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35th year for California Gull study: Research documents changes in gull population and nesting habitat

March 8th, 2018 by Elin, Communications Coordinator

In 2017 Point Blue Conservation Science continued its Mono Lake California Gull monitoring study with the goal of better understanding how the gulls respond to changes in lake conditions over time. Indeed, 2017 was a year of change for both the gulls and this critical long-term study, which is supported by the Mono Lake Committee (read the full report online here).

Approximately 27,000 California Gulls nested on Mono Lake’s islets in 2017, well below the 35-year average of 46,000 nesting adults. Photo courtesy of Kristie Nelson.

Following two years of testing, the nesting gull counts were done using aerial photography instead of the previous method of ground counts. Results indicate that counting nesting gulls from the aerial photographs matched ground count tallies by 96%, and the new survey method is less disruptive to the gulls.

Lowest-ever number of nesting gulls

The population of nesting California Gulls (Larus californicus) in 2017 was the lowest ever recorded at … more »

Reflections on 40 years: A trip in the way-back machine to the early Mono Lake Committee

March 7th, 2018 by Sally, Board of Directors

Half a lifetime for a person, 40 years is negligible for a 760,000-year-old lake. As an old timer (or the “OG”—Original Gangster—as I was recently called by a young staff member), here’s my brief summary of the first four decades of the Mono Lake Committee—our story, as I will someday tell my grandkids.

In the 1970s, only a handful of sightseers, residents, and birdwatchers understood that Mono Lake was declining fast due to excessive creek diversions. In 1976, a dozen undergraduates inventoried the basin to describe a simple but very productive ecosystem that would be lost if it dried up, which it was on track to do.

Mono Lake Committee archive photo.

So our group of shaggy biologists organized a non-profit to use legal, legislative, and educational means specifically to help Mono Lake. Love of the lake overcame our hesitation of things unfamiliar. Why else would we be on the 40th floor of a San Francisco law office building trying to understand the finer points of 501(c)(3) versus 501(c)(4) non-profits in our best no-holes jeans? … more »

We’re hiring: Mono Lake Committee seasonal jobs available

February 21st, 2018 by Elin, Communications Coordinator

If you’ve always wanted to spend a summer at Mono Lake, now is your chance—we still have open seasonal staff positions for summer 2018, including Mono Lake Intern, Canoe Program Coordinator, Outdoor Education Instructor, and Information Center & Bookstore Assistant.

Seasonal staff positions are still available—apply to spend a summer canoeing on Mono Lake with us. Photo by Bartshe Miller.

Summer at Mono Lake is the busiest and most activity-filled season, and seasonal staff jobs include leading interpretive tours, helping visitors in the bookstore, and canoeing on Mono Lake, among many other varied tasks. We accept applications from people of all ages, whether you’re looking for an internship between college semesters, or you’re interested in a post-retirement summer of work.

To apply, please send a cover letter and résumé to Office Director Jessica Horn, either by email or by mail to PO Box 29, Lee Vining, CA 93541.

Save the date: Andrea Lawrence Award Dinner is May 4, 2018

February 20th, 2018 by Lily, Information Center & Bookstore Manager

Save the date! Plan to join the Mono Lake Committee in commemorating Andrea Lawrence and her continuing legacy in the Eastern Sierra with the presentation of the Andrea Lawrence Award celebrating passionate engagement in community and the land.

Andrea Lawrence Award Dinner
5:30pm on Friday, May 4, 2018
Parallax Restaurant, McCoy Station
Mammoth Mountain Ski Area

Take a beautiful gondola ride up to McCoy Station for an evening of delicious food, inspiring company, and exceptional views as well as a celebration of the Andrea Lawrence Award recipient.

Field Seminar registration opens for non-members March 1

February 18th, 2018 by Andrew, Digital Engagement Coordinator

The complete list of all the Mono Lake Committee’s 2018 Field Seminars is online here, and registration opens for those who are not Mono Lake Committee members at 9:00am on Thursday, March 1st.

Learn about the fascinating volcanic history of the Mono Basin with Nora Livingston on a field seminar this summer. Photo courtesy of Andrew Aldrich.

This year’s slate of 40 field seminars spans many topics: basketry, oil painting, mammals, moonlight photography, volcanism, mining history, Basque sheepherders, kayaking, and more. … more »

Tracks in the sand north of Mono Lake

February 16th, 2018 by Nora, Lead Naturalist Guide

Learning about the creatures that share our environment clearly enhances our experiences in the outdoors. It helps us notice more interactions as we explore and often paints a picture of what goes on when we are absent, exhibiting the mystery of life away from human eyes. I recently ventured out into the dunes on the north shore of Mono Lake to brush up on my knowledge of mammal tracks and immerse myself in the world of rabbits, kangaroo rats, and coyotes.

Black-tailed Jackrabbit prints (hopping leftwards). Larger hind prints on the left, smaller staggered fore prints to the right. Photos by Nora Livingston.

A common Mono Basin track is that of the Black-tailed Jackrabbit. These hares inhabit the sagebrush and dunes of the high desert, though they are widespread and found in many other habitats in North America as well. Often you don’t notice them until they shoot out from the next bush over, scaring the daylights out of you, and you just get to see their dark tail disappearing into the maze of brush in an instant. Their tracks are … more »

Wild & Scenic Film Festival LA tickets now on sale!

February 10th, 2018 by Andrew, Digital Engagement Coordinator

Tickets for the annual Wild & Scenic Film Festival in Los Angeles are on sale now! Tickets are just $15 for general admission and half-price for students. For a limited time, you can also use promo code MONOLAKE to save 20% on general admission tickets. We are excited to have screenings at two new venues this year; Monica Film in Santa Monica on Thursday, March 8 from 7:00–9:30pm and the Sierra Madre Playhouse on Saturday, March 10 from 7:00–9:30pm.

This year’s festival features eight short, beautiful films about wilderness, community, belonging, and empowerment through the lens of skiing, mountaineering, climbing, trail running, and more.

Tickets can be purchased here for Santa Monica and here for Sierra Madre or by calling us at (760) 647-6595. For more information, including film lineups and sponsors, check out the Wild & Scenic Film Festival, Los Angeles website. You can also follow the festival on Facebook and Twitter for all the latest news.

All proceeds from the event go to the Mono Lake Committee’s Outdoor Education Center programs that bring students from Los Angeles to the Mono Basin to learn about the source of their water through five days of life changing outdoor experiences.

See you in March!

New gallery show starts in February: “Sierra Twain” by painter Moira Donohoe

January 27th, 2018 by Lily, Information Center & Bookstore Manager

We are thrilled to announce that paintings by Yosemite-based artist Moira Donohoe will be featured in the Mono Lake Committee’s gallery from February 3 through July 2018 in a show entitled “Sierra Twain.”

“A Thousand Island Lake Morning,” courtesy of Moira Donohoe.

Moira grew up and continues to be rooted in Yosemite and the Sierra Nevada, where she specializes in painting her natural surroundings, and draws inspiration from the beautiful mountain environment. Her style emphasizes color—this vibrant show featuring landscapes of the Sierra is not to be missed!

The Mono Lake Committee gallery is currently open from 9:00am to 5:00pm daily, and we hope you’ll stop in and delight in Moira’s work.

Mono Lake Committee Information Center & Bookstore closed January 31

January 26th, 2018 by Lily, Information Center & Bookstore Manager

The Mono Lake Committee Information Center & Bookstore will be closed on Wednesday, January 31 for our annual inventory count.

Lisa and Terry tally squeaky plush birds at last year’s inventory. Photo by Elin Ljung.

We will resume winter hours—9:00am to 5:00pm—on Thursday, February 1. We apologize for any inconvenience, and we hope to see you all after our inventory day is complete!

Volunteer at Mono Lake this coming summer

January 24th, 2018 by Gabrielle, Project Specialist

Each summer, over 70 volunteers each commit to eight hours a month, June through August, speaking with visitors at Mono Lake. These volunteers are the eyes and ears at Mono Lake during the busiest season, and the visitor experience wouldn’t be the same without each volunteer.

Volunteers celebrate their graduation from training last June. Photo by Bartshe Miller.

We are now recruiting volunteers for this coming summer. In addition to roving at the lake, volunteers also assist the Mono Lake Committee with membership mailings, give talks at the Mono Basin Scenic Area Visitor Center patio, pull invasive plant species, and much more.

One of the benefits of volunteering for Mono Lake is the … more »

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