Mono Lake Committee Website

Organization Information:

Organization Name:
Mono Lake Committee
City & State:
Lee Vining, 
Organization Website:
Organization's Mission Statement
The Mono Lake Committee is a 16,000 member non-profit citizens’ group dedicated to protecting and restoring the Mono Basin ecosystem, educating the public about Mono Lake and the impacts on the environment of excessive water use, and promoting cooperative solutions that protect Mono Lake and meet real water needs without transferring environmental problems to other areas.

Submission Information

Impact Essay
The non-profit Mono Lake Committee is located in the town of Lee Vining, population 398, overlooking Mono Lake in California’s remote Eastern Sierra. Thirty miles and a major mountain pass from the nearest supermarket, the Committee has worked for over 30 years to protect and restore Mono Lake. We launched our first Website in 1996. Over a decade later, despite its popularity, great usefulness, and our constant innovation and optimization, it had growing pains—it was time to remodel the whole site. In late 2006 we embarked on our redesigning journey. A friend of ours who knows Flash put together a design with large panning photos for the homepage, and we loved it. The design of the rest of the site followed—we would rely on large, striking photos of the Mono Basin in order to capture people’s attention with the lake itself to generate support. This strategy has worked well ever since our co-founder, the late David Gaines, traveled around California with a Mono Lake slideshow in the 1970s. In 2006 we received a donation of InDesign CS2 and Flash 8 through Techsoup. By the summer of 2007 our Website planning and design incorporated many new Web 2.0 concepts—so we acquired Dreamweaver 8 and Design Premium CS3, again through Techsoup. This past year we upgraded to Adobe Design Premium CS4. We had formerly maintained our Website with Microsoft Frontpage, but now we switched to Dreamweaver. With the Flash donation we were able to make movies ourselves. We were not only learning how to create the new features we wanted for the Website, but also learning new programs. Our team of four staff spent most of 2008 in this learning process. In summer 2008, we put our existing content, plus new images we created in CS3, into our new format using Dreamweaver. We finalized the homepage by editing our friend’s Flash movie. In November 2008, we launched the new Website! In December, Mono Lake was featured on the PBS program California’s Gold, and website visitation that night crashed our server! In January, actor and director Mark Ruffalo visited our Website and was impressed by it and by our work, prompting him to prohibit plastic water bottles on the set of his current movie and give the whole cast and crew a Mono Lake Committee stainless steel water bottle! Our 16,000 loyal, generous members also love the new Website. The Mono Lake Committee, though we operate in a remote rural location, has always been on the cutting edge—creating new precedents in state water law, helping make Los Angeles and California more efficient through water conservation and water recycling, educating thousands of students and visitors each year, and protecting and restoring Mono Lake for future generations. We feel that our new Website, designed and maintained by our staff with Adobe products from Techsoup, communicates our message in a fresh, inspiring way—that makes people fall in love with, stay connected to, and protect this place for generations to come.
Submission Category
Environmental Impact Other Media