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Earth Month Roundup


For environmental organizations like Friends of the Inyo, April, Earth Month, comes and goes in a frenzy of activities that celebrate our planet, raise awareness about our work to care for it, and engage new allies and energize old ones in the good fight for land and water conservation and protection.

Last month was only diffferent from other years in that it was busier: The climate crisis is real, our nation and world are facing environmental and political crises, and people want to do something—anything!—to help, from giving to volunteering to cheerleading.

Here is what we, as an organization, were up to last month. These activities set the stage for what you will see coming up from Friends of the Inyo this summer, through the end of the year, and till the next Earth Month. 


Owens Lake Bird Festival, April 19 - 21

The Owens Lake Bird Festival in Lone Pine is one of our signature events. We had a great time celebrating our winged friends and Mother Earth in Southern Inyo County, with 14 tours catering to nearly 80 participants that weekend. This year's Keynote Speaker, Jolie Varela, talked to attendees about her journey in founding Indigenous Women Hike and the newly formed Native Birding Club of the Eastern Sierra.

Through the sales of tickets, FOI swag, beverages, and silent auction items, we raised close to $5,600 to continue our work of protecting and caring for the land and water of the Eastern Sierra. Thank you!

BIG THANKS also to our sponsors, AltaOne Federal Credit Union and the County of Inyo, as well as our friends at the Lone Pine Museum of Western Film History, Coachwhip Cafe, Eastern Sierra Interpretive Association, Alabama Hills Stewardship Group, the Bristlecone Chapter of the CA Native Plant Society, the privately owned historic mining town of Cerro Gordo, and our knowledgeable and passionate tour leaders for helping to make this event a success. 

Through the Owens Lake Bird Festival, as well as our Lone Pine Satellite Office at 142 E. Bush Street, Friends of the Inyo hopes to show its commitment to the protection of the land and water of the Eastern Sierra in Southern Inyo County, the engagement of the local community and local businesses, and the restoration of Patsiata (as the Paiute Shoshone people call Owens Lake), and the Lower Owens River.

A tour of the Lower Ownens River Project allowed for birding and learning about the possibilities of habitat restoration not yet fully realized. Photo by tour attendee James Hendon.  

Max Rosan (L), tour leader of our Owens Lake Bird Festival Cerro Gordo tour, poses for a photo with the owner of the historic mining town, Brent Underwood (R).


As always, the Owens Lake Bird Festival was about much more than birding. Botanist Maria Jesus (second from the left) led an outing to Centennial Flat, where attendees had an opportunity to explore the diverse flora that thrives there. 


FOI's Indigenous Community Relations Coordinator, Joseph Miller (R), and our friends from recovery nonprofit Sierra Refuge, at the Big Pine Paiute Earth Day Celebration April 20.  

FOI was proudly represented at the Big Pine 2024 Earth Day (4/20), Bishop Paiute Tribe's Earth Day and Spring Market at the Cultural Center (4/21), and Lone Pine Tribal Earth Day Celebration (4/27), where we gave out lots of FOI, Protect Conglomerate Mesa and Keep Long Valley Green stickers, as well as our coloring sheets for kids, and past issues of our Jeffrey Pine Journal magazine. 

Prior to the Bishop Paiute Tribe's Earth Day event, we also attended the Pupfish Release Ceremony at the Fish Refuge Pond of the Conservation Open Space Area (COSA) of the Bishop Paiute Indian Reservation on the morning of April 21, together with many members of the commmunity. 


Our Commitment to Celebrating Mother Earth Together with Our Indigenous Partners!

There is much for us to learn about how to lovingly care for our planet from the original Indigenous stewards of the lands of the Eastern Sierra. We are always grateful to be invited to join in the local Indigenous Earth Day celebrations and to do our part to help restore our corner of the world so that it can one day become once again "The Land of Flowing Water," (Payahuunadu), that the Ancients knew. 

Pupfish release at the Conservation Open Space Area (COSA) in Bishop, April 21.


The 2024 Eastern Sierra Fishing Guide. 

Also during Earth Month, Friends of the Inyo made an in-kind donation of 24 trash grabbers to local nonprofit  Sierra Refuge, to help them in their ongoing stewardship efforts to clean up the Poleta Pit Shooting Area and the Artesian Ponds in Bishop. In the photo, you can see just how tickled the organization's founder, April Turner (R) and Adam Graham, Director of Veteran Services (L), were with the gift. 

Sierra Refuge assists people in recovery from addiction or other life challenges by providing access to the outdoors, and offering unique opportunities for healing through stewardship of our natural refuge: nature! Click here to visit the Events Page on Sierra Refuge's website to register to volunteer with them. For more information, please write to info@sierrarefuge.com, or call or text 760-614-0874.  

Other Ways We Gave Back During Earth Month

If you live in the Eastern Sierra and have not yet picked up a copy of the 2024 Eastern Sierra Fishing Guide, released at the tail end of Earth Month, make it your destiny to do so! It is distributed free of charge at retail outlets throughout  the US395 corridor. In it you will find a well researched contributed article on the Lower Owens River Project by FOI's Desert Lands Organizer, Jaime Lopez Wolters, as well as a full-page ad about our Legacy Giving Program. If you live out of area, here's a link to Jaime's article. It is a great informative resource for advocating for the health of the Lower Owens River.

"How do you do, Mr. Pigeon?" A new pal for kids at Round Valley Elementary's Earth Day Fair 4/23. 

Finally, FOI was present for Round Valley Elementary's Earth Day Fair April 23, which helped students learn about fire ecology (including touring a real fire truck), and birds, by meeting a live pigeon and finding out about local food sources for migratory birds. Kids played the “trash game,” which helped them learn how long it takes for litter to decompose, spoke with a local climbing ranger about rock climbing and recreating responsibly, and participated in other activities offered by local educational partners. Big thanks to the Bureau of Land Management, Bishop Climbing Rangers, Wildcare Eastern Sierra, and Inyo County Office of Education for the activities they prepared for the kids!


Also in this issue of The Juniper:

  • Action Alert: Protect Our Water! Attend the Inyo/Los Angeles Technical Group (made up of  representatives from Inyo County and L.A. Department of Water and Power) in Bishop or online Thursday, May 9, and make your voice heard for Eastern Sierra water protection!
  • Action Alert Reminder: Close to 70 community based organizations have appealed to Federal Agencies to award National Park Passes to newly naturalized U.S. citizens at their swearing-in ceremony as a "Welcome to America" gift. Individuals can sign the petition to declare their support of this initiative as well. Won't you? 
  • Our Spring 2024 Dark Desert Skies Campout at Conglomerate Mesa is coming up May 17-19. It's a FREE event. Secure your spot beneath the vastness of the heavens today!
  • Volunteer with Friends of the Inyo and the Inyo National Forest to conduct "Solitude Monitoring" in certain wilderness areas. It's easy. Think of it as being citizen science with a meditative twist.
  • Attend the fifth online session of Walking Water's yearlong Water Learning Series (focused on Los Angeles) on May 9, when you will hear from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
  • Read the latest news from the e-publications of the Bodie Hills Conservation Partnership, Keep Long Valley Green, and the Conglomerate Mesa Coalition.
  • And more!

Earth Month charged us up for what remains of spring, with summer fast on its heels. Our Trail Ambassadors will be on board by the next (June) issue of The Juniper. Never a dull moment: We have lots to look forward to together. Because loving the Eastern Sierra is always better with Friends...of the Inyo!

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


Louis (Lou) Medina
Communications and Philanthropy Director

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.  

Photo by Alienor Baskevitch

What's Happening?

A committee called the Inyo/Los Angeles Technical Group will be meeting in Bishop next Thursday, May 9, to discuss potential changes to Los Angeles Department of Water and Power’s Draft Annual Operations Plan. This group consists of representatives from Inyo County and LADWP, and they meet to examine technical aspects of water management in the upcoming year.

At this meeting, they will discuss these two documents with time for public comment. Your voice can make a difference!

This meeting will be our LAST CHANCE as concerned Inyo County residents and lovers of the Eastern Sierra to push for reductions in pumping before LADWP locks in its plans through March 2025!

What Can I Do?

1) Attend the meeting and provide your oral comments urging LADWP to reduce pumpingBy attending and commenting, we’ll show LADWP that we care and we are paying attention. This will be a hybrid (in-person + online/virtual) meeting.

Attending in Person: The in-person meeting will be held at 9:00 am Thursday, May 9, in Room 101 of the County Consolidated Office Building (Clint Quilter Building) located at 1360 N. Main St., in Bishop.

Attending Virtually: There will also be an option to attend virtually (online), but that link and the agenda have not yet been released. Friends of the Inyo will share that information with our supporters as soon as we are able to access it.

2) Monitor your email inbox for further communications from us. When the county releases the agenda, we will send out talking points to help you prepare your comments. Together, we can help protect our local water!

3) Become more familiar with the Inyo County Water Department. Visit the department's website, inyowater.org.

If you have any questions, please email Lauren@friendsoftheinyo.org

Thank You!


What's Happening?

Underrepresented communities of color, including immigrant communities, encounter numerous barriers when attempting to access the best America has to offer: our National Parks and other Federal Recreational Lands.

Some of these barriers include distance, as National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands are often several hours away from urban areas, where people of color are largely concentrated; cost, as it can be expensive to recreate in nature; lack of familiarity with the National Park System and outdoor recreational activities; and technology, as more and more National Parks, National Forests and BLM Lands are requiring recreationists to make reservations ahead of time, often using difficult-to-navigate, English-only websites or apps.

Recently, another barrier to access for underrepresented communities has emerged: a trend among National Parks to require cashless payment of entry and other fees. Among underrepresented communities, and the elderly as well, many individuals are unbanked, lack credit, or simply prefer to use cash.

What Can I Do?

Friends of the Inyo, in partnership with social and environmental justice nonprofit GreenLatinos and 66 other organizations delivered a community sign-on letter on April 24, during National Park Week, calling for the U.S. Department of Interior, which oversees the National Park Service and Bureau of Land Management; the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which oversees the U.S. Forest Service; and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services to:

  • 🎟️ Provide an America the Beautiful National Parks & Recreational Lands Pass as a “Welcome to America” gift to each newly naturalized citizen at swearing-in ceremonies;

  • 💳 Consider the barriers that cashless entry to National Parks and other recreational sites impose on unbanked individuals; and 

  • 🇺🇸 Cooperate to host swearing-in ceremonies for naturalized citizens on public land recreation sites. As detailed in the sign-on letter, the Eastern Sierra boasts plenty of such beautiful places. 

Empowering our new fellow Americans to enjoy the very best our nation has to offer, our perpetually protected, expansive and scenic public lands and waters, would make them feel most welcome and nurtured by their newly adopted homeland; help dismantle the barriers that communities of color, low-income communities, and immigrants face when attempting to access National Parks and other federal recreational lands; encourage their appreciation for America’s beautiful public lands; promote patriotism and pride; and help foster new allies in environmental conservation for the sake of future generations of Americans.

Sign the petition using the button below to keep the support and momentum going behind this effort! Join the hundreds who have already signed!

Sign the Petition to Show Your Support!


Please also help spread the word on social media. Use the button below to access our Communications Toolkit, which includes suggested wording and links for Social Media posts. Thank you!

Communcations/Social Media Toolkit


Solitude Monitoring

You enjoy your moments alone in the Eastern Sierra, right? So do millions of others. Well, the U.S. Forest Service wants to make sure everyone visiting our Wilderness areas has opportunities for solitude. It all begins with research. Friends of the Inyo is assisting USFS in this effort, and for that, we need YOU!

Help Friends of the Inyo conduct visitor data collection for the Forest Service in various designated Wildernesses on the Inyo National Forest. It’s easy: You can do it while you’re out enjoying nature. Click here to learn how!

If you have any questions, please contact Friends of the Inyo's Stewardship Director, Lindsay Butcher, at Lindsay@friendsoftheinyo.org


FREE Online Series

Session Five of Walking Water's Yearlong FREE Online Water Learning Series is scheduled for 6 to 7:30 p.m. Thursday, May 9. This session welcomes the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Click on the button below, or the image above, to register. 


Coalition Newsletters 

Bodie Hills Conservation Partnership Quarterly Newsletter - April 2024


The best way to support Friends of the Inyo is by becoming a member—or renewing your membership—through a one-time or recurring donation totaling $35 or more. You'll enjoy such benefits as receiving our Juniper Monthly E-Newsletter, Action and Event Alerts, and our Jeffrey Pine Journal, a handsome, 24-page magazine published in Spring and Fall, FREE. You'll also get members-first rights to buy tickets to our ticketed events. Donate on behalf of yourself, or in honor or memory of a loved one. Gift a membership to a friend. Or sign up to make a recurring donation—it's a great way to help sustain our mission: To protect and care for the land and water of the Eastern Sierra.

Thank you in advance for your generous support!


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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