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‘Staff Musings’ Category

Birding Mono Lake: A Big Day in May

Thursday, May 28th, 2020 by Nora, Lead Naturalist Guide

On May 9, to celebrate World Migratory Bird Day and eBird’s Global Big Day, my partner Kevin and I set out to see as many bird species as possible within a 5 miles radius (5MR) of the Mono Lake Committee office while contributing to the eBird Global Big Day citizen science project. Last year, I saw 76 species in my 5MR and my goal was to break 80 this year. Though the species count is a motivator, the birds are the prize! We had an amazing day. I have linked the eBird Checklists to each location I mention, so you can see what we were seeing and hearing.

A map of the 5MR. It includes many prime birding spots! Photo from Google Maps.

We started at 5:00am, hearing the pre-dawn crooning of American Robins and House Wrens. Then we drove up Lee Vining Canyon for the dawn chorus. I had been keeping track of the returning migrants diligently, but this week was bursting with new (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…)

Happy holidays from the Mono Lake Committee

Wednesday, December 25th, 2019 by Arya, Communications Director

Wishing you joy and peace this holiday season.

Photos courtesy of Rick Kattelmann, Robb Hirsch, David Carle, and Nora Livingston.

Join us for a snowy sunrise at Mono Lake for Giving Tuesday

Monday, December 2nd, 2019 by Arya, Communications Director

Join us for a snowy sunrise at Mono Lake for Giving Tuesday

It is snowing once again here at Mono Lake! When the snow comes we breathe a sigh of relief since every drop helps us reach a higher lake level and a healthier lake.

We are continuing our Giving Tuesday tradition of bringing you a Mono Lake sunrise, live from the shoreline. We hope you’ll join us at 6:30am tomorrow for the show.

It has been an exciting year at Mono Lake (more…)

We are thankful for your support

Thursday, November 28th, 2019 by Elin, Communications Coordinator

Mono Lake on a bright fall day. Photo by Andrew Youssef.

On Thanksgiving Day, we are thankful for your faithful support shown in so many ways: visits to our Lee Vining headquarters, emails asking about our work, purchases in the bookstore, views of our website, phone calls from far away, Facebook and Twitter comments, Instagram photos, generous donations, and most of all—your love for Mono Lake. Thank you and happy Thanksgiving.

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…)

Uncovering the hidden geologic history of the Mono Basin

Wednesday, July 17th, 2019 by Caroline Bottega

On a bright Sunday morning, perched atop an ancient glacial moraine in lower Lundy Canyon, I had the opportunity to see the Mono Lake landscape through a geologist’s eyes.

Guleed Ali points out glacial features in lower Lundy Canyon. Photo by Caroline Bottega.

Armed with topographic maps, Guleed Ali, Research Fellow at the Earth Observatory of Singapore and friendly face around the field station, began to build the story of Mono Lake and its relationship to the glacier that once sculpted the canyon. (more…)

You don’t need to be a weatherman … but it helps

Tuesday, July 16th, 2019 by Kevin, Information Center & Bookstore Assistant

April 16, 1988 will never share a place of honor alongside key moments in the Mono Lake Committee’s history—such as the date of the California Supreme Court’s public trust ruling (February 17, 1983) or State Water Board Decision 1631 (September 28, 1994). Yet this early spring day 31 years ago represents an important, if little known moment: on that Saturday the Committee started keeping track of the weather.

The first monthly data sheet collected by the Mono Lake Committee in April 1988. Photo courtesy of NOAA.

Recording a maximum temperature of 48°F, a minimum of 36°F, and no precipitation, this information formed the first set of observations submitted from the Lee Vining Station to the Cooperative Observer Program at the National Weather Service. (more…)

Summer 2019 Mono Lake Committee staff migrations

Friday, May 31st, 2019 by Jessica, Office Director

The 2018 Mono Lake Committee staff; 2019 staff arrive today! Photo by Elin Ljung.

Incoming seasonal staff are like spring flows in the creeks, bringing excitement, growth, and renewal to the whole Mono Basin. Without them, our extensive education programs at the lake and in the Information Center & Bookstore would be nearly impossible, and their zest for all things Mono Lake reminds us why we are all here.

We have two staff returning this year. Ava Stavros is back for her third year as an Outdoor Education Instructor after a winter working at The Lift café, a new woman-owned business in June Lake. Alison Kaplan will once again be leading weekend tours as the Canoe Coordinator after working for the Land Conservancy of San Luis Obispo County over the winter.

Information Center & Bookstore Assistant Kevin Brown has a wealth of retail experience in addition to experience as (more…)

Birds galore in the Mono Basin

Thursday, May 9th, 2019 by Nora, Lead Naturalist Guide

On Saturday, May 4, I participated in the eBird Global Big Day, which encourages birders around the world to contribute to citizen science efforts by birding and entering checklists into eBird on a single day.

Green-tailed Towhee singing from a pinyon pine. Photo by Nora Livingston.

I decided to use this Big Day as a chance to scout my local hotspots and catch up with migration. In the past two weeks, neotropical migrants have been moving north to their breeding grounds, so there have been new species arriving daily. As the (more…)

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