Thursday, September 12th, 2019 by Chloe, Mono Lake InterncloseAuthor: Chloe, Mono Lake InternName: Chloe Isaacs Title: Mono Lake Intern About: Born and raised among the quiet forests and rocky shores of Connecticut, Chloe has always felt a deep connection to the natural world around her. This love of nature encouraged her to pursue an undergraduate Geology degree from Oberlin College, during which she spent a semester abroad in New Zealand learning about earth science and environmental policy. In her free time, Chloe can be found reading in a sunny spot by the window, geeking out about cool rocks, or sitting on a beach looking at the ocean with her camera by her side.See All Posts by Chloe (4) Contact Chloe
It’s that time of year again! Fall is nearly upon us and that means some changes are happening here at Mono Lake. Not only are fall colors beginning to appear in the Eastern Sierra and temperatures are dropping to near freezing at night, but the Mono Lake Committee will soon be transitioning to fall hours.
A few seasonal staff will remain for the next couple of weeks and all of the usual friendly faces will stay here year-round. We are always happy to answer any questions you may have, play the Mono Lake Story film in the gallery, or help you pick out a new book to read. Whether you are visiting Lee Vining for a few days or just driving through, feel free to stop by and say hello!
Friday, September 6th, 2019 by Kevin, Information Center & Bookstore AssistantcloseAuthor: Kevin, Information Center & Bookstore AssistantName: Kevin Brown Title: Information Center & Bookstore Assistant About: Kevin lived in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, New York, and Qatar before finding his way to California. He spent the last several years working on a book about how an endangered desert fish managed to survive a tumultuous twentieth century in Death Valley National Park. He is excited to spend the summer in the Eastern Sierra!See All Posts by Kevin (3) Contact Kevin
Twenty thousand years ago, a glacier churned down Lee Vining Canyon. Hundreds of feet thick at the top of the canyon, the glacier reached its maximum extent at the site of what is now the US Forest Service ranger station, just west of Lee Vining.
It is now easier to picture this arm of what scientists call the Tioga glaciation thanks to a new US Geological Survey map showing its extent throughout the Yosemite region. Greg Stock, geologist for Yosemite National Park and one of the map’s authors, spoke at the Mono Lake Committee last month. To a packed room, he described the jumble of moraines, boulders, and rock striations that he and his colleagues deciphered to build the map.
The USGS’s new map, released this summer, shows the extent of the Tioga glaciation in the vicinity of Yosemite National Park. This corner of the map shows a glacier flowing down Lee Vining Canyon toward ancestral Mono Lake (Lake Russell). Image courtesy of the USGS.
But this latest map is based on more than work by Stock and his colleagues. It also draws on the efforts of an earlier generation of scientists. In other words, just as the Tioga glaciation isn’t the only glacial period in the Sierra Nevada’s past, the 2019 map is not the first map of the Tioga glaciation in the park. (more…)
Thursday, September 5th, 2019 by Chloe, Mono Lake InterncloseAuthor: Chloe, Mono Lake InternName: Chloe Isaacs Title: Mono Lake Intern About: Born and raised among the quiet forests and rocky shores of Connecticut, Chloe has always felt a deep connection to the natural world around her. This love of nature encouraged her to pursue an undergraduate Geology degree from Oberlin College, during which she spent a semester abroad in New Zealand learning about earth science and environmental policy. In her free time, Chloe can be found reading in a sunny spot by the window, geeking out about cool rocks, or sitting on a beach looking at the ocean with her camera by her side.See All Posts by Chloe (4) Contact Chloe
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…)
Sunday, September 1st, 2019 by Meghan, Mono Lake InterncloseAuthor: Meghan, Mono Lake InternName: Meghan Cihasky Title: Mono Lake Intern About: Originally from Chippewa Falls, WI, Meghan moved to Monterey, CA to seek new adventures. She quickly became enthralled with the Sierra after a few backpacking trips spent among spectacular trees, alpine lakes, and peaks. She attended the University of Minnesota at Duluth to pursue Environmental Science, then spent a semester abroad in New Zealand, traveling and studying the diverse culture and environment. Now, she is looking forward to spending her summer in the Mono Basin, trail running, backpacking and sharing her passion for the outdoors.See All Posts by Meghan (3) Contact Meghan
As the heat of the summer simmers downand thephalaropes head south, runners will be lining up on Sunday, September 8 outside the Mono Lake Committee Information Center & Bookstorefor the 39th annual Tioga Pass Run.
With the Dana Plateau towering above, athletes head uphill during the Tioga Pass Run. Photo by Bartshe Miller.
This 12.4–mile run goes up the shoulder of scenic Highway 120 West and finishes at the eastern entrance of Yosemite National Park.Ascending over 3,000 feet, it’s a challenge that’s worth the effort—athletes arerewarded with lunch at the Whoa Nellie Deli and the bragging rights of completing this hefty task.(more…)
Tuesday, August 27th, 2019 by Alison, Canoe CoordinatorcloseAuthor: Alison, Canoe CoordinatorName: Alison Kaplan Title: Canoe Coordinator About: Alison first moved to Yosemite in the summer of 2014, after which she almost quit college multiple times because she could hardly bear to leave the Sierra each fall. Since graduating with an English degree, she has worked a variety of seasonal jobs and spent her free time climbing. She joined the Committee as the Canoe Coordinator last summer and knew after the first canoe tour that it was the greatest summer job ever. She returned to her hometown for the winter to do restoration work for the Land Conservancy of San Luis Obispo County. She's excited to be back this summer, sharing her love of Mono Lake with visitors.See All Posts by Alison (6) Contact Alison
One of the perks of working as the Canoe Coordinator for the Mono Lake Committee is that I get to closely observe the nesting osprey at Mono Lake. Just like me, the osprey usually arrive at Mono Lake in late spring. Canoe tours don’t start until mid-June each summer, so for the first month I only observed the birds from the shore at South Tufa.
A canoe tour paddles past Pirate Ship Tufa on a calm morning. Photo by Andrew Youssef.
Once canoe tours start, though, I have the unique opportunity to see these birds from the water. There are approximately 16 pairs of nesting osprey at Mono Lake, all of which nest on the tufa islands, and humans must stay at least 250 yards away from the nests at all times. The only exception to this rule is (more…)
Tuesday, July 23rd, 2019 by Elin, Communications CoordinatorcloseAuthor: Elin, Communications CoordinatorName: Elin Ljung Title: Communications Coordinator About: Elin's job consists of some of her favorite things: finding typos, experimenting with layouts, and figuring out how best to communicate the Committee's work to the world. She also oversees the Field Seminar program. Elin grew up in on California's Central Coast dreaming of the two weeks each summer that her family would spend in the Eastern Sierra, and as soon as she graduated from St. Olaf College in 2005 she moved to Mono Lake full-time. She prefers to travel at high speed on either telemark skis or a mountain bike, or be completely still, immersed in a good book.See All Posts by Elin (340) Contact Elin
On Saturday morning canoe tour participants were treated to a spectacular show by migratoryphalaropes, 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.
Monday, July 8th, 2019 by Robbie, Restoration Field TechniciancloseAuthor: Robbie, Restoration Field TechnicianName: Robert Di Paolo Title: Restoration Field Technician About: Robbie grew up in San Francisco and received his BS in Environmental Science from Humboldt State University. He first heard about Mono Lake in an environmental policy class, became a Mono Lake Intern in the summer of 2014, and hasn't left since! He is now responsible for monitoring Mono Lake's tributary streams, measuring the level of Mono Lake, coordinating annual aerial Eared Grebe surveys, leading the invasive plant removal program, and assisting with any additional restoration programs in the Mono Basin. In his free time you might find him fishing, hiking, skiing, or playing board games.See All Posts by Robert (43) Contact Robert
Last month we measured Mono Lake’s level as 6382.2 feet above sea level on June 3. This month we measured 6382.7 feet, an impressive half-foot rise. This falls right in line with our “likely range” forecast, with more lake rise to come in July.
A Mono Basin Outdoor Education Center group from Los Angeles touches the lake water at South Tufa. Mono Lake is expected to rise another foot this year. Photo by Miranda Norlin.
Be sure to check back with us in August—hopefully Mono Lake will rise past the 6383-foot threshold.
Monday, July 1st, 2019 by Kevin, Information Center & Bookstore AssistantcloseAuthor: Kevin, Information Center & Bookstore AssistantName: Kevin Brown Title: Information Center & Bookstore Assistant About: Kevin lived in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, New York, and Qatar before finding his way to California. He spent the last several years working on a book about how an endangered desert fish managed to survive a tumultuous twentieth century in Death Valley National Park. He is excited to spend the summer in the Eastern Sierra!See All Posts by Kevin (3) Contact Kevin
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…)
Sunday, June 30th, 2019 by AnnaLisa, Mono Lake InterncloseAuthor: AnnaLisa, Mono Lake InternName: AnnaLisa Mayer Title: Mono Lake Intern About: Raised amid Barred Owl voices and whispering beech leaves in Vermont's Green Mountains, AnnaLisa first came to the Mono Basin in 2016. Falling in love with the expansiveness of the West, she has since spent nearly 200 days immersed in California and Arizona's diverse backcountry. A naturalist at heart, AnnaLisa studied Ecology and Environmental Humanities at Sterling College in Craftsbury Common, VT. When not poking around in the depths of tiny flowers, she can be found making things with her hands, chasing crescent moons, and playing fiddle for the clouds.See All Posts by AnnaLisa (3) Contact AnnaLisa
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…)
Saturday, June 29th, 2019 by Nora, Lead Naturalist GuidecloseAuthor: Nora, Lead Naturalist GuideName: Nora Livingston Title: Lead Naturalist Guide About: Nora is a passionate naturalist who got her interpretive start as a Mono Lake Intern in 2008 and went on to seven years of seasonal ornithologist work in the most beautiful corners of California and beyond. She has since led many popular birding field trips for the Mono Basin Bird Chautauqua. It is her utmost joy to share her love of birds and nature with anyone and everyone to help foster a deeper respect for this unique planet.See All Posts by Nora (38) Contact Nora
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…)