Tribal Stewards Program
Provides Career Mentorship

Lloyd Irwin

voices

Helen Harbin, ONDA Board Member

Helen Harbin, ONDA Board Member

“I connect with Oregon’s high desert through my feet, my eyes, my sense of smell, and all the things I hear. Getting out there is a whole body experience.” Supporting ONDA, Helen says, not only connects her with wild landscapes, but is also a good investment. “I felt like if I gave them $20, they might squeeze $23 out of it.”

fact

What defines Oregon’s high desert?

What defines Oregon’s high desert?

Bounded by the Cascade Mountains to the west and the Blue Mountains to the north, Oregon’s high desert covers approximately 24,000 square miles. Annual rainfall in the high desert varies from 5 to 14 inches. The average elevation is 4,000 feet; at 9,733 feet, the summit of Steens Mountain is the highest point in Oregon’s high desert. The terrain of the high desert was mostly formed by a series of lava flows that occurred between 30 and 10 million years ago.

Sources: The Oregon Encyclopedia; Wikipedia  

fact

Bobcat

Bobcat

Found only in North America, where it is the most common wildcat, the bobcat takes its common name from its stubby, or “bobbed,” tail. The cats range in length from two to four feet and weigh 14 to 29 pounds. Bobcats mainly hunt rabbits and hares, but they will also eat rodents, birds, bats, and even adult deer.

Latin name: Lynx rufus fasciatus

 

Tiyana, hi! Please tell us a little bit about yourself and your background. 

Ai / Hello , Inash Waniisha Tiyana Casey / my name is Tiyana Casey. Kush wash nash Shitiktknii / I am from Warm Springs.  The language I used is Ichiskiin; a dialect of Sahaptin. My Mom’s side of the family is N’chii Wanapum or Columbia River Plateau Native (Warm Springs, Yakama, Umatilla, Nez Perce), and my Dad’s side of the family is German and Irish. In my early years, I grew up as what some would call a “military brat.” My Dad joined the U.S. Army when they became pregnant with me in high school so I didn’t get to meet a lot of my family until I was 10 years old. That is a very summarized introduction of my family roots. Throughout my ongoing education (both traditional and formal), my interests have evolved to include many fields surrounding culture and sciences; including this continent’s first science. This can be referenced as Traditional Ecological Knowledge which is culturally specific science practices like how to hunt, gather, and process medicines such as our traditional first foods. Currently, I have been most passionate with sharing this for the growth and holistic stabilization of young indigenous people.

You bring so much great experience – seriously, so much! – to this crew leader role. You have worked for a number of strong non-profits, including Native American Youth and Family Center and Wisdom of the Elders, and participated in many unique projects, from developing lesson plans about indigenous first foods, to creating films about climate change, to testifying before U.S. House of Representatives – to name just a few. Is there a particular role, skill or experience that you think will help you most this summer? 

I’m flattered, but really I would like to first express humility and honor all the people and organizations who have played key roles in getting me to where I am now. It is always a pleasant surprise when I realize that nearly each chapter of my life’s experience has provided some learning which strengthens my interactions with young people. From the deeply personal to the most professional experiences; I strive to keep that momentum going so that I am always better than I was yesterday. These youth are most deserving of that because not everyone in their lives is able to contribute that attentiveness. But, to directly answer your question, my greatest teachers have been children and elders. They have taught me how to listen, how to speak, and how to see.

How do you see this role helping you as you continue your studies and pursue a career in Traditional Ecological Knowledge?

This role will help me learn about my own homeland so that I can pass any learning along to future generations. I am thrilled to have the opportunity to shift my energies to not only land restoration/stewardship, but also tie in cultural restoration. My ancestors, family, community, and life experiences have prepared me for seeing the land through the lens that I do. This experience could potentially lead to being an addition to a Master’s degree that I am hoping to pursue starting school year 2020/2021.

As you head into the field for the summer, what are you nervous about and what are you most looking forward to?

I am most nervous about handling situations which are out of my control that could potentially come up. I am most excited about learning with the youth, and meeting physical health goals as well.

 

Through the Tribal Stewards Program participants will develop technical skills such as riparian restoration, upland fence repair and removal and trail maintenance, as well as the soft skills needed to succeed in careers with land and water resource management agencies and conservation non-profit organizations. Conservation professionals from federal land management agencies, non-profits and tribal natural resources departments will provide career mentoring and the context for how each project fits into a broader conservation strategy to improve land and water resources.

We are thrilled to launch this program this summer — thanks to the Greater Hart-Sheldon Conservation Fund, the Hugh and Jane Ferguson Foundation, Autzen Foundation, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Friends of Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, National Forest Foundation, NewSun Energy, Keen Footwear, Redtail Fund of The Oregon Community Foundation, Ward Family Fund of The Oregon Community Foundation and generous support from members of ONDA and Northwest Youth Corps — and we are looking forward to watching these Tribal Stewards grow to be strong champions for the desert.

Tribal Stewards Program
Provides Career Mentorship

In early July, a crew of young adults – CeCe Andy (Warm Springs and Yakama), Monique Moody (Wasco and Northern Paiute) and Dakota Pablo (Pima and Navajo) led by Tiyana Casey (N’chii Wanapum) – began tackling a trail maintenance project on the Black Canyon Trail on the Ochoco National Forest. As August comes to...

Read More

Meet Mary McCord

ONDA Volunteer Extraordinaire Over the past few years, Mary McCord went from being newly introduced to ONDA to becoming a frequent volunteer in Bend. Mary and her husband, Tom, attended an annual Wild & Scenic Film Festival event and were instantly inspired to become ONDA members. They formed a personal connection with Oregon’s high...

Read More

Q&A with ONDA’s
new executive director

Over the course of two decades in the nonprofit sector, Ryan Houston has developed a reputation as a committed and effective leader in Oregon conservation, well known for strategic vision and a dedication to collaboration. We’re thrilled to welcome him as Oregon Natural Desert Association’s third executive director and we’ve pulled together a few...

Read More

Meet Lizzy Potter

A desert advocate in profession and passion An Oregonian by choice and attorney by trade, Lizzy Potter has supported ONDA for about 10 years and feels a deep connection to Oregon’s high desert, even though she lives on the west side of our state. Lizzy’s passion runs deep: “the smells of juniper, sage, and...

Read More

Meet Mac Lacy

ONDA has protected millions of acres of public land throughout Oregon as a result of winning or successfully settling more than 85 percent of our federal actions since 2001. We hope this Q&A helps you get to know Mac Lacy, our senior attorney, and to understand the important role he plays at ONDA. You’ll even...

Read More

Finding New Places to Love Through Stewardship and Protecting Them Through Sage Society

  Aaron Tani, an ONDA member since 2016, regularly volunteers on stewardship trips and contributes monthly as part of the Sage Society.  A Central Oregonian since 1986, Aaron has grown to love Oregon’s high desert for its vastness and the solitude found while exploring this landscape. Friends introduced Aaron to ONDA, and his first...

Read More

2018 Volunteer of the Year

Meet Terry Butler. A search for information about Sutton Mountain led Terry Butler to ONDA. In 2014, he joined an ONDA stewardship trip in Logan Valley. By 2015, Terry’s volunteering repertoire had expanded to attending town halls, making phone calls, leading guided hikes, and helping out at events. He’s a central hub in our strong...

Read More

Meet Michelle Smith and Sam Beebe

These ONDA members gave the classic American West road trip a public lands twist Inspired by a desire to see public lands across the West, Michelle Smith and Sam Beebe took a nearly 5-month and 16,000-mile road trip last year to better understand public lands and the current issues and communities around them. They...

Read More

Soundscapes

ONDA Volunteer John Hartog Tells High Desert Stories Through Sounds, Not Words. By John Dulzo Oregon Natural Desert Association volunteers are as diverse as the land they work so hard to protect. Here is a story about one of our most active volunteers who brings his audio artistry to his high desert devotion. Read...

Read More

Getting inspired, getting involved

Bend resident Sarah Graham has long cherished the outdoors. But this past year inspired her to become active to help protect public lands, aiming to ensure they continue to belong to all Americans. Here, she shares her story. The story of how my husband and I came to be Bendites is a common tale....

Read More