Meet Mary Powell

Author: Allison Crotty  |  Published: February 2, 2022  |  Category: Profile

ONDA’s 2021 Alice Elshoff Award Recipient

Mary Powell is a woman of many talents. Need to spruce up an event venue, reach out to Mary and she’ll create elegant native flower bouquets sourced from her property. Find yourself with an opening on a restoration field work trip, Mary is there for you. Have an outreach opportunity where you’d like to draw new conservation supporters into the fold, Mary is your first call. Need a laugh at the end of a long day, you can count on Mary.

In honor of her many and varied contributions to high desert conservation, Oregon Natural Desert Association has named Mary Powell as our 2021 Alice Elshoff Conservation Award recipient.

An annual donor since 2010, Mary has pitched in at the ONDA office on dozens of occasions and volunteered at more than 25 restoration work trips and 50 public events.

In addition to all this, Mary is a visionary donor who worked with ONDA to provide the financial support needed to launch a paid internship program in 2021. Named the Hillis Internship in honor and memory of her late husband Harv, Mary’s actions will foster the next generation of conservation leaders. ONDA recently shared Mary and Harv’s inspiring story on our blog.


Wildflower Poetry Reading

Wildflower Poetry Reading




Badgers are generally nocturnal, but, in remote areas with no human encroachment, they are routinely observed foraging during the day. They prefer open areas with grasslands, which can include parklands, farms, and treeless areas with crumbly soil and a supply of rodent prey.

Badgers are born blind, furred, and helpless. Their eyes open at four to six weeks.

Latin name: Taxidea taxus


Cottonwood Canyon Riparian Soundscape

Cottonwood Canyon Riparian Soundscape

Bringing thoughtful questions

Accepting a joint Volunteer of the Year Award with Phyllis Pengelly

Sage-grouse lek monitoring trip, Hart Mountain

Having stood shoulder-to-shoulder working with Mary at many busy ONDA events, I am delighted to see her recognized with this lifetime achievement award. Mary’s kindness, upbeat energy, can-do spirit, and relentless commitment to conservation are beyond compare.

ONDA established the Elshoff Award in 2008 to honor individuals who embody ONDA’s conservation values, and to celebrate their significant contributions to protecting Oregon’s desert wilderness.

About being named the 2021 Alice Elshoff Conservation Award recipient, Mary said, “ONDA has always been near and dear to our hearts, and we never expected anything in return. The chance to help ONDA has been award enough. I am so deeply honored.”

If you haven’t already met Mary while monitoring sage-grouse, harvesting native plants, or at the Wild and Scenic Film Festival, you can get to know her and learn her reasons for supporting conservation in Oregon’s high desert in this short video produced by ONDA in 2020.

In this video, Mary describes the ONDA community as “family” and shares her appreciation for all the people she’s met and things she’s learned while volunteering with ONDA.

Well, the feeling is mutual Mary! Thank you for your many whole-hearted contributions to our community.