Part 2. ONDA-sponsored Wild and Scenic Short-Film Festival
I couldn’t sleep for several nights before setting out on this circuit, fretting about how to handle a cougar attack or a flat tire on back country roads. [Cougar image credit] So I opted to start my volunteering week at a Friday film festival in civilized downtown Bend, where I could call Triple-A, and the only likely cougar sightings might be divorcees flirting with snowboarders. Where to park (and sleep in) JT in town near the theater? True to the laid-back Bend vibe, a friend from my OMN field course invited me to park in her driveway for the 2 nights in Bend. I plugged into her garage outlet, and had my own 2-star movable guest room.
About ten of us volunteered at the Wild and Scenic Film Festival sponsored by Oregon Natural Desert Association (ONDA). We took membership applications and donations, and peddled raffle tickets. Caelin, our ONDA staffer, also treated us to excellent pizza and a drink on the house.
ONDA’s mission is “to protect, defend and restore Oregon’s high desert.” ONDA envisions “millions of acres of beautiful and ecologically vital public lands permanently protected, home to diverse populations of wildlife, and available for future generations to enjoy….[providing] the public with outstanding opportunities to experience backcountry solitude.” How awesome is that?
The evening event presented 10 short films about a wide array of wild and scenic adventurers, including: a river explorer, two self-described badass Nepalese women climbing in the Himalayas, two cartographers mapping unexplored Patagonia (Arg.) Park, a raptor migration corridor, and a compelling wacky 4-minute (unofficial) History of the National Parks. [Go on, click the link— I guarantee you will want to watch it more than once.] The theater filled its 350 seats for two showings. The thing that struck me most about this crowd of folks was their warmth. I’m accustomed membership tables where people scurry by, avoiding eye contact, afraid of being hit up for money. But these folks came up and chatted, opened their wallets, and asked about ONDA’s work. One woman opted to pay the full membership amount rather than the event-discounted rate. That’s who ONDA draws. Lovers of the outdoors, adventurers, conservationists, environmental activists—all generous with their time, money, and desire to share stewardship responsibility of wondrous spaceship earth.
Hours worked at the film fest: 7
An enjoyable, cougar-free night! ONDA and its staff get two thumbs up for this event!