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A "Fieldtrip" of Owens Lake Natural and Human History at June 4 MBHS meeting


Mike Prather, from Eastern Sierra Audubon, will present a slide talk at the Monday, June 4 meeting of the Mono Basin Historical Society, conducting a “fieldtrip” of Owens Lake’s natural and human history. Come to the Lee Vining Community Center at 6 PM for a potluck dinner and short business meeting, and the program begins at 7 PM.
Hundreds of thousands of shorebirds and waterfowl are once again returning to Owens Lake each spring and fall. After the lake’s destruction when the Los Angeles Aqueduct was completed in 1913, who would have expected such good news? The Owens Valley had choked on dust from the mid 1920’s until water was again released onto the lake in 2001, the key to a massive effort to control hazardous dust. With water, algae, and brine flies back, the ‘table was set’ for shorebirds and waterfowl to return. “But this is a dust project, not a wildlife project,” the Audubon Society was told for many years. However, persistence and a multi-stakeholder voice for the birds led to what should be lasting protection for large tracts of historical habitat.
Mike Prather has lived in Inyo County since 1972, both in Death Valley and Lone Pine. He has worked tirelessly on desert issues such as wildlife, water, wilderness and parks. He is past chair of the Toiyabe Chapter of the Sierra Club, Eastern Sierra Audubon, Owens Valley Committee and currently is chair of the Inyo County Water Commission and a board member of Friends of the Inyo. Mike and his wife Nancy are retired public school teachers and have two grown daughters and four grandchildren. Mike lives in the Alabama Hills above Lone Pine and overlooking Owens Lake.

PIONEER SOLAR PAVILION UPDATE – Closing in on the fundraising goal!
The Mono County Board of Supervisors enthusiastically approved the Pavilion this month, and the Building Permit has been issued! Our goal remains to begin construction in early July and have the Pavilion ready for the Ghosts of the Sagebrush event in late August. The original cost estimates went up due to steel price volatility, racking requirements for the solar panels, and engineering of the foundation (a lot of concrete). The SHORTFALL IS ABOUT $12,000 as of late-May. If you can contribute now or give an additional donation it would greatly help. Make checks out to either the Mono Basin Historical Society or the Lee Vining Chamber of Commerce with “Solar Pavilion” in the subject line and send to Solar Pavilion, PO Box 39, Lee Vining, CA 93541. All donors will be honored with tiles on our donor wall. Ceramic TILE PAINTING will happen ON MONDAY AUGUST 13 FROM 10 to 5 at the Lee Vining Community Center. COME PAINT YOUR TILE or have local kids do it for you from your design requests.

The museum opens for the season on Saturday, May 26. Hours are 10 to 4, Wednesday through Monday (closed Tuesdays).