Meet Legacy Donors John Bauman
and Jenny Zimmerman

Author: Corinne Handelman  |  Published: August 2, 2021  |  Category: Profile

Exploring creative ways to advance desert conservation

For John Bauman and Jenny Zimmerman, retiring to Central Oregon felt like a perfect fit: a diversity of landscapes within a quick drive and, best of all, easy access to the high desert.

“We really love being in the middle of it all! And we love seeing new things.”

As soon as they became Central Oregonians, John and Jenny set out to find a nonprofit organization they could connect with, in hopes of returning to their environmentalist roots in their retirement years. ONDA made its way to the top of their list.

“We soon found a strong community connection with ONDA — it’s a group of people really doing the work.”

John, Jenny (right), and another volunteer take a break from trail stewardship in Steens Mountain Wilderness.
John (left), Jenny (right), and another volunteer take a break from trail stewardship in Steens Mountain Wilderness. Photo: Mark Darnell.

 

John explained that it was a combination of strong environmental impact as well as a strong sense of community that drew them to ONDA initially. Years later, they continue to focus their effort on Oregon’s high desert.

“Our favorite place to camp and hike in the high desert is at Steens Mountain,” says Jenny, “It’s one place we keep going back to, and we’ve even volunteered on trail maintenance trips there, too.”

John and Jenny believe that contributing to local organizations has the greatest impact on conservation.

“Of all the organizations we’ve been a part of, we felt the most connection with ONDA. And not only do we think it’s an incredibly worthy organization, but also we know that our money will go further.”

After assessing their goals for the future, John and Jenny agreed that their giving could have an even larger impact by including ONDA as a beneficiary in their will. For them, the process was simple; they stated their intentions during the process of creating those plans with their attorney.

Sunlight beams through a break in the clouds onto a lake over Steens Mountain.

Planning for the future by setting aside this legacy gift has also allowed them to think about their own vision for the future of the desert landscapes they love.

“There are so many challenges to conservation and ONDA is focused on each aspect of the work of protecting these places, from holding agencies accountable to protecting places like the Owyhee Canyonlands and the Hart-Sheldon wildlife corridor. We need these places set aside into the future.”

And thanks to generous and forward-thinking members like John and Jenny, that conservation vision is closer to reality.

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Mary McCord, ONDA Volunteer

Mary McCord, ONDA Volunteer

“I find enjoyment in the peaceful wide open spaces, geology, and rich history of Oregon’s high desert,” says Mary. Reflecting on volunteering, she continues, “If you have the ability and desire, it’s important to do something to contribute. It doesn’t have to be big, because every little bit helps.”

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Elisa Cheng, member since 2013

Elisa Cheng, member since 2013

“ONDA stewardship trips inspire me. I get to learn new things and see new places, and in the process perform important work that improves the wildlife habitat.”

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Sarah Graham, Sage Sustainers Member

Sarah Graham, Sage Sustainers Member

“I contribute to ONDA monthly because it adds up to a larger annual gift than what I’d be able to comfortably afford if I were to do a simple one-time donation annually. I’m able to give more to ONDA this way and have greater impact which is important to me, and my dog Polly.”