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ONDA's Wild Desert Blog

The Oregon Natural Desert Association celebrates the diversity of people involved in our work and highlights what we have in common - a shared love of Oregon's deserts.

Oregon Natural Desert Association knows that our wild desert lands will only be protected through the support of those who love them. This collection of stories from a variety of contributors reflects the diversity of people involved in our work and highlights what we have in common - a shared love of Oregon's deserts.

Dreaming of North Fork solitude

Dreaming of North Fork solitude

Posted by Heidi Hagemeier at Jul 13, 2015 12:45 PM |

Longtime river runners Peter Jones and his wife rafted for three days down the North Fork John Day River in late April. While the water is low now, Peter offers insight and images here for those dreaming of what he calls "a secret river" for next year.

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ONDA and EarthShare: A lasting partnership

ONDA and EarthShare: A lasting partnership

Posted by onda@onda.org at Jun 29, 2015 10:50 AM |

The Oregon Natural Desert Association has been a member of EarthShare of Oregon for over 10 years! Learn more about this lasting partnership.

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On the pronghorn path: the conclusion of the Sheldon-to-Hart hike

Posted by Heidi Hagemeier at Jun 16, 2015 03:40 PM |

Three amazing Oregon women journeyed along the pronghorn migration route between Sheldon and Hart Mountain wildlife refuges. Their goal was to catalog the fences, horse herds and whatever else they run into between the two refuges to assess obstacles and help bolster conservation efforts. ONDA provided them support during the hike, from June 8-14, meeting them at rugged dirt-road outposts along the way at the end of the day.

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On the pronghorn path: Day 2 of the Sheldon-to-Hart hike

On the pronghorn path: Day 2 of the Sheldon-to-Hart hike

Posted by Heidi Hagemeier at Jun 10, 2015 01:25 PM |

Continue to follow three amazing Oregon women as they journey along the pronghorn migration route between Sheldon and Hart Mountain wildlife refuges. Their goal is to catalog the fences, horse herds and whatever else they run into between the two refuges to assess obstacles and help bolster conservation efforts. ONDA will provide them support during the hike, from June 8-14, meeting them at rugged dirt-road outposts along the way at the end of the day.

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On the pronghorn path:  Day 1 of the Sheldon-to-Hart hike

On the pronghorn path: Day 1 of the Sheldon-to-Hart hike

Posted by Allison Crotty at Jun 09, 2015 01:05 PM |

Follow three amazing Oregon women on the Pronghorn Path Trek as they journey along the pronghorn migration route between Sheldon and Hart Mountain wildlife refuges.

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Through the Owyhee on the Oregon Desert Trail

Posted by Heidi Hagemeier at May 26, 2015 12:50 PM |

Joseph resident Nikki Beachy and her friend, Talia Galvin of Bend, hiked 27 miles of ONDA's Oregon Desert Trail in the Owyhee Canyonlands, starting in Leslie Gulch and weaving north through stunning formations. Along the way, they appreciated the power and wonder of the high desert.

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2015 Volunteers of the Year

Posted by Heidi Hagemeier at May 13, 2015 02:10 PM |

Every year, ONDA recognizes a volunteer who consistently shines in dedicated service to the organization with its Volunteer of the Year award. This year, the award rightly belongs to two inseparable women.

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West Little Owyhee, circa 1978

Posted by Heidi Hagemeier at Apr 28, 2015 01:16 PM |

More than three decades ago, ONDA member Joe Walicki made an eye-opening journey up the West Little Owyhee River Canyon. Here, with words and images, he shares the memory of discovery in the Owyhee Canyonlands.

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William Sullivan visits Central Oregon for new Eastern Oregon hiking guide edition

William Sullivan visits Central Oregon for new Eastern Oregon hiking guide edition

Posted by Heidi Hagemeier at Apr 16, 2015 05:45 PM |

William Sullivan is touring Central Oregon to promote his latest update to his Eastern Oregon hiking guide, and ONDA will be there as a special guest to share why our work to protect the region matters.

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Watching the wonderful dance of the Greater sage-grouse

Mary Powell participated in ONDA's 2015 Greater sage-grouse lek monitoring trip at Hart Mountain National Antelope Refuge. The trip, which involves rising before dawn to witness and count sage-grouse gathered to attract mates, proved fascinating and fulfilling.

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Of Lava, Yellowstone and the Owyhee

Of Lava, Yellowstone and the Owyhee

Posted by Heidi Hagemeier at Mar 26, 2015 11:40 AM |

The fascinating geology of the Owyhee Canyonlands ranges from millions of years ago, when the land was part of the supervolcano that’s now Yellowstone, to just thousands of years ago when Jordan Craters became coated in lava. Here, Oregon State University-Cascades student Chloe Hallock interviews one of her instructors, Daniele McKay, about this diverse landscape. Professor McKay holds a doctorate in geology from University of Oregon and studies volcanoes.

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High Desert: Inspiration and Healing

High Desert: Inspiration and Healing

Posted by Heidi Hagemeier at Mar 09, 2015 04:55 PM |

Marlene Moore Alexander is a survivor, a teacher, a scholar, a student, and perhaps is best known as an artist. This is her story of the healing, inspiration, and serenity that she finds in the high desert. The desert is an important place for many reasons, and Marlene hopes that her art can help people cherish and protect it for future generations so they can find the same peace she has found.

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A high desert romance

A high desert romance

The Oregon Badlands Wilderness will always have a piece of Kirsten Blackburn's heart ... as it's the place where she and her future husband decided to wed.

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More on Monarchs & Milkweed

Posted by Heidi Hagemeier at Jan 27, 2015 02:30 PM |

The inaugural Oregon Natural Desert Association High Desert Lecture Series event, “Monarchs & Milkweed: An Evening with Tom Landis,” drew huge interest. Here is more information on how to grow milkweed and pollinating plants in the high desert.

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Sutton Mountain's amazing Black Canyon

Posted by Heidi Hagemeier at Jan 27, 2015 09:55 AM |

The unseasonably warm weather means it's an ideal time to visit Sutton Mountain, a jewel in the John Day River Basin. Two ONDA members visited Sutton Mountain's Black Canyon late last fall, discovering an amazing venue for a shoulder-season outing.

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Remembering passionate advocates

Posted by Heidi Hagemeier at Jan 14, 2015 01:05 PM |

ONDA lost a number of heroes in 2014, advocates who continuously made a difference -- on behalf of the high desert and in the many lives they touched.

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Ancient residents of the high desert

Ancient residents of the high desert

Dr. Tom Connolly, archaeological research director for the University of Oregon Museum of Natural and Cultural History & State Museum of Anthropology, shares with the Oregon Natural Desert Association some of the history of human habitation in Oregon's high desert.

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Plant expert honored with 2014 Alice Elshoff Award

Plant expert honored with 2014 Alice Elshoff Award

At the Oregon Natural Desert Association’s 2014 Bend year-end party, we recognized a man who has long been a champion for the high desert. Stu Garrett of Bend received the 2014 Alice Elshoff Desert Conservation Award, which recognizes individuals who -- in the tradition of longtime ONDA board member Alice Elshoff -- make significant contributions to conservation in Oregon’s desert.

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A Tibetan blessing for Sutton Mountain

A Tibetan blessing for Sutton Mountain

In June, a group of Tibetan monks toured the Painted Hills Unit of the John Day Fossil Beds National Monument and saw Sutton Mountain. Oregon Natural Desert Association John Day Coordinator Ben Gordon joined the group on the visit.

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Love of the hunt, love of the land

Daniel Hammer has long loved hunting in eastern Oregon. Now, the former cabinetmaker is a student in the Oregon State University-Cascades Natural Resources program in Bend. Here, he shares with the Oregon Natural Desert Association how love of land and the hunt go hand in hand.

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