Seasonal staff with Mono Lake in the distance.

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

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.

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—the first was scheduled to arrive in just a couple of weeks. Because the State of California and Mono County still have safer-at-home orders in place—and there is currently no timeline regarding when they may be eased—it is unrealistic to expect that summer staff would be able to travel safely to Lee Vining and that the training could happen as scheduled. We could have postponed the decision and revisited the issue after a couple more weeks, but fairness, transparency, and compassion to the people we had hired called for clarity sooner rather than later.

The Mono Lake Committee Information Center & Bookstore remains closed for the foreseeable future, and we are making decisions about events, tours, field seminars, and the like on a weekly basis. For now, we have canceled everything through mid-June, including the Mono Basin Bird Chautauqua.

We sincerely hope to be able to greet old friends and new visitors in the Mono Basin later in the year. It’s just not the same here without all of you! We are thinking creatively and evaluating all the possibilities for offering summer programming in the safest, healthiest, and most fun ways we can. Until then, we are working from home on behalf of Mono Lake. To get a dose of the Mono Basin while you are home be sure to check out the fantastic Mono Lake Moments video series being put together by Nora, Rose, and Andrew. And as always, we welcome your phone calls, emails, and letters.

Top photo by Elin Ljung.