visit mono lake

Field Seminar instructors


Field Seminar instructors

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

Many instructors have been leading Field Seminars for more than a decade, and are experts in more than one field of study. These folks are known for being 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 Basin Winter Photography • January 26–28
      Mono Lake by Moonlight • March 2–4

  • 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 Macrophotography • June 8–10
      Mono Basin & Bodie Photography • July 13–15

  • Nancy Hadlock
    1. Nancy HadlockNancy Hadlock has been 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 13–14

  • John Harris
    1. John HarrisJohn Harris is a Professor of Biology at Mills College whose 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 27–29

  • 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 12–14

  • Ann Howald
    1. Ann HowaldAnn Howald is a retired consulting botanist who focuses on rare plant surveys and conservation issues. Ann is also an active volunteer for the California Native Plant Society. She lives in Sonoma, and spends some of each summer studying plants in the Eastern Sierra. Ann's enthusiastic and personal teaching style make for very popular seminars; participants return again and again to learn about plants with Ann. Take a seminar with Ann:
      High Country Plants & Habitats: How are they coping with climate change? • August 3–5

  • 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 • June 29–July 1
      Miwok-Paiute Basketry • August 24–26

  • 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; she studied trees in the species-rich Appalachian Mountains; and she is the Secretary of the Mono Basin Historical Society. Take a seminar with Nora:
      The Season Seldom Seen: Winter Ecology of the Mono Basin • January 13–14
      Birding Mono Basin Hotspots • June 1
      Breeding Birds of the Mono Basin • June 2
      Twilight Birding & Owling • June 3
      Mining the Past through Binoculars • June 24
      Natural History Ramble • June 27
      Birding Between the Breweries • June 28
      Wildflower Waltz • July 6
      Birding Between the Breweries • July 12
      Mining the Past through Binoculars • July 19
      Natural History Ramble • July 25
      Wildflower Waltz • July 26
      Birding the White Mountains • July 27
      Mining the Past through Binoculars • August 15
      Natural History Ramble • August 30
      Volcanism at Mono Lake • August 31
      A Long Journey: Shorebird Migration • September 7
      Mono Basin Tree Identification • September 14
      Mining the Past through Binoculars • September 21
      Fall Color Foray • October 3
      Fall Color Foray • October 11
      Fall Color Foray • October 15

  • 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 21–22

  • 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 15–16

  • 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 • July 20–22

  • Lucy Parker
    1. Lucy Parker Lucy Parker is Julia'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, Pt. Reyes Field Seminars, and many other venues around California. Take a seminar with Lucy:
      Miwok-Paiute Basketry • June 29–July 1
      Miwok-Paiute Basketry • August 24–26

  • 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 13–14

  • 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 16–17
      Falling for the Migration: Crowley, Mammoth, Mono • August 18–19

  • 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 12–14

  • 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 • September 21–23

  • 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:
      Landscape Photography, Milky Way & Perseid Meteor Dark Sky Astrophotography • August 10–12

  • John Wehausen
    1. John WehausenJohn Wehausen has studied bighorn sheep intensively for over 30 years as a wildlife ecologist with the White Mountain Research Station in Bishop. He is the president of the Sierra Nevada Bighorn Sheep Foundation, and makes his living entirely as an independent research biologist working on bighorn sheep inhabiting the high mountains and deserts of California. Take a seminar with John:
      Living on the Edge: Sierra Nevada Bighorn Sheep in the Mono Basin • September 8–9

  • Stuart Wilkinson
    1. Stuart WilkinsonStuart Wilkinson is a long-time Mono Lake paddling guide and veteran kayaker. He and his wife Sue own and operate Caldera Kayaks, and have been paddling on Mono Lake for almost 20 years. When he's not kayaking, Stuart assists with the monitoring of Long Valley Caldera for the US Geological Survey. Take a seminar with Stuart:
      South Shore Kayak • June 9

  • David Wimpfheimer
    1. David WimpfheimerDavid Wimpfheimer has been educating about and interpreting 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 13–15


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

Find your seminar

by month

by subject

by duration

by instructor

show me the whole list

Can't find a seminar you'd like to take? Design your own custom guided trip.


The fine print

frequently asked questions

registration information

cancellation policy

past field seminars

• field seminar team (coming soon!)



Find us on Facebook


Follow us on Twitter


Print this page

search | contact us | site map 

MLC Logo

© 2018 mono lake committee
The Mono Lake Committee is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization.