Meet the 2020 Alice
Elshoff Award Recipient

listen

Cottonwood Canyon Riparian Soundscape

Cottonwood Canyon Riparian Soundscape

watch

Stewardship Pronghorn Fence

Stewardship Pronghorn Fence

fact

Bitteroot

Bitteroot

Bitteroot blooms on north-facing cliffs in western North America.

The Paiute name for bitteroot is kangedya. Traditional Native American uses of the plant included eating the roots, mixed with berries and meat, and using the roots to treat sore throats.

 

Sage Brown   Website

Sage Brown   Website

Heidi Hagermeier

Over the years, John has built a special connection to landscapes across Oregon’s high desert.

“Every place I go, there are magic moments. That’s what’s addictive. The colors of the Owyhee, the intact grass slopes of Pine Creek, those large open expanses of sagebrush at Hart Mountain, sweet creeks in the Malheur National Forest. There are moments of rapture on each trip for me. That’s the payoff. That’s why I come back,” he mused.

Over time, these moments have given John an enduring, optimistic outlook for the future of these wild, vast landscapes.

ONDA established the Elshoff Award in 2008 to honor individuals who embody ONDA’s conservation values, and to celebrate their significant contributions to protecting Oregon’s desert wilderness.

Upon receiving this honor in 2020, John humbly shared this message, “For me, more than anything else, ONDA provides hope. So much hope.  Hope that sage grouse and antelope, beaver and bull trout and redband, and my beloved salmon, have safe homes and passage through their ancient landscapes. Hope that all birds and bugs and reptiles flourish and thrive in this crowded, changing world.  Hope that intact sagebrush steppes and native grass hillsides and cold running creeks will forever remain resilient and define Oregon’s deserts.

“You, and all the volunteers I share work with, plant hope — every letter written, card signed, lawsuit filed, BDA built, post driven or taken out, bird counted, roadless area mapped, willow planted — is a powerful cry for a better, richer, and diverse future.”

This tremendous effort and yearning for a brighter future unites the ONDA community. We selected John to be the 2020 Alice Elshoff Conservation Award recipient because we share his hope for the future of intact and diverse habitats across the sagebrush sea and appreciate his inspiring contributions to our community.


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Like many ONDA volunteers, John Cunningham is up for any challenge — and his positive attitude and long-standing commitment to supporting ONDA’s conservation mission have landed him the honor of receiving our 2020 Alice Elshoff Conservation Award. “After 30+ stewardship trips completed,” John said, “ONDA’s work just fits me perfectly, because anything that’s dirty,...

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