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. 




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


Sarah Graham, Sage Sustainers Member

Sarah Graham, Sage Sustainers 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.”


South Fork Crooked River and Birds

South Fork Crooked River and Birds

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!