Healthy Escapism

“A Year in Oregon’s High Desert” offers escapism you can feel good about

Feeling stressed? A dose of natural beauty could help.  

Studies have shown that spending time in a natural setting, or even viewing scenes of nature, can lower stress level, heart rate and blood pressure and make people feel more trusting and generous. Because humans are genetically programmed to find trees, plants, water and other natural elements engrossing, nature scenes are well-suited to distract us from our pain and discomfort. 

If you could use some desert distraction, check out “A Year in Oregon’s High Desert,” a virtual exhibition of high desert photography, when it opens on November 16. This show features 24 stunning images from public lands in Eastern Oregon, including both grand landscapes and close-ups of the plants and wildlife that give Oregon’s sagebrush steppe its pulse. 

Coordinated by Oregon Natural Desert Association to showcase the high desert’s natural beauty, this exhibition will take viewers through some of the most scenic, remote and awe-inspiring wild places in Oregon’s high desert, including the Owyhee Canyonlands, John Day River Basin, Steens Mountain Wilderness and the Hart Mountain National Antelope Refuge. 


Central Oregon’s “Backyard Wilderness”

Central Oregon’s “Backyard Wilderness”

Our quest to protect the Oregon Badlands

Located just 15 miles east of Bend, Oregon Badlands is a 30,000-acre wilderness area filled with fascinating lava flows and ancient juniper trees Arriving in the Badlands, so named for its rugged and harsh terrain, can feel like stepping

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Great Horned Owls and Western Screech Owls

Great Horned Owls and Western Screech Owls


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.”

Poker Jim Ridge

This photograph by Gary Calicott shows the vastness of the Greater Hart Sheldon Region — one of the largest intact swaths of sagebrush steppe remaining in the West. 

Gary Calicott   Website

Greater Sage-Grouse

Photographer Richard Eltrich captured this scene on a cold April morning before dawn.

Richard Eltrich

The exhibition also captures some beautiful, ephemeral moments from the high desert, such as an encounter with the threatened Greater Sage-Grouse during its elaborate mating ritual for which it is best known.  

As Richard Eltrich, one of the photographers featured in the exhibit, shared, “We arrived at the location before dawn. Frost blanketed the sage and the sun had not cleared the hill behind the lek. As the sun rose it beautifully backlit the active grouse. Plumes of fog rose from around the  birds as the coolness of the ground met the warming air.”  

You don’t need to be an ONDA member to sign up, and there’s no cost to tour the exhibit. All of the images in the exhibit are also featured in our 2021 Wild Desert Calendar,  which current ONDA members will receive by mail in late November. The calendar is also available for purchase on our website and at many local retailers in Central Oregon and at select locations throughout the state.  

“A Year in Oregon’s High Desert” will open at 5:30 pm on November 16, 2020. You can sign up for a reminder to check out the exhibit on opening day and can visit the exhibit anytime between November 16 and  January 8, 2021.

Hang the 2021 Cover in Your Home

If you love the gorgeous Mickey Basin scene that graces our 2021 calendar cover, check this out. Photographer Jim Davis has donated a signed, archival canvas, board mounted print (20 x 30" image size in a 26”x 36” frame) to ONDA and we're making it available for sale for $695. All proceeds directly support ONDA's efforts to protect, defend and restore Oregon's high desert.

Interested? Stay tuned!