Oregon Natural Desert Association’s Independent Stewards program offers volunteers a self-directed option for promoting a healthy high desert in addition to our structured option of guided stewardship trips. ONDA provides participants with resources and specific assignments; they learn new skills and complete critical tasks while giving their high desert adventures an elevated purpose.
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An Independent Steward’s work
Independent Stewards assist ONDA with important projects while enjoying the high desert on their own. Stewards receive guidance from ONDA, but are primarily self-directed.
Eastern Oregon contains over 2.5 million acres of Wilderness Study Areas (WSAs). Each WSA is managed by the BLM. Independent Stewards help ensure these places maintain their Wilderness Characteristics by signing up to monitor the condition out in the field. Volunteers will explore within and around the WSA to document impacts they see while they are out.
Why it’s helpful
While the number of stewardship trips we host has continually grown over the years, there is always more work to be done on Oregon’s vast high desert public lands. Independent stewards are critical partners in getting more stewardship work in the high desert done, and perhaps even bringing new stewardship needs to light as they explore Oregon’s dry side with a trained eye.
How do I get started?
ONDA is revamping the Independent Stewardship Program for the 2020 season; stay tuned for more details or contact Renee Patrick for more information.