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Independent Stewards Volunteer Program

Give your Adventure a Purpose! If you are headed out into eastern Oregon and would like to lend a hand in officially helping to monitor your public lands: this is just what you are looking for.

Over the years, ONDA’s guided stewardship trips have become wildly popular. People love the opportunity to experience magnificent high desert places and to also give back to their well-being through stewardship and restoration. Our volunteers have donated thousands of hours of work on tasks ranging from pulling obsolete fence to monitoring wilderness study areas.

And almost without fail, the question asked after a stewardship trip is: What more can I do? Now we have an answer: the ONDA Independent Stewards.

ODT PueblosVolunteerJordanCratersCamp_GBurke

WHAT IS IT? The ONDA Independent Stewards is a new branch within ONDA’s Stewardship and Restoration Program. It offers volunteers a more self directed means for aiding important efforts toward promoting a healthy high desert outside of ONDA’s structured, guided stewardship trips.

WHAT DO INDEPENDENT STEWARDS DO? Independent Stewards assist ONDA with important projects while enjoying the high desert on their own. Stewards will receive guidance from ONDA but are primarily self-directed. A Steward can choose to either visit an area where ONDA needs assistance or can choose to visit an area of his/her own preference and see if ONDA is in need of information from that region.

In other words, becoming an Independent Steward is a way to ‘give your adventure a purpose’. The nature of the work can vary depending on a Steward’s talents or preferences. Some general examples are backpacking or driving through desert wildlands and recording data, taking high quality photos in one of our focus areas, repeatedly visiting a significant site, such as a spring or an archeological site, to monitor changes.

HOW DOES IT WORK? ONDA offers periodic trainings to equip volunteers to become Independent Stewards. Once trained, stewards can peruse tasks on the ONDA Independent Stewards Program webpage. The tasks are described in detail and ONDA may provide additional specific information or materials depending on the assignment. Independent Stewards then relay back their experience and/or data to ONDA.

HOW DOES IT HELP THE DESERT? While the number of stewardship trips has continually grown over the years, there is always more work to be done in the high desert. We envision Independent Stewards as critical partners in helping accomplish more in the high desert, and perhaps even bringing new stewardship needs to light as they explore Oregon’s dry side with a newly trained eye!

GET INVOLVED! Contact or click HERE to learn more about our 2017 training opportunity.

Juniper on Hart Mountain at sunset. Photo:Jim Davis

Contact Michael O'Casey| 541-330-2638 to learn more.

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Oregon Natural Desert Association
50 SW Bond Street, Suite 4,
Bend, OR 97702
Tel: (541) 330-2638

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