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.

Want to volunteer for Mono Lake? This year is your chance.

This post was written by Jessica Schneider, 2015-2020 Office Director, 2011-2013 Information Center & Bookstore Manager, and 2010 Information Center & Bookstore Assistant.

Mono Lake Tufa State Natural Reserve Park Ranger Dave Marquart teaches volunteers at South Tufa. Photo courtesy of Karen Gardner.

The Mono Lake Volunteers play an increasingly essential role in educating people about Mono Lake. The group, which has grown to more than 60 people of all ages, contributes to visitors’ experiences at South Tufa and the State Reserve boardwalk at County Park. Each summer, volunteers spend thousands of hours in the Eastern Sierra giving Mono Lake tours to summer visitors from all over the world, helping with Mono Lake Committee membership mailings, pulling invasive plant species to help restore Mono Lake’s tributaries, and more.

This year, in an effort to make it easier for new volunteers to join, we have a new training schedule. Training will take place from 9:00am to 4:00pm in a three-day block over one weekend, starting Friday, June 2 with South Tufa roving and natural history of Mono Lake, and culminating in the graduation ceremony on Sunday, June 4 at 4:00pm.

Janet Carle and Karen Gardner staff the Mono Basin National Forest Scenic Area Visitor Center desk. Photo courtesy of Karen Gardner.

Retired State Park Ranger Janet Carle teaches the volunteer training, and with her vast knowledge of the area helps the Mono Lake Volunteers be some of the most knowledgeable people in the basin. During the three-day training, volunteers will learn about the geology of Panum Crater and get introductions to Old Marina, County Park, and the north shore. Volunteers will tour the Mono Lake Committee, the Old Schoolhouse Museum, and the Mono Basin National Forest Scenic Area Visitor Center as well.

The Mono Lake Volunteer graduating class of 2016. Photo courtesy of Karen Gardner.

New volunteers are required to attend all three days of this free training, and are asked to donate roughly eight hours a month to the program, from June through August, on a flexible schedule. Participants must be at least 18 years old, be able to walk short distances, and stand for two hours.

The Mono Lake Volunteer Program is a joint initiative sponsored by California State Parks (the Mono Lake Tufa State Natural Reserve), the US Forest Service, and the Mono Lake Committee, with support from the Eastern Sierra Interpretive Association and the Bodie Foundation. Volunteers have opportunities to work with all of the partners.

Snacks and shade are essential elements of the Mono Lake volunteer training. Thank you to Cathy Foye for always keeping us fed! Photo courtesy of Karen Gardner.

The program would not be possible without the hard work of Karen Gardner, Mono Lake Volunteer Coordinator. We extend a huge thank you for all of the time and work that both Karen and Janet devote to the Mono Lake Volunteers.

If you are interested in volunteering, or for more information, please contact Office Director Jessica Horn at (760) 647-6595.

One comment

  1. julie anne hopkins
    julie anne hopkins

    Hi! I’d like to take the vol training this year. I’ll call Jessica – as instructed above, but also wanted to leave this message. Thanks for all you do!