Join Us to Celebrate our Black Lake Preserve

See the stunning Black Lake Preserve for yourself at our celebration on May 14th! Photo © Randy Keller

See the stunning Black Lake Preserve for yourself at our celebration on May 14th! Photo © Randy Keller

When Michelle Browner first visited Black Lake, she found a landscape that spoke to her soul. She felt what early settlers must have experienced when they first explored the American West. Breathtakingly beautiful, the land before her was rugged, remote, and alive with strange plants and wildlife.

Thanks to Michelle, this unusual Eastern Sierra landscape is protected forever – and now you can experience its wonders for yourself. Eastern Sierra Land Trust will be holding a Black Lake Preserve Celebration on May 14, and we invite you to join us as we commemorate this conservation success with birdwatching opportunities, a walking tour, and a picnic lunch on the land.

Black Lake Preserve Celebration
Saturday, May 14
9am – 1pm
RSVP to Sara at sara@eslt.org for details and directions

Located northwest of Benton in the Adobe Valley, Black Lake is a rare wetland in the midst of the desert. Rimmed by wet alkali meadows, Black Lake serves as a critical water source for wildlife. It has been designated by the National Audubon Society as part of the Adobe Valley Important Bird Area, and for good reason: from waterfowl to songbirds to raptors, a diverse array of species flocks there – particularly this time of year, when breeding season is in full swing.

A diverse array of birds can be seen at Black Lake, particularly this time of year. May 14th is International Migratory Bird Day – join us at this unusual landscape, and don’t forget to bring your binoculars!

May 14 is International Migratory Bird Day – join us at this unusual landscape, and don’t forget to bring your binoculars!

To Michelle Browner, Black Lake was something truly unique. “From the beginning, I felt very deeply that this was a special place,” she recounts. “When I first saw the Adobe Valley, I already had the idea in my mind that I wanted to do whatever I could to conserve it.”

Michelle remembers feeling that she, “could not, and would not ever want to have the land around Black Lake developed.” So when the parcel went up for sale nearly twenty years ago, Michelle jumped at the chance to purchase Black Lake and the surrounding meadows.

Concerned about the landscape’s long-term future, in 2014 Michelle Browner approached Eastern Sierra Land Trust to consider options that would conserve Black Lake long beyond her lifetime. “I decided that I wanted to make an outright land donation to the Land Trust, to ensure that the property would remain protected forever,” Michelle explained.

Recently seen at the Black Lake Preserve: a Loggerhead Shrike, a songbird that likes to spear its meal on barbed wire before dining.

Recently spotted at Black Lake: the loggerhead shrike (an unusual songbird that likes to spear its meals on barbed wire before dining!)

With the future of this unique place now secure, join us as we celebrate its conservation and thank Michelle Browner for her generosity and foresight. In addition, May 14 is International Migratory Bird Day – so in its honor, we’ll be out on the land with binoculars in hand.

Eastern Sierra Audubon will be with us to point out unusual bird species, and California Native Plant Society representatives will share information on the strange flora that can be found in the area’s wet alkali meadows. Following an interpretive walking tour of the property, everyone will sit down with Michelle Browner and her conservation partners to share a catered picnic lunch on the land.

Attendance at our Black Lake Preserve Celebration is limited, and RSVP is required. To reserve your spot, please contact Sara Kokkelenberg, ESLT Stewardship Coordinator, at (760) 873-4554 or sara@eslt.org!

Hesperochiron Californicus, a perennial herb native to California that can be seen blooming at Black Lake this time of year.

Hesperochiron Californicus, a perennial herb native to California that can be seen blooming at Black Lake this time of year.

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