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Thoughts of Winter, Thoughts of Water:
A New Narrative -
Saving FROM a Rainy (or Snowy) Day!

Well, I have to say that my second winter in Bishop has been radically different from my first one last year, which wasn't much of a winter. Tremendous snowfalls, high winds, a power outage, icicles on my porch, my having to shovel snow for the first time, and the purchase of several coats, hats and pairs of wool socks to make the experience of the season more fun and cozy are some of the memories that will always stay with me about the winter of 2023.

You know what else will stay with me? The ridiculous question that keeps getting asked in the headlines: "Are we out of the drought yet?" It makes me want to take anybody who asks the question by the lapels and say to them, “No! We’re never going to be out of the drought because our state’s weather is one of dry and wet cycles, with several dry years followed by a wet and snowy year like what we've been experiencing, and then it's back to dry conditions again. Do you not know this about California already?! Oh, and by the way, the dry part of the cycle is intensifying due to climate change!”

One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten. Phew!

Honestly, the questions everyone should be asking, in my opinion, are:

  • How are we (to borrow banking terms) going to save and invest the water we’ve accumulated in our snow pack to make sure it lasts us until the next abundantly wet winter?
  • How are we going to ensure that it gets used wisely rather than wasted wantonly?
  • What is the City of Los Angeles going to do between now and the next wet part of our dry-wet cycle to improve the capture of its own stormwater (rather than letting it flow out to the Océano Pacífico), so that it does not have to keep taking as much water away from the Eastern Sierra?
  • When is California going to learn that we need to think in terms of decades regarding water sustainability for our state, in a true effort to find long-term solutions, rather than in terms of whether a particularly wet winter can offset a few prior years of drought, which is really shortsighted? 

If, indeed, the meaning of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again while expecting different results each time, then in California we are “locos” in how we think about our relationship to water.

The narrative in our state needs to be that we are "saving from a rainy day" rather than “saving for a rainy day.” We need to realize that every rainy or snowy day in California is precious, and that the bounty received on days of much precipitation, whether in the form of rain or snow, has to be saved and managed judiciously over future long, dry, hot days (and years) in order to keep our state’s water situation sustainable and our ecosystems healthy. After all, it's not just humans who need the water and snow that falls on our state: California's native plants and animals need it just as much as we do.  

Help us convey this new narrative to anyone and everyone you know up and down our state. Continue to follow the water justice work of Friends of the Inyo and our partners in the Keep Long Valley Green Coalition, as well as others, like the Mono Lake Committee, who are doing great work to keep our Eastern Sierra water here, where it belongs.

In fact, the Mono Lake Committee is currently urging everyone to write to the State Water Board to suspend water diversions from the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power until Mono Lake rises back to a healthy, sustainable level. Find a letter template and a button to submit your comments electronically before the end of the open comment deadline of March 17 by clicking here. Thank you!


In this issue of The Juniper:

  • Learn about our events coming up this month and next: a Wildflower Tour to Centennial Flat March 25, and, of course, our Owens Lake Bird Festival on Earth Day Weekend, April 21-23;

  • Meet our new Indigenous Community Relations Coordinator, Joseph Miller;

  • See how we’ve been getting some media and social media love, on the radio in Arizona, and from an environmentally conscious Instagram influencer closer to home;

  • Hear about how our "SnowSchool" has helped many 5th graders in Bishop and Mammoth learn much about the science of snow while having fun during this most snow-abundant winter;

  • Consider becoming a business sponsor of Friends of the Inyo: We’ll tell you how, and let you know about the sponsorship benefits your business will receive;

  • And more!

Remember: When scrolling through our newsletter, you might come across a message at the bottom that says [Message clipped] and/or the hyperlink "View Entire Message." Be sure to click on the link to keep reading, as more news will be displayed. This is done to prevent bandwidth issues in e-mail delivery. Thank you.  

Happy reading—and if you like what you read, happy sharing! 


Louis (Lou) Medina
Communications and Philanthropy Director


FREE Wildflower Tour to Centennial Flat Saturday, March 25, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

It's a great year for wildflowers!

With the abundant precipitation we have been getting this year, we can expect great wildflower viewing in the California deserts this spring! 

On Saturday, March 25, from 9 AM to 1 PM:

Friends of the Inyo will be leading a FREE Wildflower Tour to Centennial Flat. This sloping plateau sits at an elevation between 4,500 ft and 5,500 ft above sea level. Covered partly by an extensive and thriving Joshua Tree forest, one can see the Sierra Nevada range towering in the distance—a high clearance vehicle is recommended.

For additional details and to sign up, click on the button below. 

More than half the tickets for this year's three-day Owens Lake Bird Festival, April 21-23, in Lone Pine, have already been sold.
Get yours TODAY before they're all gone!

- Lots of variety in this year's tours -

Staff Announcement

Meet Our New Indigenous Communities Relations Coordinator, Joseph Miller.

Joseph is a lifelong resident of Payahuunadü and a Tribal member of the Big Pine Paiute Tribe of the Owens Valley. Joseph developed a love of environmental service through his early work with the Big Pine Tribe focusing on permaculture techniques, community agriculture initiatives and health initiatives. His fondness for maintaining the connection to water and land was further realized through working in water quality monitoring and data collection with his home Tribe. Most recently Joseph has served in management roles for both Tribal enterprise and in environmental protection. Joseph enjoys quality time with his family, caring for plants, gardening, environmental stewardship, serving Tribal communities and exploring the high deserts of California and Nevada. In his role as Indigenous Community Relations Coordinator, Joseph hopes to foster meaningful dialogue and cultivate lasting relationships between Friends of the Inyo and the Native Tribes of the Eastern Sierra.

FOI Making Headlines

Last month, Friends of the Inyo's Lou Medina joined environmental justice partners from GreenLatinos and the Center for Progressive Reform on the Phoenix, Arizona-based radio show, Vanguardia America with James Garcia. Vanguardia America is a weekly radio news magazine and podcast covering politics, business, arts and culture from an American Latino perspective. The show is called "Vanguardia America" because our nation's more than 62 million Latinos are at the vanguard of big demographic, political, social and economic changes happening in the U.S. today.

The purpose of the Feb. 13 podcast was to discuss GreenLatinos' Latino Climate Justice Framework (LCJF), published toward the end of last year as a blueprint for advocacy around climate issues that affect Latino communities in the United States. Lou was a collaborator in the final writing of the LCJF, specifically Chapter 3, which deals with such issues as community involvement, language access and equitable representation. It was great to be able to highlight to a broader audience some of the issues the local Latino community in the Eastern Sierra is facing. 


Bodie Hills Featured in Josh Jackson's @ForgottenLandsCalifornia

Josh Jackson Photo

Environmentalist and social media influencer Josh Jackson, who is “on a mission to research, hike and camp on all of California’s public lands managed by the BLM,” keeps giving Instagram love to the Bodie Hills!

Some might recall the story that goes with the photo above that was published a year ago this month in the Bay Area news website, SFGate.com. Well, just like he did then, Jackson continues to extoll the beauty of the Bodies on his Instagram account, @ForgottenLandsCalifornia, which boasts 19.4K followers.

He has recently been highlighting lands in the Eastern Sierra, of which the Bodie Hills are a personal favorite. The posts, which are near the top of his Instagram page, are truly thought-provoking and informative, and the photos that go with them are representative of the Bodies' beauty.

Thank you, Josh for highlighting this special place and the work we are doing with the Bodie Hills Conservation Partnership to protect it!


And speaking of the Bodie Hills and social media, you can now keep up with all things Bodie Hills on three different platforms!

The Bodie Hills Conservation Partnership (BHCP) has just launched an Instagram account, @bodiehills, to complement their already existing presence on Facebook and Twitter.

'SnowSchool' is Cool!

Our Stewardship Director, Lindsay Butcher, has written about the importance of SnowSchool: a partnership between Friends of the Inyo and the Eastern Sierra Interpretive Association (ESIA) that has been delivering a snow science + outdoor fun curriculum designed by the Winter Wildlands Alliance to underserved Bishop and Mammoth fifth graders since 2017. The families of many of these children, believe it or not, do not have the means to take them on a snow outing every winter. Some who live in the Owens Valley may go for years without recreating in the snow. But Lindsay puts a lot of passion into making sure the SnowSchool experience for "the kiddos," as she calls them, is a quality one. And what a year this has been for the children to learn about snow!



Tune in to Mammoth Radio this Friday, March 10, at 9:15 a.m., to listen to Lindsay talk with ACE (Arts, Culture & Entertainment) show host John DeMaria about SnowSchool, as well as our upcoming spring and summer Stewardship and Educational Outings. Tune your radio's FM dial to 106.5 if you are in Mammoth Lakes; 104.9 for Bishop; 105.5 for Big Pine and South; and 107.7 for June Lake and North. Or listen live online at MammothFM.com. 



The February 2023 issue of the official E-Newsletter of the Keep Long Valley Green Coalition (KLVG), Every Last Drop, suggests that even if you're tired of the snow this winter, you need to pray for more of it! Why? It has something to do with "warm snow drought." But if you don't read Every Last Drop, you'll never know!

Click here to access past issues of Every Last Drop.

Use the button below to subscribe to the newsletter. Help us spread the word!


Partner Event Reminder

Photo - U.S. National Park Service

Join Maturango Museum for a daylong field trip to Manzanar National Historic Site in Independence, CA, on March 17, 2023. This outing will include a visit to the Park Visitor Center with interpretive exhibits on the WWII internment of Japanese Americans at the Manzanar confinement camp, a bring-your-own picnic lunch at the recreated mess hall, and an afternoon site tour of Manzanar archeological work by nationally recognized National Park Service Archeologist Jeff Burton.

The event, which begins at Manzanar, 5001 Highway 395, Independence, CA, is limited to 30 participants and is all-mobility accessible with tour walking options up to 3 miles. Vehicular loop road gives closer access to sites on grounds for those who are mobility-limited. Cost per person is $40 and includes a donation to Friends of Manzanar.

Tickets for this field trip MUST be purchased through the Maturango Gift Shop, 100 East Las Flores Ave. in Ridgecrest, by calling 760-375-6900, or online by clicking on the button below. Trip details and meeting time will be sent out via e-mail one week before the event. 

(Note: Friends of the Inyo's Lou Medina will be attending this outing with our Maturango Museum partners and writing about the experience in Spanish for an upcoming issue of local weekly El Sol de la Sierra, and in English for The Sierra Reader.) 

Snow Surveys - 
Volunteers Still Needed!

It's been a very snowy winter and we want to take solid snow depth measurements and track accurate recreation use information! FOI is once again collaborating with Winter Wildlands Alliance (WWA) to collect some Winter Recreation Data to better inform the US Forest Service Subpart-C Winter Travel Management planning process.

In the past two winter seasons, you might have seen an FOI staffer or board member out at Rock Creek Sno-Park or Obsidian Dome NordicTrack taking snow depth measurements or tallying recreational users. Well, we can always use the public's help!

If you cross-country or backcountry (XC/BC) ski or snowboard, snowshoe, or snowmobile in the Inyo National Forest and would like to help the USFS make informed decisions about Winter Recreation and Over Snow Vehicle use, then join us in some "Citizen Science."

Sign up with FOI at friendsoftheinyo.org/wintertravelplanning; you will receive details on how to download the RIMS app and begin logging data. 

Once you’ve signed up, you'll be ready to record some observations and be a volunteer field researcher!

Questions? Contact Lindsay@friendsoftheinyo.org. Thank you!


Want to support Friends of the Inyo? Consider making a donation online today!
Or help us Grow Our Circle of Friends...of the Inyo! by purchasing a membership for a friend or loved one. 

Thank you for your generous support.

Other Ways to Give

Become a Friends of the Inyo Business Sponsor!  

If you love Friends of the Inyo and what we do for the Eastern Sierra, and you are a business owner, consider becoming a business sponsor to us!

Business sponsors commit to providing a yearly monetary gift to Friends of the Inyo that helps pay for our general operating costs. You become a partner with us in helping to fulfill our mission of protecting and caring for the beautiful public lands of the Eastern Sierra. 

In exchange, you receive lots of exposure by having your logo and link to your website featured on EVERY ISSUE of our Juniper E-Newsletter and our Jeffrey Pine Journal Biannual Magazine during your sponsorship year. See the logo wall of our current sponsors below. You'll be in great company! 

Every issue of the Juniper and the Jeffrey Pine Journal guarantees thousands of impressions for every one of our sponsors.  

To get started, just write to Louis@friendsoftheinyo.org and indicate "Business Sponsorship" in the subject line of your e-mail. 

Thank you!

We look forward to your partnership!


Friends of the Inyo appreciates the following organizations and local businesses for their generous monetary sponsorship of our programs:


Inyo Mono Alpine County
Cattlemen’s Association


Remember to update the address to our new location:

Friends of the Inyo
621 W. Line St., Suite 201
Bishop, CA 93514


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