Your Next Autumn Activity:
Volunteering

Rick Samco

fact

Young Horny Toad Lizard

Young Horny Toad Lizard

In the summer these lizards begin foraging for food as soon as their body temperature rises as the heat of the day increases. They feed on slow-moving, ground-dwelling insects. In the fall they hibernate by burying themselves in the sand.

Latin name: Phrysonoma platyrhinos

fact

Swallowtail

Swallowtail

The Oregon Swallowtail butterfly is the official state insect of Oregon and a true native of the Pacific Northwest. The Swallowtail can be seen in the lower sagebrush canyons of the Columbia River and its tributaries, including the Snake River drainage area.  Source: State Symbols USA

Latin name: Papilio oregonius

voices

Cregg Large, member since 2009

Cregg Large, member since 2009

“I came to Oregon 12 years ago from Texas. Texas, for all its size, has very little public land. Coming to Oregon has made me realize the special gift we as Americans have in our public lands. Volunteering with an organization like ONDA is my way of reciprocating for this gift. Through restoration efforts, I feel we are helping leave a better place than we found it. Through advocating for protection for public lands, we safeguard migration routes for animals and keep the land where it belongs: with the public.”

California bighorn sheep

Wildlife Monitoring Opportunity

For this effort, independent stewards will collect important data about 72 different strategically chosen species throughout the northern Basin and Range ecosystem, to fill a gap in observations in this important region east of the Cascade Mountains.

Fremont National Recreation Trail

ONDA launched an “adopt-a-mile” effort covering 38 miles where the Oregon Desert Trail and Fremont National Recreation Trail overlap. A few volunteers were able to start their work in the short window between snow melt and the start of the heartbreaking Bootleg Fire in the Fremont-Winema National Forest in early July. Now that the forest has reopened to the public, ONDA is eager to get volunteers back out to this section of trail to perform much needed maintenance work.

Steens Mountain Wilderness Trails

Fall is a spectacular time to visit Steens Mountain, where ONDA is also inviting volunteers to “adopt-a-mile” of trail to monitor and maintain. In addition to performing light trail-work, volunteers are using a new Recreation Impact Monitoring System application developed in partnership with Bureau of Land Management staff to catalog and inventory habitat or recreation management needs Recreation planners can access the data that volunteers collect in real-time and adjust maintenance plans accordingly.

Alvord Desert

This iconic Wilderness Study Area in the rain-shadow of Steens Mountain saw unprecedented use in 2020, largely due to the Coronavirus pandemic, and the trash accumulation and impacts on the surrounding landscape reached critical levels. ONDA’s independent stewards are documenting impacts using the Recreation Impact Monitoring System application and dispersing fire rings, picking up trash, monitoring for negative wildlife interactions, and handing out wag bags and responsible recreation information.

We welcome you to join us on any of the above projects. If you have already filled out our volunteer interest form this year, please email monitoring@onda.org with the project you are interested in. If you have not yet filled out our volunteer interest form, apply now and, in the project preference field, type in “Alvord, “Steens” “Fremont” or “wildlife monitoring.”

Volunteer today!

Your Next Autumn Activity:
Volunteering

As golden aspen leaves and frosty mornings mark the arrival of fall in Oregon’s high desert, welcomed rains are bringing fire danger down and allowing volunteers to resume work on needed monitoring and restoration projects throughout desert public lands. If you’re craving an adventure to experience the beauty of Oregon’s high desert in the...

Read More

Return to the Oregon Desert Trail

Carly “Quill” Swisher started a thru-hike of the Oregon Desert Trail in the late spring of 2020, but had to get off in McDermitt, Nevada. Undeterred, she went back June 21, 2021 and finished the complete route at Lake Owyhee State Park eight days later. The story below recounts these days on the trail,...

Read More

“A diverse and magical place”

Tribal Stewards reflect on the 2021 season In early July, we introduced you to the 2021 Tribal Stewards crew. Now that they have wrapped up their five-week session of restoration and conservation projects on Oregon’s desert lands and adjacent watersheds, we wanted to share their accomplishments and highlights from the season. After starting their...

Read More

Helping Fish, Addressing Fire and Drought

Author: Beth Macinko  |  Published: June 21, 2021  |  Categories: Look Back, Notes from the Field ONDA volunteers plant thousands of willow and repair fences in the Malheur watershed The native bull trout and redband trout in the Malheur River drainage, located south of Prairie City in the Malheur National Forest, can look forward...

Read More

A Justice, Equity and Inclusion Update

Author: Ryan Houston  |  Published: June 18, 2021  |  Category: In the News, Looking Back, Looking Ahead Today, our country is observing Juneteenth as a federal holiday for the first time. Earlier this spring, we celebrated the confirmation of Secretary Deb Haaland as the first Native American to oversee Department of Interior public lands...

Read More

A Look Back at the
2021 High Desert Speaker Series

Author: Caelin Weiss  |  Published: April 28, 2021  |  Category: Look Back Each spring, ONDA presents the High Desert Speaker Series to share knowledge about intriguing aspects of high desert culture, science and recreation. It’s our hope that these events renew our collective appreciation of the lands, waterways, wildlife and people of the region...

Read More

Conserving Your Connection

“One of my biggest personal feelings of loss for this terrible pandemic is that I had to give up these ONDA field trips.” When ONDA had to cancel our field-based stewardship trips and community get-togethers as a result of COVID-19, we expected people to be disappointed. After all, we were, too. What surprised us...

Read More

Steens Act Turns 20

Known by the Northern Paiute as Tse’tse’ede, the Steens is both a historic homeland and an unparalleled treasure in Oregon’s high desert. The largest fault block mountain in North America, Steens stands sentinel over the mystical Alvord Desert and thousands of square miles of the sagebrush sea. It is a landscape that has endured...

Read More

We hear you

The results of our most recent member survey This fall, ONDA sent you, our members, a note with a question: what matters most to you?  Almost 500 of you responded to our member survey, our strongest response yet. Thank you! Here’s what we learned. You love Oregon’s high desert Whether you have generations of...

Read More

Stewardship Impact 2019

ONDA’s stewardship program connects eager volunteers with meaningful projects to improve fish and wildlife habitat across eastern Oregon. Beyond the satisfaction of seeing a job well done, each volunteer gains a deeper personal connection to the wild places ONDA works so hard to protect, defend and restore. In 2019, ONDA volunteers (424 in all!)...

Read More