High Desert Academy

Vince Ready

Welcome to our digital event community

While we’re all following directives to stay close to home, ONDA is bringing the desert straight to you! Wherever you might be, you can follow along with our new High Desert Academy. This series will include stunning tours of high desert highlights, informative workshops that will teach you new advocacy skills, and tips to plan a safe and enjoyable desert adventure once it’s advisable to do so.  So grab a quaranTINI and join us at these High Desert Academy offerings.

These events have now passed and all recording are available for streaming below! Thanks for joining us and we hope you enjoy these recordings.
Have questions? Email our team and we’ll do our best to answer!


Stewardship Fence Building Timelapse

Stewardship Fence Building Timelapse


Durlin Hicock, Alice Elshoff Award winner

Durlin Hicock, Alice Elshoff Award winner

“Protecting public land is part of my spiritual being. It’s central to my identity to be in wilderness and to see it protected.” Durlin is proud to protect public lands for future generations, saying, “The highlight of my childhood was our family’s weekend outdoor trips. I look forward to my grandchildren having similar experiences outside in their lifetimes, and it wouldn’t be possible without ONDA.”


What defines Oregon’s high desert?

What defines Oregon’s high desert?

Bounded by the Cascade Mountains to the west and the Blue Mountains to the north, Oregon’s high desert covers approximately 24,000 square miles. Annual rainfall in the high desert varies from 5 to 14 inches. The average elevation is 4,000 feet; at 9,733 feet, the summit of Steens Mountain is the highest point in Oregon’s high desert. The terrain of the high desert was mostly formed by a series of lava flows that occurred between 30 and 10 million years ago.

Sources: The Oregon Encyclopedia; Wikipedia  

The High Desert Wonders

This three-part series will take you on a tour of the spectacular highlights of Oregon’s high desert and connect you with timely conservation opportunities in these areas.

Steens Mountain: Wilderness Haven

Learn more about the crown jewel of Oregon’s high desert. Steens Mountain gained Wilderness protection 20 years ago, but the story doesn’t stop there. Discover places to explore and hear about the ongoing efforts to secure permanent conservation outcomes in this rugged landscape.
View the recording

Hart, Sheldon and the Land Between

The Greater Hart-Sheldon Region includes Hart Mountain and several million acres of the surrounding public lands. The region boasts huge blocks of extensively connected wilderness-quality lands that support the region’s rich wildlife populations. Learn more about the abundant conservation and recreation opportunities in this vast area.
View the recording

The Wild Owyhee

Oregon’s Owyhee Canyonlands is one of the wildest places in the country. Follow along on an exploration of this incomparable region, its awe-inspiring natural landscapes, rich culture and history, key wildlife habitats and recreation hubs. You’ll learn about timely conservation initiatives you can support to ensure that the Owyhee stays wild, forever.
View the recording

Where Conservation Meets Recreation

We know you’re all scheming your next trip to Oregon’s high desert. Join our team to learn about our best planning tips and tricks so that you can utilize this downtime to plan the perfect adventure.

Desert Hiking Tips & Trips

Do you have concerns about water, navigation, camping, animals, desert driving and more? We’ll answer your questions and offer ideas for your next adventure in Oregon’s Owyhee Canyonlands and beyond.
View the recording

Multi-Sport Adventures on the Oregon Desert Trail

The Oregon Desert Trail is not just made for hiking. Did you know there are sections that you can bike, paddle, horseback ride, and even ski in the winter? Join us as we dive into different options for “quiet recreation” on the public lands throughout Oregon’s high desert.
View the recording

Boots, Bikes, and Boats in Eastern Oregon

Go east on this virtual tour for a new desert adventure and a sense of solitude. You’ll learn about recreation and conservation opportunities in and around the Steens Mountain Wilderness, Fremont-Winema National Forest and the John Day River Basin.
View the recording

How to be a Better Desert Advocate

We hear that self-improvement is all the rage! Follow along for this three-part series to build your knowledge and skills base to be an even stronger desert advocate.

How to Protect Desert Rivers

Right now, we have a remarkable opportunity to secure Wild and Scenic River status for our beloved desert rivers – if we all speak up! You’ll learn how to write an effective letter to the editor, use your social media to rally your river-loving friends, and more!
View the recording

How to Build a Beaver Dam

Beaver are among nature’s most impressive ecosystem engineers. Learn how you can lend them a hand – and then let them take over – to create healthier and more resilient desert habitat.
View the recording

How to Use Your Voice For Public Lands

Whenever major changes to how our public lands are managed are in the works, you – the public! – get a chance to comment on those proposals. Learn how to use your voice to speak up for conservation in the desert, just in time for an important comment period opening this summer.
View the recording