Green grass with fluffy seed heads lines the shore of a lake, tufa formations are in the water offshore.

Tag: natural history

A person stands holding a small yellow flower and is inspecting it closely, two other people flank them looking on, behind the people is a field of of green shrubs with swaths of yellow flowers.

Natural History at the Edge of the Sierra

The Natural History Institute defines natural history as the “…practice of intentional, focused attentiveness and receptivity to the more-than-human world, guided by honesty and accuracy.” Rather than focusing on one specific aspect of a singular creature of interest, natural history…

Free summer activities at Mono Lake

Summertime in the Mono Basin may just be the most magical time in this strikingly special place. Bright days in the sun, still calm clear water, warm starry nights. It’s a perfect time to make the most of these long…
Mono Lake Committee staffer standing with their back to Mono Lake talking to a tour group, tufa and scattered clouds are in the background.

South Tufa tours offered daily

The Mono Lake Committee continues our decades-long tradition of offering South Tufa tours this summer! Join us on your next trip to Mono Lake where a guide will introduce to you to the natural and human history of the Mono Basin. You’ll explore the fascinating geology of the…
Six kids swimming in Mono Lake, with one kid floating on their back with goggles on, while surrounded by tufa rocks and with tufa towers in the distance.

8: The future of Mono Lake

“When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the universe.” John Muir Everyone benefits when there is water in Mono Lake—from Los Angeles residents who rely on Mono Basin streams for some…
Hundreds of small shorbirds bathed in golden light, in flight, on the shore, and in the water at Mono Lake in front of tufa towers.

7: The birds of Mono Lake

The Mono Basin is an oasis for hundreds of species of birds, many of which rely exclusively on alkali flies and brine shrimp for sustenance. The lake is critical habitat for California Gulls, Eared Grebes, and phalaropes. Learn more about…
Hundreds or alkali flies take flight from pupa.

6: A buffet of flies and shrimp

Mono Lake is like an all-you-can-eat buffet of flies and shrimp for the millions of birds that come here. Alkali Flies As you walk along the shore, you may notice swarms of alkali flies buzzing about, but don’t worry, these…
Yellow fog rises from Mono Lake, obscuring the darkened tufa towers.

5: Mono Lake’s unique water

Have you ever gone for a swim in Mono Lake? The lake is 2.5 times saltier than the ocean so you can easily kick back and float in the water. But why is this a salt-water lake? Because Mono does not…
Shoreline of Mono Lake looking west towards the Sierra Nevada with tufa towers reflecting on the glassy lake and the sky is pink, purple, and blue.

3: Tufa

Examine the tufa in front of you. What does it remind you of? What does it feel like? Tufa—from the Latin tōphus, meaning “porous rock”—forms underwater. Underneath the lake there are fractures which allow calcium-rich spring water to seep through the…