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A voice from the next generation

Posted by hhagemeier@onda.org at Apr 18, 2017 07:19 AM |
This Earth Day, 13-year-old Bend middle schooler Jack Strang shares how he is already thinking about the importance of conserving our wild high desert places.

Jack Strang
Jack Strang
This Earth Day, we’re hearing from the next generation … 13-year-old Bend middle schooler Jack Strang is already thinking about the importance of conserving our wild high desert places.

My name is Jack Strang. I am an outdoor enthusiast, photography lover, and a steward for the beautiful Oregon desert.  Also I am thirteen years old. The goal of ONDA (to preserve and protect the Oregon desert for years to come) is extremely important for my generation.

My experiences in the Oregon desert have been nothing short of amazing. Last summer I went to a running camp in the Steens Mountain area. On the “Big Day,” our longest run of the camp runners were informed that they couldn’t talk for the first 14 miles. As we ran through the canyons, full of sagebrush, I felt a sense of peace engulf my body. The warmth of the sun, the aspen trees clapping, and the beautiful wildlife combined for a day I will never forget. This was one of my first experiences in the desert, and it made me appreciate the Oregon desert so much more.

Badlands 1 Jack Strang
A moonlit night in the Oregon Badlands Wilderness.
Photo: Jack Strang
I took these photos on a cool night in the Oregon Badlands Wilderness. It was one of the first times I had been there, but I loved it. I found beauty in the small things. The beautiful colors of the sagebrush, the way the trees looked silhouetted against the sky, and the huge moon rising in the distance. On top of all of these things, I enjoyed how quiet the area was. I was the only photographer there, and there was actually only one more car parked in the parking area. This was new to me. Most of the places photographers go are popular, iconic scenes. Humans are naturally drawn to the beauty of snow-capped mountains or a roaring waterfall. Because of this, those places become overcrowded, and quite frankly not as enjoyable.

Badlands 2 Jack Strang
Ancient juniper trees are a highlight of the Oregon Badlands Wilderness.
Photo: Jack Strang
This is one of the most important things I learned when volunteering for ONDA. The Oregon desert is just as beautiful as the Cascades because it is so unique. One of the quotes I am reminded of when I am in the Oregon desert is, “There is beauty in simplicity.” I hope to continue impacting the places I love in a positive way through ONDA, and have made it a goal of mine to spread awareness of what this organization stands for and does.
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Sarah Graham
Sarah Graham says:
Apr 19, 2017 12:31 PM

Jack, you are amazing. Thank you so much for contributing this beautiful piece and your breathtaking photos to the ONDA blog. Most of all, thank you for getting involved to help protect the stunning landscapes we call home! So proud of you!

Rob Gould
Rob Gould says:
Apr 20, 2017 03:01 PM

Way to go Jack. Glad the young are caring about a sane future.

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