Your responses are in!

Bruce Couch

Author: Hana Sant |  Published: November 7, 2023  |  Category: Look Back

The results of our 2023 member survey

This summer, we surveyed our members to learn more about your experience as an ONDA member and what aspects of desert conservation are most important to you. Over 500 of you replied — thank you!

Here’s what we learned from your feedback.

You have a deep connection to Oregon’s desert
Photo: Bruce Couch

Whether you live in Oregon’s high desert, or admire it from afar, your love for it is immense and inspiring.

“Oregon’s high desert resonates with me on a deep soul level that is hard to put into words.”

“Oregon’s desert reminds me, as an urban dweller, of the necessity of natural spaces like deserts both for their cultural and ecological importance as well as their beauty and wildness. I am grateful for ONDA’s work to educate, protect, and advocate for these incredible places.”

“The smell of sagebrush & juniper in the morning, the sound of feeding nighthawks in the evening, the wide-open spaces, the rivers and creeks bearing salmon and trout despite the heat.”

 “I love the incredible landscapes, the wildlife that inhabit them, the immense diversity of plant life and the different seasons that showcase the natural beauty, the smells of the earth and especially the sagebrush, the solitude that envelops me and the connection we have to these remarkable areas.”

 “I love the wild areas, the subtle beauty, the unique geological history and the incredible livings things that live and thrive here.”

“Oregon’s high desert is a magical place. Unique, to me. The multi-diverse aspects of its topography and history. It is not close to me physically, since I live in Eugene, but it is a place that allows me to feel deep, expanded and free when I spend time there. I especially love to go there while participating in one of ONDA’s stewardship adventures. Then, I really get to feel a part of the specialness of the high desert.”

Feel like sharing the beauty of Oregon’s high desert with someone you love? Consider sending them a 2024 Wild Desert Calendar.

You believe ONDA is an effective organization

Throughout the survey, this response could clearly be seen – you think ONDA is an effective, dedicated conservation group for Oregon’s high desert.

“ONDA has been a powerful advocate for Oregon’s desert for years and do an amazing job communicating and sharing the beauty of Oregon’s drier side.”

“ONDA is one of the most effective and politically savvy conservation advocates in Oregon.”

“ONDA recognizes the importance of protecting and preserving these high desert regions and they fight the good fight with great integrity, intelligence and in the spirit of transparent and truthful communications.”

When asked how you would describe ONDA to a friend, the words that we saw repeated the most included effective, dedicated, educational, organized, focused, and important.

Your enduring support and advocacy make all the difference. Be sure to visit ONDA’s website to stay informed on advocacy and volunteer opportunities.

You know your ONDA membership is making a difference

Of the programs and initiatives your gifts to ONDA support, the three most important to you are:

  • advocating for conservation management of public lands, waters, fish and wildlife
  • challenging policies or management activities that harm Oregon’s high desert
  • promoting and supporting conservation legislation, policies, programs and activities

And, a majority of you said you feel your donations are making an impact on conservation goals in Oregon’s high desert. We have to agree – in 2023 alone your support and advocacy have resulted in a new national monument campaign for the Owyhee Canyonlands, organizing opposition to an industrial mining proposal in the McDermitt Caldera, and a multi-year partnership with the BLM to expand restoration in the Crooked River watershed. Your dedicated support is the reason we are able to be an effective, impactful organization – thank you!

When asked why you choose to donate to ONDA, you highlighted our communications and volunteer opportunities, as well as our passionate staff and history of success.

“I chose to support ONDA because they are a proven source of the power of individuals to make a change. What started as a grassroots organization has time and again fought to protect the high desert. Not only the passion of their staff but the enthusiasm that has made so many of their members and volunteers passionate, too! I have learned so much on so many topics and levels, made life-long friends and made so many differences in our high desert, all because of ONDA!”

“I chose not only to support ONDA but also to volunteer at every opportunity because of the mission to protect, restore and advocate for our high desert. ONDA is a viable organization filled with passionate staff & volunteers all working tirelessly to care for our high desert.”

“My history of enjoying the desert spans almost 60 years, and I support ONDA so that others may have that opportunity, too.”

And, since a quarter of you became involved with ONDA through a friend or family member, we recommend paying it forward by giving a gift membership to someone who cares about the future of Oregon’s high desert.

You are dedicated to learning

ONDA members love learning more about the high desert, whether you’ve lived there for decades or have yet to visit.

Photo: Lena Land

Over 55% of you feel your knowledge of conservation issues has grown “a great deal” or “a lot” since becoming an ONDA member. And, your responses show you are hungry for more! The topics you are most eager to learn more about include natural history, threats to the desert, success stories, where-to, and cultural history.

One member explained, “Coming from the “other side” of the mountains, ONDA stewardship trips introduce me to this region in a way nothing else can. It’s the combination of the background knowledge and stories with boots on the ground and sleeping under those stars that deepens my appreciation. When I’m back home, newsletters and events keep me updated and connected. I’m so impressed with how comprehensive the ONDA conservation and remediation work is, and I see the efforts to acknowledge and elevate the voices and knowledge of Indigenous people who have cared for and lived on these lands for millennia.”

Rest assured, we hear you, and we are busy making plans for a wide variety of educational blog posts, events and opportunities to connect with the ONDA community through the end of this year and in 2024 (both in-person and online).

Do you have other feedback to share? Email me with your thoughts today, and thank you for speaking up on behalf of Oregon’s high desert wild lands, waterways and wildlife.


Mary McCord, ONDA Volunteer

Mary McCord, ONDA Volunteer

“I find enjoyment in the peaceful wide open spaces, geology, and rich history of Oregon’s high desert,” says Mary. Reflecting on volunteering, she continues, “If you have the ability and desire, it’s important to do something to contribute. It doesn’t have to be big, because every little bit helps.”


Aaron Tani, Sage Society Member

Aaron Tani, Sage Society Member

“It feels good to support ONDA on a monthly basis, because I know they never stop supporting our public lands. ONDA works to help make our lands a better place for the future, and I feel like I’m a part of that every month with my support.”


Sarah Graham, Sage Sustainers Member

Sarah Graham, Sage Sustainers Member

“I contribute to ONDA monthly because it adds up to a larger annual gift than what I’d be able to comfortably afford if I were to do a simple one-time donation annually. I’m able to give more to ONDA this way and have greater impact which is important to me, and my dog Polly.”