Notes From the Field

Sam Hartman


Through ONDA’s 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.

Here we highlight some of the work happening on the ground through the photos, stories, and accomplishments from all of you, our intrepid, hardworking, and passionate volunteers.



Spring Basin Wilderness

Spring Basin Wilderness

Spring Basin Wilderness

With 10,000 acres of undulating terrain, secluded canyons and spectacular vantages of the John Day Country, Spring Basin is magnificent to explore This public treasure, forever protected as Wilderness, offers a profusion of desert wildflowers in the spring and year-round recreational opportunities for hikers, horseback

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Craig Terry, ONDA member and stewardship volunteer

Craig Terry, ONDA member and stewardship volunteer

“The people I have had the privilege to share time with each season keep me volunteering again and again. Who else but those ONDA staff leaders would make fresh coffee at dawn each morning or pack a watermelon all day to serve as a reward under a juniper in a steep canyon?” Craig, who grew up in northwestern Nevada, says ONDA connects him with places he loves and a mission he believes in. “My grandfather and his father put up wire fences for their ranching needs. Taking out barbed wire sort of completes a circle for me.”


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.”

Your work in November:

Jessica’s view on her WSA monitoring trip

The shorter fall days didn’t stop a few hardy Independent Stewards from heading out on their projects this month.

Volunteers reported on trail maintenance work in the Steens Mountain Wilderness, monitoring for  recreation impacts on the Alvord Desert and in the Badlands Wilderness, and Wilderness Study Area monitoring in the Prineville BLM District.

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

In your words:

“We stumbled across a beautiful view of Twelve mile canyon just outside the WSA. ” – Jessica Beauchemin


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, 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



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.