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Field Seminar instructors


Field Seminar instructors

All 2020 Mono Basin Field Seminars have been canceled due to COVID-19 (see more information here).

If you have questions, please contact the Field Seminar team. For more about the Mono Lake Committee's operations during COVID-19, please see this page.


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 with a passion for the Mono Basin.


  • 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:
      Winter Photography at Mono Lake • January 10–12

  • 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:
      The Art of Wildflower MacrophotographyJuly 17–19
      Mono Basin & Bodie Photography • August 28–30

  • 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 3–4

  • 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 24–26

  • 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 • August 21–23

  • 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 9–11

  • 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:
      Mono Basin Winter Wanders • February 1, February 15, March 7, March 21
      Birding Mono Basin Hotspots • May 29
      Breeding Birds of the Mono Basin • May 30
      Twilight Birding & Owling • May 31
      Full Moon Hike • June 5
      Mono Basin Big Day Birding • June 27
      Birding Between the Breweries • July 3
      Birding the White Mountains • July 9
      Birding the White Mountains • July 17
      Volcanism of the Mono Basin • August 1
      Wildflower Waltz • August 2
      Natural History at the Edge of the Sierra • August 8
      Mono Basin Tree Identification • September 4
      A Long Journey: Shorebird Migration • September 5
      Fall Color Foray • October 2
      Fall Color Foray • October 9

  • 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 • June 26–28

  • 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 3–4

  • 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 13–14
      Falling for the Migration: Crowley, Mammoth, Mono • August 15–16

  • 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 15–18

  • Michèle Slaton
    1. Michèle Slaton is an Ecologist with the US Forest Service, Pacific Southwest Region Remote Sensing Lab. She earned her PhD in Botany from the University of Wyoming, and taught Botany, Plant Ecology, and Plant Physiology in Colorado before arriving in the Eastern Sierra in 2001. She worked as a botanist for Death Valley National Park and the Inyo National Forest before joining the Remote Sensing Lab, where she focuses on vegetation mapping by combining ground techniques with novel technologies. Take a seminar with Michèle:
      Mountain Botany & Ecology • July 17–19

  • 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 14–16
      Geology of the Mono Basin • September 18–20

  • 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 Landscape & Night Photography • July 24–26

  • 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 9–11

  • John Wehausen
    1. John WehausenJohn Wehausen has studied bighorn sheep populations in California since 1974. Following their listing as a federal endangered species, he wrote most of the recovery plan for bighorn sheep in the Sierra Nevada. He retired from the University of California's White Mountain Research Station in 2012 and continues to work full-time on bighorn sheep conservation issues in California. He is the president of the Sierra Nevada Bighorn Sheep Foundation. Take a seminar with John:
      Restoring Sierra Nevada Bighorn Sheep • September 11–13

  • 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 • July 10–12


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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The Mono Lake Committee is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization.