What Wilderness Means

Derek Staab

A Video Challenge

Do you want to explore some little-known gems in Oregon’s high desert? Are you excited to share your experience with friends, colleagues, family and ONDA’s community? Can you produce a 2-minute video?

Yes to all of the above? Then we have a perfect volunteer project for you! This fall, we want to send three individuals, or small teams, out to explore some of the coolest Wilderness Study Areas in Oregon’s high desert.

What we’re looking for
  • Upbeat videos up to two minutes in length featuring select wild places in Oregon, and perhaps your personal connection to that place.
  • Individuals or teams that can supply their own video recording equipment and have enough editing know-how to create a rough cut put to music by October 31, 2018.
What you’ll get
  • One-on-one consultation sessions with ONDA staff before and after your video shoot.
  • Helpful maps and goodies to keep you fueled up while shooting.
  • $100 to fill up your gas tank, rent equipment or get useful new gear.

You don’t need to be a professional videographer to apply. ONDA staff will work with you to give shape to your story and to put the final edits and polish on your piece. You will want to get to know your featured location well enough to share its highlights with others, but exhaustive research is not required.

Check out “A Trip to Abert Rim Wilderness Study Area” for a sample of the kind of video we’re looking for.

ONDA will share the videos created by the selected individuals/teams on our website, our YouTube channel and other social media profiles to help people learn about some of the most interesting, remote and beautiful wild places in Oregon’s high desert.

This is a chance to explore vulnerable places, capture their significance and help protect them. Give your eastern Oregon adventures a deeper purpose!

To be considered for this video challenge, please complete the short questionnaire here or below. Deadline extended to September 3, in honor of the anniversary of the Wilderness Act!


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  


Julie Weikel on Wilderness

Julie Weikel on Wilderness


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.”

SAMPLE VIDEO: A Trip to the Abert Rim Wilderness Study Area

In the high desert of southeastern Oregon, you'll find millions of acres of wild public lands. Take a trip to Abert Rim in this short video shot and produced by ONDA independent steward Chris Schmokel. We think you'll be inspired to pay this place a visit, and maybe you'll even be inspired to shoot your own short video.

Watch Now

Pitch us

What Does Wilderness Mean to You?

Tell us why we should pick you for ONDA's video challenge.

Where would you like to go?
Who are you? Why do you want to visit this wild place?
Show us your stuff! Provide links to any short videos you've already produced or samples showing the creativity you'd bring to this video project.