Stewardship Trips

Feel like getting your hands dirty to keep the high desert healthy and thriving? You’ve come to the right place!
Oregon Natural Desert Association’s stewardship trips provide an incredible opportunity to help the wild lands and wildlife you love. Volunteer today!


What defines Oregon’s high desert?

What defines Oregon’s high desert?

Bounded by the Cascade Mountains to the west and the Blue Mountains to the north, Oregon’s high desert covers approximately 24,000 square miles. Annual rainfall in the high desert varies from 5 to 14 inches. The average elevation is 4,000 feet; at 9,733 feet, the summit of Steens Mountain is the highest point in Oregon’s high desert. The terrain of the high desert was mostly formed by a series of lava flows that occurred between 30 and 10 million years ago.

Sources: The Oregon Encyclopedia; Wikipedia  


Jane Heisler, Sage Society Member

Jane Heisler, Sage Society Member

I love to travel and I love the desert! Supporting ONDA monthly allows me to hit the road without forgetting Oregon’s high desert—even when I’m not there.


Bonnie Olin, 2017 Volunteer of the Year

Bonnie Olin, 2017 Volunteer of the Year

“If you spend enough time in the wild, it will change you. So it was for me in Oregon’s high desert, especially in the Owyhee Canyonlands.” To support ONDA, Bonnie says, is to strive to protect the very values of Oregon’s high desert that are critical to the human experience: quiet and connectedness with nature. “Oregon’s desert,” she says, “broadens your understanding of your relationship to all living things.”


All ONDA stewardship trips are cancelled for the remainder of 2020.

As much as we want to be working with volunteers to restore Oregon’s desert lands, maintaining the health and safety of our volunteers, as well as the agency partners, staff and the communities we work in and travel through, had to be our top priority. Cancelling the remainder of our scheduled trips will allow ONDA’s stewardship staff to engage in a number of desert restoration efforts that will make strong contributions to improving the health of the desert ecosystem this year.

To hear more about the volunteer opportunities we plan to host in 2021, please subscribe to ONDA’s e-newsletters.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are you taking part in one of ONDA’s stewardship trips, or thinking about it? Here are some answers to frequently asked questions.   How much does it cost to volunteer? While it is free to volunteer, ONDA collects a refundable $25 deposit to ensure those who register actually participate on our projects. After each...

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Sage Brown   Website

Independent Stewards

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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Trip Difficulty Ratings

Oregon Natural Desert Association created these trip difficulty ratings at the request of past and prospective trip participants to help them compare our trip options, and judge which trip is right for them at the time.

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Volunteer T-Shirts for Sale

Show your commitment to the high desert with one of our new volunteer t-shirts. With four fun designs and five colors from which to choose, you are sure to find one you'll love. A portion of each sale benefits our stewardship program.

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Scenes from 2019 Stewardship Trips

Volunteering on an ONDA stewardship offers you a whole new perspective on the wonders of Oregon’s high desert.

Up in the predawn light to monitor a sage-grouse lek

Darin Swanson

Lunch breaks with expansive views

Mark Darnell

Clearing trails to keep hikers safe

Michele Patrick

Goofing around in the mid-day summer sun

Lisa Foster

Learning new skills and working together

Elizabeth McLagen