lee Vining’s Pioneer Solar Pavilion is a community-built gathering space that provides shade, electricity, wi-fi, shelter from wind, and information about local pioneer families. Photo by Elin Ljung.

The rest of the story is this: (more…)

Learn about the hot topic of wildfire in the Fire Ecology of the Eastern Sierra field seminar

Monday, August 27th, 2018 by Eric, Mono Lake Intern
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If you’ve ever wanted to know more about the role of fire in California, our upcoming field seminar, Fire Ecology of the Eastern Sierra, is the place to jump in. After a summer when wildfires have made news all over California and the western US, spend September 15–16, 2018 in the field with fire expert Malcolm North to learn about this powerful force. Sign up here.

The Marina Fire burns on the west side of Mono Lake in June 2016. The site of the Marina Fire will be one of the stops in this seminar. Photo by Santiago Escruceria.

It has been a hot summer for wildfires in California, and while fires are vital to maintaining healthy forests in much of the western US, many modern fires burn differently than the fires forests evolved with. What is the current wildfire situation (more…)

Mono Lake volunteer spotlight: Joy Costello

Sunday, August 26th, 2018 by Anna, Mono Lake Intern
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Originally from San Antonio, Texas, volunteer Joy Costello has found home in the Mono Basin. She moved to Bridgeport in 2013 and discovered Mono Lake soon after: “Mono Lake was one of the coolest things. I knew I wanted to be around it more and learn more about it.”

Joy helping remove invasive white sweet clover in the Mono Basin at a restoration event. Photo by Nigel Bates.

One of her favorite early memories of the lake is when she saw a nest of Great Horned Owls on a canoe tour. She enjoys watching all the animals at the lake, especially the California Gulls eating the alkali flies. As a lover of animals and the environment, becoming a Mono Lake Volunteer was a natural next step for Joy. (more…)

Successful invasive sweet clover removal at Mono Lake

Thursday, August 23rd, 2018 by Nigel, Birding Intern
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This summer, Mono Lake Committee staff, volunteers, and guest naturalists made substantial progress toward removing invasive white sweet clover (Melilotus albus) from the Old Marina area. This annual project is a crucial piece of the Committee’s mission to restore native habitats throughout the Mono Basin.

Volunteers Joy and Maddog add to the growing pile of pulled sweet clover. Photo by Nigel Bates.

Sweet clover can quickly overtake an ecosystem if it is not held in check, so our yearly invasive removal events are critical to maintaining the biodiversity of the area. Over the course of two mornings, we removed 199.75 pounds of sweet clover! This marked one of our most efficient summers ever, with each participant pulling an average of 17 pounds. Thanks to all of our volunteers for their hard work and good spirits.

As we pulled sweet clover, we were treated to informal lectures by our guest naturalists (more…)

“The Longest Straw” documentary showing at the Mono Lake Committee

Tuesday, August 21st, 2018 by Joslyn, Mono Lake Intern
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The Mono Lake Committee will be hosting another screening of the documentary The Longest Straw, this Friday, August 24 at 7:00pm in the Mono Lake Committee gallery.

The Longest Straw follows director Samantha Bode as she backpacks the 338-mile-long stretch of the Los Angeles Aqueduct. During her journey she speaks with community leaders, advocates, and the Los Angeles Department of Water & Power. She finishes her 65-day hike at the source of Los Angeles’ water supply in the Mono Basin. Samantha’s experience provides insights into the effects of importing water on the surrounding communities and ecology.

Join us this Friday for the free screening. Light snacks and refreshments will be provided. Please contact me by email or at (760) 647-6595 with any questions.

Mono Lake volunteer spotlight: April Sall

Monday, August 20th, 2018 by Anna, Mono Lake Intern
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Although new to the Mono Lake Volunteer program, April Sall is no stranger to environmental advocacy. Originally from the California desert, she worked as a biologist for the National Park Service in Joshua Tree National Park before moving to the Eastern Sierra two years ago.

April enjoys spending time outside with her dog. Photo courtesy of the Bodie Hills Conservation Partnership.

She is currently the director of the Bodie Hills Conservation Partnership; a non-profit that works to preserve and protect the Bodie Hills. Her main objective right now is to secure permanent protection for the area that is currently undesignated BLM land and Wilderness Study Areas. April manages and (more…)

Refreshing’ Ologists: Mono Basin glaciers with Jace Shuler

Saturday, August 18th, 2018 by Joslyn, Mono Lake Intern
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Join us on Wednesday, August 22 at 4:00pm in the Mono Lake Committee gallery for this week’s Refreshments with Refreshing ‘Ologists presentation. Jace Shuler will be presenting his findings from his undergraduate research project on glaciers in the Mono Basin.

Changes in the Kuna glacier (left) and the Koip glacier (right) between 1985 (top) and 2014 (bottom). Photos courtesy of Jace Shuler.

Jace will discuss the status of the four glaciers in the Mono Basin—Conness, Dana, Kuna, and Koip glaciers. He has been using Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and aerial photos to examine how the surface area of the glaciers has changed since 1951, as well as working on how we can use the same tools to forecast the glaciers’ future. It’s important to educate both the public and policymakers about the effects of climate change on the Mono Basin, and Jace’s work contributes to that effort.

Celebrate clean air with a discount on Mono Lake canoe tours

Friday, August 17th, 2018 by Alison, Canoe Coordinator
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The Ferguson Fire, which started burning on July 13, 2018 near the western edge of Yosemite National Park, is finally nearing full containment after over a month of hard work by firefighters and response crews. Yosemite Valley was closed for almost two weeks due to road closures and hazardous air quality, but the valley has officially reopened to the public. While the Ferguson Fire is still burning, it is 87% contained as of August 17 and air quality within the park as well as in the surrounding gateway communities has improved drastically.

Anna, Mono Lake Intern, prepares to lead a smoky canoe tour on Mono Lake. Photo by Alison Kaplan.

Here at the Mono Lake Committee we were lucky to have clean enough air in the mornings to run all of our scheduled canoe tours despite the generally poor air quality, but visibility was low and views of the surrounding mountains were scarce. (more…)

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