Exploration

owens dry lake

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

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…

elementary school children round valley earth day

Round Valley Earth Day

On Friday, April 20, the Horton Creek Campground was alive with archaeological artefacts, bighorn sheep skulls, stream macroinvertebrates, interesting rocks, Leave No Trace flash cards, Paiute words, and sixty-two children from Round Valley Elementary School. Led by Friends of the Inyo and the Bishop BLM, Round Valley Earth Day is a chance for the elementary school students to learn about many different aspects of the place where they live, from its indigenous history, to its plants and animals, to its recreational opportunities. The students arrived at the campground at 8:30am, and the clock began ticking. Eight educational stations were set…

Michael hiking with muffin in the owens valley

360 Degrees of the Eastern Sierra

Friends of the Inyo is using a 360-degree camera to show our wild backyard in a whole new way. Google for Nonprofits donated rental of this new type of camera, and I ran to the field to test it with an enthusiastic office dog. Google’s donation allows us to create and share scenes of our favorite places and events on their Google Maps platform. Friends of the Inyo also retains full ownership of the images. To test the camera unit we set out walking to one of my favorite quirky locations near Bishop. The unit resembles an upside-down walking stick…

kids sledding at snow school

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

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

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…

youth water bar volunteer

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…

alex ertaud trail ambassador

Working Hard and Having Fun

It’s been a lot of fun for us here in the office at Friends of the Inyo to come in on Monday mornings and see pictures and reports from the field. Looks like our Trail Ambassadors Alex and Astra had a particularly good time this weekend while working hard on the TJ Lake Trail in the Mammoth Lakes Basin: