Notes From the Field

Sam Hartman

Welcome!

ONDA stewardship in the time of COVID looks quite different this year, but through our Independent Stewards program you are helping us accomplish lots of impactful work on the public lands that make the high desert of eastern Oregon so incredible.

Please check back on this page throughout the year as we highlight the work happening on the ground through the photos, stories, and accomplishments from all of you, our intrepid, hardworking, and passionate volunteers.


 

watch

Sage-grouse Mating Dance

Sage-grouse Mating Dance

watch

Volunteer Accomplishment in Hart-Sheldon

Volunteer Accomplishment in Hart-Sheldon

listen

Greater Sage Grouse and Sparrows at Hart Mountain

Greater Sage Grouse and Sparrows at Hart Mountain

Your work in August:

Tim Zook of Powell Butte, Oregon enjoyed “a symphony of ‘donner und blitzen’ several hours long” while camped near his chosen trail section in Big Indian Gorge.

Working in eastern Oregon’s public lands always presents challenging conditions, and summer 2021 has been no exception. However, in spite of extreme heat waves, rapidly expanding wildfires, and drought, our independent stewards are continuing to accomplish a heroic amount of good work across the high desert.

Volunteers conducted trail maintenance/monitoring work along the Alder Springs Trail near Whychus Creek and in the Steens Mountain Wilderness, and recreation impact monitoring on the Alvord Desert.

 

** Your volunteer contributions will be counted when you fill out the report following your trip, and will make you eligible for the raffle.

To date all stewardship activities have tallied an impressive 4,046 hours for the year!

In your words:

“I really enjoyed completing the Alder Springs monitoring project because it gave me the opportunity to explore somewhere I had never been before. The spring at the bottom of the canyon was beautiful.” – Hallie Wilkerson


 

Each month all volunteers who contributed to an ONDA project will be entered to win these fabulous prizes from some of our business members. Your completed project report is an automatic entry for this monthly drawing. Fill out your report now.

Drawings will occur during the first week of each month, and include goodies from ONDA, Backporch Coffee, Miir, TOAKS Titanium, and Backpackers Pantry.


 

Show off the good work you are doing across the desert with our expanded Independent Stewards projects. You can:

  1. Email a photo or two of you completing the project to monitoring@onda.org, or
  2. Use the #independentONDA hashtag on your Instagram photos and they will be pulled into this page below!

And, if you are not already following ONDA’s Instagram, head to @theoregondesert to join in the photo fun.

Show us your #independentONDA

“I had never been southeast of La Pine before, and this was a grand adventure, a voyage of discovery. I loved everything about it including identifying dragonflies, butterflies, and birds at the campground." - Charlene Hiss, an independent steward from Vancouver, Washington

Charlene was one of the first volunteers to sign up when ONDA launched an adopt-a-mile effort for 30+ miles where the Oregon Desert Trail and Fremont National Recreation Trail overlap

Volunteers agree to monitor their chosen mile-long section, clear the trail corridor with loppers and handsaws and flag more difficult trail maintenance needs for the U.S. Forest Service, which makes good use of their limited staff time.

It's been challenging, since volunteers had only a short window after the snow melted out and before the start of the Bootleg Fire closed the area, but they will be back as soon as it is safe again.

#independentONDA #OregonDesertTrail #FremontNationalRecreationTrail #ONDATrail #BootlegFire #FremontWinemaNationalForest #wildflowers #dragonflies #butterflies #birds
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NOTES FROM THE FIELD: Native bull trout and redband trout in the Malheur River drainage can look forward to cooler river temperatures, thanks to the volunteers who helped the Malheur National Forest’s Prairie City Ranger District to plant well over 4,000 native plants to jump start the riparian restoration process along West Summit Creek.

As if that weren't awesome enough, these volunteers also repaired two miles of protective fencing that had been damaged by downed trees over the winter. Keeping those streamside fences in good repair will protect more than 100 acres of critical riparian habitat and allow native plants to become established and spread.

It's impressive work for just eleven volunteers over the course of one month, but, then again, that’s the kind of hard work we’ve come to expect from our determined volunteers.

Photo: Donna Raynalds

#stewardship #volunteering #MalheurNationalForest #independentONDA #willows
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In May we ventured down to SE Oregon to work on an independent steward project with theoregondesert. Beatys Butte and surrounding areas provide critical winter and migratory habitat for pronghorn antelope, sage grouse and other native wildlife. Existing barbed wire fencing can entangle sage grouse and pose a barrier to the daily movement and seasonal migration of antelope. By mapping and documenting existing barbed wire fence, we were able to support ONDA’s efforts to potentially remove obsolete fencing and/or retrofit other fencing to mitigate these hazards. #independentONDA #voluntourism #oregonhighdesert ...

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#independentONDA and the team at Element Bend are proud to announce the Badlands Rock Trailhead is litter free. And we may have even had a little fun during the trail clean up too! ...

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Thanks to @sourceweekly for covering ONDA's Independent Stewards program. We have a ton of opportunities for folks to help monitor and steward the Oregon Desert Trail (including stuff you can do on your hike).

Sign up to become a volunteer and add some purpose to your next adventure in the high desert!

Link to register in the profile 👆
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Looking for a match?

Tell ONDA your interests and skills and we will put you to work completing meaningful desert stewardship.

Sign up to become an ONDA Independent Steward and you'll be pitching in on a massive effort to restore, monitor and advocate for the desert wildest and most beloved places. In 2021, we aim to:

🌲Plant over 12,000 native trees and shrubs along desert streams like Hay Creek and the South Fork Crooked River
🛶Inventory proposed wild and scenic rivers from Steens Mountain to the Owyhee Canyonlands
👀Monitor wildlands and wildlife habitat on Hart Mountain, the Alvord Desert and other critical landscapes
🗺️ Survey 100 miles of the oregonddeserttrail

This work will take place across millions of acres. Can we count on you to help? #independentONDA

Image: Hiker gazing out over Lake Abert. Credit: David Hanson
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All of you out there who want to hike and give back at the same time, we have an ambitious plan to steward almost 100 miles of trail this year through ONDA's new Independent Stewards program, so we need you!

You will be hiking and doing light trail work on the Oregon Desert Trail and beyond (primarily along the Fremont National Recreation Trail and Steens Mountain trails).

These projects will come online in June, but apply now and indicate your interest. We are busy building out all the project details, but if you already know you want to go, block off some time on your calendar and get ready to hike and make a difference on the Oregon Desert Trail!

☝ link in the profile
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Longing to hear a meadowlark’s song? This sign of spring will soon be heard across Oregon’s high desert, and we hope you’ll be there to hear it.

This year, we invite you to become an ONDA Independent Steward.

Fill out the application form today (link in bio) and we will give you all the tools to complete meaningful work while you’re out exploring Oregon’s impressively wild high desert.

Image: Western meadowlark, singing. Credit: Greg Burke

#independentONDA
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Desert daydreams?
We can help with that. 😉

Sign up to become an ONDA Independent Steward. You tell us your interests and skills and we will put you to work completing meaningful desert stewardship.

With ONDA’s group stewardship trips still on hold due to the pandemic, we’ll be counting on Independent Stewards to restore, monitor and advocate for the places we love.

In 2021, we are aiming to:

🌲Plant over 12,000 native trees and shrubs along desert streams like Hay Creek and the South Fork Crooked River
🛶Inventory proposed wild and scenic rivers from Steens Mountain to the Owyhee Canyonlands
👀Monitor wildlands and wildlife habitat on Hart Mountain, the Alvord Desert and other critical landscapes

This work will take place across millions of acres. Can we count on you to help? #independentONDA

Image: Hiker gazing out over Lake Abert. Credit: David Hanson
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Road walk

#independentONDA
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Text your support

Have you joined our Text to Take Action program? Put the power to advocate for the high desert in your hands. You’ll receive relevant notices when it’s time to speak up for your favorite wild places.

Simply text “ONDA” to 52886 and answer a few quick questions. When opportunities arise to advocate for Oregon’s high desert, you’ll be first to know when and how to take action.

Wear your support

Looking to sport some ONDA swag next time you head out to the desert? You’re in luck, we’ve designed some ONDA volunteer shirts.

You can check out the designs here; $6 from each shirt sold will go back to ONDA, and you will be able to show that you “Give a Dam!”

An early morning for ISP volunteer Karen Lillebo

Jim Davis

Staff from the Element Hotel in Bend did a trash pickup project at the Badlands Wilderness

A group of Cairn employees pulled invasive spotted knapweed from the Alder Springs area in June.