Sunrise light on a grove of tufa towers emerging from the water of Mono Lake with soft green and dusty-red wild grasses in the foreground, Canada geese in the shallow water with reflections of the rocky towers, and desert hills in the distance.

Mono Lake Committee travels to St. Lucia, South Africa

This afternoon I’m traveling to South Africa to visit one of the lakes in the international Living Lakes network, St. Lucia. Funded by a private grant secured together with the Wildlands Conservation Trust, I am going to St. Lucia in support of connecting people at non-profits–the people who do the on-the-ground work of lake protection around the world. This is both a dream come true and the opportunity of a lifetime. Armed with my trusty notebook I will be posting to The Mono-logue as opportunities arise in the next seven days of work and travel.

When I left Mono Lake it was 19 degrees Fahrenheit–the almost-full moon guiding me over the mountains in the early dawn. There are many things that need doing on my desk back at Mono Lake right now, and it’s hard to tear myself away, but this trip, and this way of connecting lakes-protection work is important for Mono Lake and lakes around the world too.

Bela Fleck just came out with a new album, Throw Down Your Heart, chronicling his five-week tour of Africa in the name of bringing the banjo back to its roots. While he didn’t visit South Africa itself, the album, and accompanying documentary, have been a great inspiration in preparation for the trip. My parents and I even went to see Bela and his brother open the US tour of the documentary in San Francisco before I left. Track #2, Kinetsa, from Madagascar has been my trip preparation soundtrack … if you click the link and turn up the volume you can hear it as you read. I can’t wait to hear some South African music along the way.

I met Charmaine Veldman at a Living Lakes Conference in China in November 2006. She works with the Wildlands Trust on a project called Indigenous Trees For Life, that I think is truly inspirational, and in a lot of ways reminds me of the Mono Lake Committee’s own Outdoor Experiences program. While the two have different aims and activities, they both are the types of programs that connect dots that need connecting and close circles that are missing a piece. I’m really excited to have the opportunity to get out in the field to see that project in action.

And there will be many other pieces too … so check back soon and I’ll keep you posted!