Field Seminar instructors


Field Seminar instructors

The Mono Lake Committee works with field leaders who have received high ratings from participants.

Many instructors have been leading Field Seminars for more than a decade, and are experts in more than one field of study. All are enthusiastic, approachable teachers—their passion for the Mono Basin is infectious!


  • Joe Decker
    1. Joe Decker Joe Decker is a photographer whose work has been widely exhibited across the United States, from the San Diego Museum of Natural History to the Smithsonian, as well as having been recognized with residencies as diverse as Arizona, Iceland and Antarctica. Joe has led numerous workshops in the western United States, and has studied with master nature photographers Galen Rowell and Frans Lanting. Take a seminar with Joe:
      Mono Lake by Moonlight • January 18–20
      Winter Starry Skies Over Mono Lake • February 1–3

  • Terri Geissinger
    1. Terri GeissingerTerri Geissinger is a Bodie Foundation historian and guide. She is active in the Mono Basin Historical Society, and has been interviewing the last surviving residents of Bodie to collect their stories and memories before they are lost. Terri has a talent for making history come alive—participants return to take her seminars many times because of her enthusiasm and commitment to mining and pioneer history in Bodie, Aurora, and the Mono Basin. Take a seminar with Terri:
      Visions of the Past: Sierra Gold, Aurora Silver • June 1–2

  • David Gubernick
    1. David GubernickDavid Gubernick is a nationally published and award-winning nature photographer and workshop leader. Some of his exhibition prints can be seen at Gallery Sur in Carmel and the Ventana Inn & Spa in Big Sur. He provides fine art prints and stock images for the advertising, corporate, editorial, and home décor markets. His first photography book, Wildflowers of Monterey County, was published in 2002 to rave reviews. Take a seminar with David:
      Mono Basin & Bodie Photography • June 21–23
      The Art of Wildflower Macrophotography • July 26–28

  • Nancy Hadlock
    1. Nancy HadlockNancy Hadlock was a naturalist, interpreter, and educator for the National Park Service and US Forest Service for over 30 years. She has also been studying Basque culture for many years, taking classes at the University of Nevada's Basque Study Center. She and her husband Richard Potashin claim to have the largest Basque resource library in the Eastern Sierra. Take a seminar with Nancy:
      Arborglyphs & Aspen Natural History • October 5–6

  • John Harris
    1. John HarrisJohn Harris was a Professor of Biology at Mills College before retiring recently. His interest in Mono's mammals began in 1975 while working as an undergraduate assistant in a study of chipmunks. He went on to study small mammals on Mono Lake's dunes as a graduate student and has worked on small mammals in the Sierra Nevada, San Joaquin Valley, and Mojave Desert of California. Take a seminar with John:
      Mono Basin Mammals • July 19–21

  • Hannah Hinchman
    1. Hannah HinchmanHannah Hinchman has written and taught on the subject of illuminated field journals since the mid-1980s. Her book, A Trail Through Leaves: The Journal as a Path to Place, is used as a text in environmental studies programs. Her visual journal about Montana's Rocky Mountain Front, Little Things in a Big Country, won the Mountains & Plains Booksellers Award in 2005. Take a seminar with Hannah:
      Creating the Illuminated Field Journal • September 6–8

  • Robb Hirsch
    1. Robb HirschRobb Hirsch is a biologist/naturalist turned professional photographer based in Groveland, California, just outside Yosemite. His images have appeared in numerous publications, including Nature's Best, Sierra Club, and Mono Lake Committee calendars, and several textbooks. He maintains his gallery, Mountain Sage, in Groveland and has been invited to several other gallery showings of his work. Robb's images are known for their compelling compositions, attention to detail and fine light. As a past naturalist and educator, Robb brings a positive and engaging teaching style to his workshops. Take a seminar with Robb:
      Mono Basin Fall Photography • October 11–13

  • Ursula Jones
    1. Ursula JonesUrsula Jones, daughter of Lucy Parker and granddaughter of Julia Parker, is carrying basket weaving traditions forward into the next generation. Ursula went with her grandmother to the Yosemite museum and learned to weave there, the same way her mother did. Her own daughter, Naomi, is now learning the weaving traditions in turn. Take a seminar with Ursula:
      Miwok-Paiute Basketry • August 23–25

  • Nora Livingston
    1. Nora LivingstonNora Livingston is the Mono Lake Committee's Lead Naturalist Guide. She has spent a decade birding the Mono Basin, is an expert on Mono Basin birding locations, and holds the Mono County Big Day record after seeing 153 species on July 26, 2011. Nora has worked as a field biologist on the Channel Islands, the Farallon Islands, and in the Eastern Sierra, and also studied trees in the species-rich Appalachian Mountains. Take a seminar with Nora:
      The Season Seldom Seen: Winter Ecology of the Mono Basin • February 9
      Birding Mono Basin Hotspots
      • May 31
      Breeding Birds of the Mono Basin • June 1
      Twilight Birding & Owling • June 2
      Wildflower Waltz • July 5
      Mono Basin Big Day Birding • July 6
      Birding the White Mountains • July 12
      Full Moon Hike • July 16
      Wildflower Waltz • July 18
      Mining the Past through Binoculars • August 10
      Birding the White Mountains • August 30
      Volcanism of the Mono Basin • August 31
      A Long Journey: Shorebird Migration • September 1
      Mono Basin Tree Identification • September 13
      Fall Color Foray • October 4
      Fall Color Foray • October 11

  • Bartshe Miller
    1. Bartshe MillerBartshe Miller is Education Director at the Mono Lake Committee, where he oversees the Mono Basin Outdoor Education Center program, canoe program, interpretive programs, and oversees the Mono Basin Field Station operations too. He's often out in the field sharing Mono Lake with students and visitors. He has lived in the Mono Basin for over 20 years, and subsequently no longer has space or money for more field guides or natural history books. Take a seminar with Bartshe:
      Los Angeles Aqueduct Tour • September 20

  • Kristie Nelson
    1. Kristie NelsonKristie Nelson has had a love for the outdoors since she was a tiny child. As a lifelong serious birder, discovering the world of butterflies of the local area has been life-changing for her. She has conducted ornithological fieldwork throughout much of the state and has been the project leader for California Gull research at Mono Lake since 2005. When not engaged in butterflying or birding, she is busy running a small diversified farm in the Mono Basin with her husband Joel. Take a seminar with Kristie:
      Butterflies of the Mono Basin & Sierra Nevada • July 13–14

  • Malcolm North
    1. Malcolm North Malcolm North is a research scientist in the Forest Service's Pacific Southwest Research Station and a professor in the Department of Plant Sciences, UC Davis. He has a master's degree (Yale University) and a PhD (University of Washington) in forest ecology. Malcolm has studied Sierra Nevada forests for more than 20 years, authored or co-authored over 150 papers, and worked extensively with forest managers to apply research findings. Take a seminar with Malcolm:
      Fire Ecology of the Eastern Sierra • September 14–15

  • Penny Otwell
    1. Penny OtwellPenny Otwell paints full-time in oil, acrylic, and watercolor, often en plein air in Yosemite National Park. A self-taught painter, she aims to "capture the natural rhythm found in mountains, rivers, lakes, and canyons." Penny has taught workshops in Yosemite at the Ansel Adams Gallery, Yosemite Art Center, and Parsons Memorial Lodge and her work has been exhibited in galleries all over California. Take a seminar with Penny:
      En Plein Air at Mono Lake: Beginning Oil Painting • August 9–11

  • Julia Parker
    1. Julia ParkerJulia Parker has dedicated her life to learning and teaching basketry as well as continuing the traditions of her people. She is one of the famous basket weavers of California, and the only weaver still practicing who was taught by women who wove in the early 20th century. Julia retired after 68 years as a cultural demonstrator in Yosemite National Park, and was named as a National Heritage Fellow by the National Endowment for the Arts in 2007. Take a seminar with Julia:
      Miwok-Paiute Basketry • August 23–25

  • Lucy Parker
    1. Lucy Parker Lucy Parker is Julia Parker's daughter, and is a descendant of the Yosemite Miwok, Mono Lake Kutzadika'a, and Kayasha Pomo peoples. She learned traditional handiwork from her mother, a master basket weaver, and passes on some of her knowledge in classes for the Mono Lake Committee, Yosemite Conservancy, Point Reyes Field Seminars, and many other venues around California. Take a seminar with Lucy:
      Miwok-Paiute Basketry • August 23–25

  • Richard Potashin
    1. Richard PotashinRichard Potashin, aka "Alkali Aspenowza," is a longtime Eastern Sierra resident and past Mono Lake Committee intern and canoe guide who has been discovering and documenting aspen carvings for many years. He and his wife Nancy Hadlock claim to have the largest Basque resource library in the Eastern Sierra. Take a seminar with Richard:
      Arborglyphs & Aspen Natural History • October 5–6

  • Ane Carla Rovetta
    1. Ane Carla RovettaAne Carla Rovetta is a landscape painter known for her realistic depiction of our golden western lands. Her formal training was as a zoologist, and like the artisans of the European Renaissance, she is committed to the practice of art and science as kindred disciplines. Ane Carla has spent most of her adult life unifying the two in paintings, handmade art materials, and lively public performances. Her enthusiasm, humor, and care with her students bring many participants back for more of her classes. Take a seminar with Ane Carla:
      Capturing the Mono Basin in Pastel • June 28–30

  • Dave Shuford
    1. Dave Shuford Dave Shuford is an expert birder, avid naturalist and teacher, and a full-time ornithologist with Point Blue Conservation Science. Dave's bird research has included over 15 years studying the ecology of Mono Lake's California Gull colony and five years compiling an atlas of breeding birds in the Glass Mountain area. He regularly teaches classes with the Mono Lake Committee and at the Sierra Nevada Field Campus at Yuba Pass. Take a seminar with Dave:
      Falling for the Migration: Bridgeport Valley & Mono Basin • August 15–16
      Falling for the Migration: Crowley, Mammoth, Mono • August 17–18

  • Steve Shunk
    1. Steve Shunk Steve Shunk started birding in the San Francisco Bay Area in 1989 and moved to Sisters, Oregon, in 1997, where he has studied the ecology of western forests for the last 16 years. Steve co-founded the East Cascades Bird Conservancy and served as its first president, and he now lectures and leads birding tours across the continent. Steve is the author of the Peterson Reference Guide to Woodpeckers of North America. Take a seminar with Steve:
      Natural History of Mono Basin Woodpeckers • June 11–13

  • Greg Stock
    1. Greg Stock Greg Stock is the first-ever Yosemite National Park geologist. He has a BS in geology from Humboldt State University and a PhD in earth sciences from UC Santa Cruz. Greg has studied and interpreted the geology of the Sierra Nevada for over a decade. He has authored or co-authored over 50 papers and abstracts on Sierra Nevada geology, and is co-author of the book Geology Underfoot in Yosemite National Park. Take a seminar with Greg:
      Geology of the Mono Basin • August 16–18
      Geology of the Mono Basin • September 20–22

  • Jeff Sullivan
    1. Jeff SullivanJeff Sullivan is a landscape photography and astrophotography workshop instructor, and author of 320-page guidebook Photographing California Vol. 2 – South. His photography is licensed for use in magazines, books, websites, calendars, and his time-lapse videos have been featured in commercials and documentaries. Jeff's astrophotography won the "People and Space" category in the 2011 Astronomy Photographer of the Year contest, conducted by the Royal Observatory, Greenwich, UK, home of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) and the Prime Meridian (zero degrees longitude). Take a seminar with Jeff:
      Mono Basin Landscapes & Milky Way Photography • August 2–4
      Mono Basin Landscapes & Moon Photography • November 8–10
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  • Andie Thrams
    1. Andie Thrams Andie Thrams is a California-based visual artist who uses watercolors onsite in wildland forests to create paintings and artist's books that explore mystery, reverence, and delight, while also grappling with the vanishing habitats of our era. Merging the lineages of illuminated manuscripts and natural history field journals with a contemporary art and science awareness, her paintings evoke the complex interconnections within ecosystems of the Greater West. Take a seminar with Andie:
      Watercolors in the Wild: Autumn Flora • October 4–6

  • David Wimpfheimer
    1. David WimpfheimerDavid Wimpfheimer has been educating people about birds and the natural history of California for nearly 30 years. His connection with and love for Mono Lake started with educational work for the Mono Lake Committee in 1983 and continued as he rode in 11 Mono Lake Bike-A-Thons. He has worked with groups such as the Smithsonian, Point Reyes Field Seminars, the Oceanic Society, and Elderhostel. Take a seminar with David:
      Mono Basin Natural History: Aquatic & Terrestrial Habitats • August 2–4


Questions? Call (760) 647-6595 and ask for Elin, Nora, or Andrew. You can also email us if that's easier.

All seminars operate under permits from the Inyo National Forest and California State Park system.


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