2021 in Review

Mark Darnell

Every year, the steadfast and tenacious support of desert advocates like you makes it possible to reach new milestones and realize long-term conservation goals. With 2021 coming to a close, it’s time to celebrate some major progress for desert conservation.
We hope this quick look back at how far we’ve come this year brings a smile to your face and fills you with pride.

voices

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.”

voices

Bonnie Olin, 2017 Volunteer of the Year

Bonnie Olin, 2017 Volunteer of the Year

“If you spend enough time in the wild, it will change you. So it was for me in Oregon’s high desert, especially in the Owyhee Canyonlands.” To support ONDA, Bonnie says, is to strive to protect the very values of Oregon’s high desert that are critical to the human experience: quiet and connectedness with nature. “Oregon’s desert,” she says, “broadens your understanding of your relationship to all living things.”

listen

South Fork Crooked River and Birds

South Fork Crooked River and Birds

Key Progress and Milestones

Getting a Monument Proposal

Together we achieved a major goal in our campaign to conserve important wild areas in the John Day River Basin with the introduction of legislation that would establish a Sutton Mountain National Monument. The new proposal for a 66,000-acre national monument will preserve the country between the Painted Hills and the John Day Fossil Beds.


Read Our Press Release
Owyhee River as seen from above

Setting a Strong Agenda, Pushing Back Against Bad Ideas

We advocated for more than 1,000 miles of desert waterways to be protected as Wild and Scenic Rivers in the River Democracy Act and made great strides in our campaign to preserve a million acres in the Owyhee. We also defended against misguided management actions proposed across Oregon’s high desert public lands, weighing in on issues ranging from wildlife management in the Greater Hart-Sheldon to expanded military training in Oregon’s Owyhee Canyonlands.

Learn about the River Democracy Act
monitoring the desert

Leading Hands-on Restoration

After a pivot to a COVID-safe independent steward restoration model, we surpassed 6,000 volunteer hours contributed to caring for desert public lands. Volunteers planted nearly 17,000 trees, restored more than 500 acres of sagebrush habitat, maintained dozens of miles of trail and a whole lot more to improve the health and resiliency of the desert ecosystem.

Learn More About Stewardship
Tribal Stewards crew poses with Forest Service staff in front of newly built fence at Little Crane Creek

Introducing Young People to Careers in Conservation

ONDA hosted another cohort of Tribal Stewards, Indigenous teens and young adults taking part in a paid, career mentorship program, and we hired our first-ever Hillis Intern. Both Tribal Stewards and the Hillis Internship offer increasingly equitable avenues for young people to become our next conservation leaders through paid internships.

Read the story behind the Hillis Internship

Read reflections from the 2021 Tribal Stewards

Inspiring and Welcoming Desert Advocates

To foster a sense of wonder and curiosity about the diverse ecosystems and landscapes of the high desert, we hosted over a dozen events, produced a short documentary and published several multimedia story maps. As we highlight the desert and engage people in advocating for it we are taking steps at each juncture to ensure we are building a culture that welcomes everyone who is interested in conserving Oregon’s high desert.

Immerse Yourself in the Desert
To see more highlights from this year, as well as years past, please visit our Accomplishments page.
Thank you for the essential role you play in this desert conservation community!