High Desert Project News

Newsletter  |  Issue 1

Letter from Us

We are thrilled to bring you the inaugural edition of the High Desert Project newsletter, a medium that will serve as an ongoing connection to this initiative.

The High Desert Project was born out of Don Kerr’s founding vision for the High Desert Museum to be a place for diverse individuals to come together and engage in dialogue about the High Desert region. We see this vision in action through moments of wonder and discovery every day at the Museum. Through the power of shared experiences, the High Desert Project deepens this vision, bringing people together to spark curiosity and build respect for different perspectives around issues that matter to all of us.

Through this newsletter, you will learn about current and upcoming series, explore significant topics and questions, and hear about opportunities for High Desert Project alumni. As High Desert Project alumni, we invite you to continue to actively participate in this initiative. Share your stories, engage in conversations, and help us shape the future of the High Desert Project.

We are excited to build on this initial foundation to advance the long-term goals of the High Desert Project. Our hope is that together we can grow this initiative into something that even we can’t imagine over the next 75 years. Thank you for being part of the inaugural High Desert Project.

– The High Desert Project Team


Alumni Voices

In each edition of the High Desert Project Newsletter, we present thought-provoking prompts designed to ignite conversations among our valued alumni. Share your perspectives by responding to these prompts through the link below and your contribution could be highlighted in the upcoming issue!

What is your vision for the High Desert region in 75 years?

Let us know what you hope for our community and landscape.

Submit Thoughts


Current Series Update

Wolves on the High Desert Landscape

The “Wolves on the High Desert Landscape” series has kicked off with our first two events. In January, we welcomed Dr. Doug Smith, retired Senior Wildlife Biologist from Yellowstone National Park, who shared personal insight into his role in the reintroduction of wolves to the area’s ecosystem.

In February, we shared an evening with artist, knowledge holder, traditional healer, and language expert Dr. Philip Cash Cash and Biologist for the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs, Camille. The discussion delved into the profound cultural significance of wolves for Plateau tribes, alongside contemporary challenges with wolf management within the reservation.

Across these initial events, a recurring theme has been the concept of a “beachhead” for wolves in Oregon—an area where wolves could establish a viable, self-sustaining population. Dr. Smith suggested the west side of the Cascades, with its higher tolerance for wolves in the landscape, as a potential location. Insights from Camille prompted contemplation about the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs Reservation serving as a suitable beachhead due to its landmass and greater community tolerance.

Here are some of the questions the cohort is considering –

We invite your perspectives on the possibility of a beachhead in Oregon. Where do you envision this potential area, and what complications might arise?

In what ways do cultural perspectives and practices influence wolf conservation initiatives, especially considering the rich cultural diversity in Oregon?

How should we define and measure success in wolf conservation, considering both ecological indicators and the well-being of local communities?

Stay tuned, we’ll revisit the wolf series in our next newsletter with updates from the final two events!


Upcoming Series

Discarded: What We Make, What We Toss, and What it Means for Our Community

Starting in April, the High Desert Project will embark on an exploration of waste through the series Discarded: What We Make, What We Toss, and What it Means for Our Community. This series will explore not only the physical elements of waste and how it moves through our community, but also how we as individuals come to develop our perceptions about what we classify as waste and how it should be treated. From tours of local facilities, a trip back in time with Archeologists from the USFS in Sisters, to reflections on our personal perspectives, this series will shed light on the intricate web of connections between our community and its waste.

Do you know someone who might be interested in participating?

Learn more and apply


Save the Date!

High Desert Project Annual Alumni Reunion

Tuesday, June 25th 2024

Bend, Oregon

Save the Date! This summer, we are excited to announce the second annual High Desert Project Alumni Reunion featuring Manu Meel from Bridge USA and The Hopeful Majority. This event is your chance to reconnect with your series cohort and meet other alumni within the project.