Exploration

owens dry lake

29 Aug: Owens Lake Big Day

August 21 was the annual fall migration Big Day at Owens Lake. Big Days” are known in the birding world as days where we count as many individual birds as possible in one day. Our own board member Mike Prather organizes observers to assist Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) with these counts each spring and fall. This acts as a snapshot of peak migration numbers that help inform DWP’s management of the lake. While I’ve participated in many a spring Big Day, this year I decided to join the August event as well. The shorebirds and waterfowl…

Michael Julia and Wendy in the car

07 May: Wilderness First Aid Certification Trip

Exploration outings are safer than ever… …after Friends of the Inyo’s road trip to our nearest Wilderness First Aid course!  Join us on this photo voyage through a weekend that prepared us for a summer of Stewardship and Exploration events. I was initially hesitant about another First Aid course filled with rounds of CPR demonstrations on a rubber torso, and lots of sitting and listening to an instructor. But the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS) took a different approach with simulated patients acting out real scenarios (one was even an overzealous birder, perfect for our bird festival!)  The course touched…

kids sledding at snow school

07 Mar: Two Stellar Days of SnowSchool with Mammoth Elementary School Fifth Graders

On February 13th & 14th, Friends of the Inyo partnered with the Eastern Sierra Interpretive Association, Mammoth Mountain Ski Area, Winter Wildlands Alliance, the Eastern Sierra Avalanche Center, and the Mammoth Mountain Community Foundation to bring the SnowSchool curriculum to Mammoth Elementary School fifth graders for the second year. We were fortunate to get a quick dusting the night before our first day of SnowSchool. Perfect timing! The 2-3 new inches of snow provided a nice fluffy layer for the students to get used to their snowshoes. Though many had tried them out on the grass around campus during PE, this…

Ben presenting programs

22 Nov: 1 Week in November

There’s an assumption that summer is our busy season, but in one week this past November, Friends of the Inyo’s staff illustrated how ambitious and inspiring we are at the following events: Presented about the connection between stewardship and advocacy at Winter Wildlands Alliance’s Grassroots Advocacy Conference in Lake Tahoe. Mobilized our members and the public to provide overwhelming opposition to the proposed gold mine at Conglomerate Mesa at the Inyo County Board of Supervisor’s meeting. Took 91 Mammoth Elementary students out for a Fall Field Day for SnowSchool to learn about watersheds and have fun in the Mammoth Lakes…

meet a tree 2-480x320

06 Nov: SnowSchool Grows in Mammoth

Partner Profile: David Page of Winter Wildlands Alliance Friends of the Inyo’s Ben Wickham sat down at Mountain Rambler Brewery in Bishop with David Page, Mammoth local and Advocacy Manager for Winter Wildlands Alliance, to talk about SnowSchool, a national education program designed by Winter Wildlands Alliance with 60 sites across the U.S. that educate 30,000 youth each year. For more about SnowSchool, visit SnowSchool’s website. What is SnowSchool?  David Page: Snowschool is a program that is developed by Winter Wildlands Alliance and has expanded to about 60 sites, and reaches about 32,000 kids a year. The goal is to…

pack stock

08 Sep: Photos from the Ansel Adams Wilderness Project

Check out photos by volunteer, photographer, and Bishop resident Ken Miller from the Ansel Adams Wilderness Project. This year, we partnered with the Inyo National Forest, and 6 volunteers helped on trail maintenance and campsite restoration around Shadow Lake and the John Muir Trail. It was such a great experience for everyone involved, and check back this fall because we’ll be posting stories about how much fun we had and work we got done in the coming weeks.

youth water bar volunteer

08 Sep: Community Service: Deluxe Edition

The Ansel Adams Wilderness Project brought six volunteers into the Shadow Lake area for five days of backcountry trail restoration. Youth volunteer Thomas Zentmyer came along for the community service hours, but went home with an experience he’ll remember forever. Check out his words below, and stay tuned for more stories and photos from the trip. “I’m a frequent visitor to the backcountry, but this trip had scenery like I had never seen before. I would come back from a hard day of work and settle down for dinner, all the while surrounded by the sound of gushing water, golden…

astra lincoln resting on tree

15 Aug: How Can We Love a Place?

Check out Trail Ambassador Astra’s intellectual exploration of connecting to a place: While leading my third “Wild Harvest” interpretive hike for FOI this summer, one of the participants mused about what’s underfoot. We were three-quarters of a mile up the Parker Bench Trail, pausing in the ecotone between sage steppe and forest riparian corridor. The group had just come to a stand of aspen, and we were discussing the interconnectedness of trees: how a web of fungi in the soil allows trees across species to share nutrients and knowledge amongst themselves for the betterment of the forest writ large. “There’s…

crosscut black and white volunteers

15 Aug: Getting Nostalgic in the Mammoth Lakes Basin with the Trail Ambassadors

Watching the Trail Ambassadors run the cross cut saw to remove a log from a trail in the Mammoth Lakes Basin put us in an old time kind of mood, so here’s pictures of them working in black and white. Look for the Trail Ambassadors on high country trails this summer, or join them for Trail Work Thursday or an interpretive hike.