2018 Volunteer of the Year

Meet Terry Butler.

A search for information about Sutton Mountain led Terry Butler to ONDA. In 2014, he joined an ONDA stewardship trip in Logan Valley. By 2015, Terry’s volunteering repertoire had expanded to attending town halls, making phone calls, leading guided hikes, and helping out at events. He’s a central hub in our strong Portland volunteer community.

ONDA is honored to name Terry Butler as our 2018 Volunteer of the Year.

Having already volunteered five times in 2018, he’s well on his way to a breaking the record he set in 2017 by participating in nine events and stewardship trips.

Reflecting on favorite memories from his wide variety volunteer experiences, Terry says, “One stewardship trip to Summit Creek represents everything I love about ONDA. We built beaver dam analogues all day, and it was rewarding to see the immediate impact of our effort as the creek began holding more water. That evening, we shared stories and danced to music over dinner with new friends. Volunteering with ONDA makes you feel like you are part of something bigger.”

His commitment is inspired not only by his appreciation for this volunteer community, but also for the staff of ONDA. He says, “I’ve been involved with so many organizations over the years, but ONDA’s staff stands out for their commitment to the mission, support for volunteers, and the appreciation they show us.”

Terry’s love for the high desert runs deep. He splits time between homes in Portland and Prineville, and from his eastern Oregon home, he can easily explore the diverse landscape.

“If I have to pick a favorite place in Oregon’s high desert, it would be Sutton Mountain, but I’m excited about all of the Wilderness Study Areas. Each is a gem to explore, and I hope they all get protection someday. There’s just something about the starkness of the landscape out there. I’ve been visiting eastern Oregon for over 30 years and I love the scale of the physical beauty of the desert.”

Seeing the strength of ONDA’s volunteer community inspires Terry to have hope for the future.

He says, “There is a general awareness of the need to protect public lands that seems so much greater today. I find ONDA’s work with local communities to be especially promising for setting a hopeful tone. People seem to understand the need for conservation, and I think there are more opportunities for positive change in the local communities where ONDA works.”

This hopeful outlook shared among ONDA’s community of hundreds of volunteers has a strong positive impact for Oregon’s high desert each year.

You can join volunteers like Terry on ONDA’s stewardship trips, or find opportunities to volunteer at events in a local community near you, at ONDA.org/volunteer.