Last Month in Yosemite: November 2015

Last Month in Yosemite: November 2015

The Conservancy's webcams captured the juxtaposition of late fall and early winter in Yosemite this November, as leaves turned and snow dusted the Valley. Photo: Yosemite Conservancy

A monthly recap of things we saw, heard and did in the park,  from our El Portal office to you!


November 7, 2015

Pileated woodpecker. Photo: Ann & Rob Simpson.

We partnered with the Sierra Nevada Research Station in Wawona to welcome aspiring naturalists for a weeklong California Naturalist Program course in the park. Over the course of seven days in Yosemite, the participants explored the park’s fascinating ecosystems and natural history with an array of experts, including our resident naturalist, Pete Devine. One of the students captured the experience in a recent post on the Huffington Post Green Blog:


Fellow nature nerds are fine company. On one lunch break, I sat balanced on a hillside among an intent group with binoculars stuck to our faces, silently watching as a pileated woodpecker proceeded to remove every last bit of bark from a halfway stripped tree.


November 13, 2015

Yosemite's award-winning aphasia-friendly guide. Credit: NPS

There were no Hollywood stars in sight at the American-Speech-Language-Hearing Association award ceremony last month, but our program manager was thrilled to attend the event, which we’re told is the “Oscars” of the speech pathology world! She was there to help celebrate an exciting honor: Yosemite received the association’s “Distinguished Service Award” for creating a visual guide to the Valley. The guide, which was made possible with funding from a Conservancy donor, is designed for people with aphasia (the loss of ability to understand speech and written language, usually due to stroke, tumor or brain injury).



Yosemite wildlife biologist (and TEDx speaker) Sarah Stock during the March 2015 bighorn sheep reintroduction. Photo: Steve Bumgardner

Why would you want to go to school on a Saturday? To see TEDx Yosemite, a local, independently organized event designed in the TED spirit of sharing "ideas worth spreading." The Mariposa High School auditorium buzzed with stories, science and music shared by ecologists, artists, educators and others, including Yosemite biologist Sarah Stock, who plays a key role in many donor-funded wildlife projects — you might remember from our blog posts on bighorn sheep and birds. Overall, the day was a beautiful reminder of all the good work being done in the greater Yosemite community! 


November 20, 2015

Photographer Glen Denny in Camp Four during the Conservancy's 2015 Spring Gathering. Photo: Al Golub

We got an early glimpse at the next book on the Conservancy's publishing lineup, a memoir by photographer Glen Denny. Along with sharing many memories of climbing in Yosemite during the late 1950s and 1960s, Denny gives readers a peek back in time at what the Valley looked like in that era:

When I first got to Yosemite, in the fall of 1958, the main grocery store was in the Old Village, which used to be across the river and close to the chapel. It had a creaky wooden floor covered with sawdust. Next to it was a café named the Greasy Spoon. On the other side was a movie house. Since the nineteenth century, the Old Village had been the social and business center of Yosemite, but it was all gone now. It had turned back into a meadow.


Snow blanketed Sierra peaks in November, seen here on our High Sierra webcam. Photo: Yosemite Conservancy


Did we mention that it snowed in November? Multiple times? Wintry weather meant that Tioga and Glacier Point Roads closed, along with some Valley trails. The Valley floor is bare again, for now, but we expect that more flakes will fall soon. Keep an eye on our webcams!


Coming up on the blog this month: Yosemite views; watching (and counting) winter birds; and a look back at 2015. Stay tuned!


Yosemite Insider