Updates from Deschutes Land Trust

(Graphic | Courtesy of Deschutes Land Trust)

The snow we’ve (mostly) all been hoping for has finally arrived! And with that, Mother Nature has quieted down for her winter slumber. Creeks silently pass through our lands with snow hugging their banks. Trees stand guard while snow melts and slowly drips off their branches. The earth gets nourished by the precipitation as it soaks into the soil. And then we’re left with bare ground to be covered by the next snow storm. We hope you are finding beauty and peace in the rhythms of nature this winter.

Read on for your Land Trust news, including our Nature Nights announcement, a hopeful note for monarch butterflies, restoration at Ochoco Preserve and more.

2022 Nature Nights Announced

The Land Trust is pleased to announce our 2022 Nature Night speaker series! Join us for these free, virtual presentations on nature-related topics. Presentations include:

January 26, 7-8:30pm: A Low-to-No Snow Future with Dr. Alan Rhoades and Dr. Erica Siirila-Woodburn. Mountain snowpacks have historically acted as natural reservoirs of water. If our climate continues to warm, however, snow loss will be exacerbated, termed a “low-to-no snow future.” Dr. Rhoades and Dr. Siirila-Woodburn will talk about the possibility of a low-to-no snow future in the Cascades and offer proactive solutions to both mitigate and adapt to our changing conditions. Learn more and register.

March 2, 7-8:30pm: Is Climate Anxiety Bad for the Planet? with Dr. Sarah Jaquette Ray. Eco-anxiety is on the rise around the world, as communities increasingly experience the effects of climate change. Dr. Ray will draw on her recent book to explore climate anxiety, who feels it and how it affects our ability to address climate change. Learn how you can manage your climate anxiety and become a stronger advocate for climate action. Learn more.

March 30, 7-8:30pm: American Pikas and Climate Change with Dr. Matt Shinderman. Dr. Shinderman will speak on the intriguing America pika and how they are adapting to major challenges like climate change, sharing the results of a five-year study of American pikas in the Pacific Northwest that suggests that they can persist in lower elevation landscapes in our high desert. Learn more.

Tickets are free, but registration is required to receive the link to join the Zoom event. Registration opens one month prior to each talk. We hope to see you there!

Restoration Supplies Begin to Arrive at Ochoco Preserve

Thanks to a local Prineville family, several large piles of juniper trees have arrived at Ochoco Preserve in preparation for the upcoming restoration at the Preserve!

We worked with a local family, who are doing a juniper removal project, to acquire 1,500 trees for the Preserve restoration. The first batch of trees arrived at the Preserve in late December. These trees will be needed in the first phase of the restoration to provide a variety of physical and natural benefits like slowing water flow and helping improve habitat for salmon and steelhead. Suffice to say, acquiring lots of whole trees to use in the restoration can be challenging. Huge thanks to the family that donated their trees! Read more.

Thank You for a Successful 2021!

As we wrap up 2021, the Land Trust would like to extend a heartfelt THANK YOU to our supporters. YOU gave Central Oregon another successful year of land conservation, stewardship and community connections to the land. YOU made our work possible by donating, volunteering, sharing our work with friends, attending our events and more. In fact, some of you did all of these things!

We can never say it enough: we appreciate you and thank you for all that you do!

Land Trust Bids Farewell to Departing Board Members

The Land Trust would like to bid a fond farewell to our board members who completed their terms at the end of 2021—Mike Cutting, Gary “Gus” Gustafson and Glenn Willard. Their dedication, time and passion was immeasurable to our success, and we thank them for their years of service.

Mike Cutting joined the Board in 2013 and completed two terms. He served as the Board Treasurer from 2016-2021. Mike continues to be an active member of the finance committee. As a former real estate broker, Mike provided the Land Trust with financial acumen and a helpful perspective. We’ll greatly miss Mike’s insightful comments and questions.

Gary “Gus” Gustafson joined the Board in 2017. He was an active member of the fundraising and board development committees and will continue to serve on the fundraising committee. In addition, Gus volunteers as a leader for the Land Trust’s Walks + Hikes program, as well as helping with our wildlife cameras. Gus’ proactive approach, insight and love of wildlife will be missed!

Glenn Willard joined the Board in 2013 and served as Board President from 2019-2021. He was an active member of the fundraising, board development and finance committees. As a member of the Conservation Alliance and an outdoor industry professional, Glenn brought his business skills and love of outdoor recreation to the Board. We’ll miss Glenn’s quick smile, optimism and willingness to always pitch in. Read more.

Renewed Hope for Western Monarch Butterflies

This year is starting off on a hopeful note for Western monarch butterflies! In December, the Xerces Society reported preliminary overwintering Western monarch population numbers at a little more than 200,000!

Land Trust stewardship director Amanda Egertson says, “final numbers will be tallied in the coming months, but this is VERY exciting news to all of us who have been watching the precipitous decline of Western monarchs and planting as much native milkweed and other pollinator friendly plants as fast and as plentiful as possible.”

This staggering “bounce” represents at least a 100x increase in population size from last year’s dismal tally of less than 2,000 individual overwintering butterflies.

Does this mean we’re in good shape and can safely stop conserving and restoring habitat for monarch butterflies? NO!! Just the opposite! It means we need to continue to expand our efforts. Read more

Land Trust Census Released

The Land Trust Alliance recently released a comprehensive report showing land trusts across the nation conserved a staggering 61 million acres by 2020. That’s an increase of 15 million acres since 2010, and an area of protected land more than all the national parks combined. Key Findings include:

  • 868,695 total acres were protected in Oregon. Learn more about Oregon’s combined efforts.
  • 17,523 acres conserved by the Deschutes Land Trust.
  • During a global pandemic, land trusts provided solace for many Americans. More than 16.7 million people visited land trust properties in 2020, an increase from 6.25 million in 2015.
  • Land trusts maintain 9,761 miles of trails — more than three times the width of the United States.
  • Land trusts are working to address issues of diversity and inclusion: 78 percent of land trusts are engaging people of diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds, older adults, veterans or active-duty military, people living with disabilities and LGBTQ+ individuals. Learn more about Deschutes Land Trust’s Equity Commitment.
  • Land trusts increasingly are seeking ways to address climate change: 74 percent of land trusts have increased their focus on climate change since 2015.

Learn more

Reminder: Snowy Weather Limits Preserve Access

With recent snowfall and more predicted for the future, the Land Trust would like to remind the community that access to Land Trust Community Preserves may be limited due to snow. Land Trust Preserves are not plowed, including access roads and parking lots. Please be mindful of this before you head out!


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