High Desert Speaker Series 2018

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Sarah Graham, Sage Society Member

Sarah Graham, Sage Society 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.”

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Taylor Goforth, Sage Society member

Taylor Goforth, Sage Society member

“I support ONDA on a monthly basis as a way I can keep in touch with the root of my conservation ethic and allow for their strong advocacy work to keep going. I count on them!”

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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.”

The Dynamic Geologic Wonders of Eastern Oregon

Our series started out deep in the past when Scott Burns, Professor of Geology at Portland State University, described the fascinating geologic events and forces that gave shape to the landscapes we see today.

FUN FACT: Steens Mountain basalt is actually one of the oldest layers of Columbia River basalt eruptions and has shared geology with the Columbia Basin.

Notes from the Field: Campfire Edition

Gathered in front of an improvised on-screen "campfire," ONDA's stewardship staff shared tales and recent highlights from ONDA's restoration program.

TAKEAWAY: ONDA volunteers are making a difference in the high desert, and having fun while they're at it.

The Birds and the Bees: Sex Lives of High Desert Plants and Animals

LeeAnn Kriegh, author of The Nature of Bend, shared secrets and intriguing facts about the plants and animals of Central Oregon. For this talk on the eve of Valentine’s Day, she focused on the mating rituals and reproductive strategies of local flora and fauna.

FUN FACT: Male barnacles have the largest penises relative to their body size.

A Conversation with Warm Springs Tribal Elder Bruce Jim

In both Portland and Bend, Warm Springs Tribal Elder Bruce Jim delighted attendees with dozens of family stories that together offered a deeply personal history of the Warm Springs tribe. A discussion ceded lands and treaty rights rounded out his talk and gave everyone much to reflect upon.

TAKEAWAY: Warm Springs tribal members are strong stewards of the land, fish, and wildlife across Oregon’s high desert and ONDA is proud to collaborate with the Confederated Tribes of the Warm Springs on restoration work.

Celebrating 50 Years of Wild & Scenic Rivers

Rafter Zach Collier shared his unique approach to traveling all of the Wild & Scenic Rivers in Oregon. For him, just boating a river didn't "count" for this project. Before boating each river, Zach researched and read management plans, then advocated for their continued protection.

TAKEAWAY: Outdoor enthusiasts have a special connection to wild waters and lands, and a responsibility to care for those places in whatever way they can.


Conservation Advocacy from the Beltway to Business

Erin Gaines of Keen Footwear shared stories from her days working as an environmental advisor to Senator Ron Wyden and from her current efforts to amplify the business case for conservation. She discussed today’s ever-changing political reality and why she was inspired to bring her Washington D.C. experience back to advocate for stronger landscape protection in Oregon.

FUN FACT: When advocating for public lands conservation, phone calls are more effective than emails because you reach elected officials' offices right away, and they tally calls each day.

Notes from the Field

For our final Portland event, ONDA stewardship staff Ben Gordon and Michael O’Casey and photographer Sage Brown took the audience on visual road trip through this vast landscape. Sage's images capture not only beauty of the landscape, but also the community that is built through these trips to Oregon’s most stunning wild lands.

TAKEAWAY: Working together with shovels and shears in hand is a great way to get to know the high desert and forge lifelong friendships.


Upcoming Presentations

High Desert Speaker Series 2018

Eastern Oregon is an incredible place to live, work and explore, with thousands of stories just waiting to be revealed. ONDA’s popular High Desert Speaker Series features knowledgeable and inspiring storytellers who bring the intriguing aspects of this vast region to light. So far in 2018, we’ve dived into the region’s geologic history, the...

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Here’s what you made possible in 2017

2017 has been somewhat akin to being caught on an exposed rocky outcropping in a lightning storm. But like the heavenly smell of sage after a good rain, there’s a silver lining: your commitment to high desert conservation. Thanks to you, it’s been a banner year for the Oregon Natural Desert Association. 438 dedicated...

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2017 Oregon Desert Trail Milestones

ONDA members played a big part in the successes this year on the Oregon Desert Trail! Take a look below at some of the accomplishments this year:  

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We asked, you answered: Keep delivering conservation wins

The results of our most recent member survey In early November, we surveyed our members to check in on the work that matters most to you.  Nearly 300 of you responded.  Thank you! Whether it was in multiple choice questions or the open-ended answers, the prevailing theme was: “keep it up!” Here’s what we...

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The New ONDA.org

Welcome to the new ONDA website. Well, hello there reader! If this is your first time visiting ONDA’s website, you can skip right past this post and carry on in your exploration of this site. Those of you who have been following ONDA for a few years will have noticed that our website looks...

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365 Days of Beauty

ONDA’s Wild Desert Calendar highlights the beauty of Oregon’s high desert In 2004, a crew of motivated, scrappy and talented Oregon Natural Desert Association supporters dreamed up the idea of creating a photographic collection dedicated solely to the beauty of Oregon’s high desert. Thus, ONDA’s Wild Desert Calendar was born!

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Giving Wild Animals Freedom to Roam

Volunteers remove obsolete fence from more than 90,000 acres in the Steens Mountain Wilderness The 97,229 acre cow-free portion of the Steens Mountain Wilderness Area in southeastern Oregon is now completely free of obsolete barbed wire fence, thanks to the work of Oregon Natural Desert Association (ONDA) volunteers who removed the last two miles...

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REI Continues Support of the Oregon Desert Trail

The Oregon Desert Trail (ODT) has made a lot of progress in the past year thanks to the continued support of the hiking community, gateway community partners, ONDA members and the outdoor industry. Highlights include 8 completed thru-hikes of the 750 mile route, 23 Oregon Desert Trail presentations throughout Oregon and Idaho reaching over...

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Celebrating 30 years of high desert conservation

For three decades, ONDA has been a strong, consistent voice for Oregon’s high desert. It all began in 1987 with extraordinary people concerned about an extraordinary place, and today has blossomed into the only organization that works exclusively on behalf of eastern Oregon’s high desert public lands and waterways. It’s been more than three...

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Service at Hart Mountain National Antelope Refuge

Carol Savonen is a member of Great Old Broads for Wilderness, a group formed initially by older women to champion America’s public lands. Here, she shares the experience the Broads had on a recent trip to the Hart Mountain National Antelope Refuge. This past June, 25 Oregon members of the Great Old Broads for...

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