Tribal Stewards

Sage Brown   Website

ONDA’s tribal stewards program offers Native American young adults with deep ancestral ties to eastern Oregon’s public lands an introduction to conservation careers and provides hands‐on experience and opportunities for personal growth within a culturally relevant framework. This community‐designed project was created in partnership with Northwest Youth Corps, Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs, Burns Paiute Tribe and federal agencies.

Through an immersive field‐based program, participants restore streams, uplands and trails on federal and tribal lands and conduct scientific research. In addition to gaining practical restoration and research experience, the tribal stewards receive mentorship from natural resources professionals and gain a deep connection to the tribal and federally‐managed lands that make up their ancestral homeland.

This program, which offers paid positions with education awards upon completion, serves to address a growing disconnect with wild places among tribal young adults, underrepresentation in conservation and land management careers, and a lack of opportunity to gain professional skills needed to enter the natural resources field. For decades, ONDA has worked to protect and restore culturally significant public lands, and ONDA recognizes that to improve the effectiveness of this work, we must deepen our relationships with tribes and embrace their priorities.

2022 projects

In 2022, Tribal Stewards will spend five weeks working across eastern Oregon on a range on projects, including: trail maintenance at John Day Fossil Beds, juniper abatement on Burns Paiute Tribe’s Denny Jones property, beaver dam analogue maintenance along Camp Creek in the Malheur National Forest, fisheries and native plant projects at Burn Paiute Tribe’s Logan Valley property, and fencing springs along headwater creeks of the Malheur River in the Malheur National Forest.

2022 Assistant Crew Lead and Crew Member positions are open now.

Learn more and apply

voices

Karen Garber, volunteer since 2017

Karen Garber, volunteer since 2017

So glad we got to do a stewardship trip with ONDA this summer, and now I’m more inspired than ever to start hiking the Oregon Desert Trail in bits and pieces.

listen

South Fork Crooked River and Birds

South Fork Crooked River and Birds

voices

Scott Bowler, ONDA member from Portland

Scott Bowler, ONDA member from Portland

The desert speaks for itself, but very softly. I support ONDA to promote and enable discovery of the amazing beauty and recreational opportunities of the high desert by much broader groups of people; and most especially to protect forever the full and diverse landscape of the Owyhee Canyonlands, a place without parallel or equal in our country.”

Lace Thornberg

Sage Brown

Sage Brown   Website

Our Aim

To inspire tribal young adults to pursue careers in the conservation field while supporting the restoration of eastern Oregon wildlands.

Our intended outcomes include:
  1. Participants gain marketable career skills and forge new connections to place.
  2. Tribal members become better represented within the field of conservation.
  3. The on-the-ground work accomplished makes meaningful improvements to fish and wildlife habitat throughout Oregon’s high desert.