Deschutes Land Trust Recognizes Outstanding Volunteers

Sisters residents Jay Mather and Steve Ponder and Bend resident Jan Rising are honored
Bend, OR Oct 30, 2018

The Deschutes Land Trust presented three Central Oregonians with Volunteer Awards at its annual Open House on October 25. Jay Mather, Steve Ponder, and Jan Rising were honored as Volunteers of the Year. This award is given annually to Land Trust volunteers who have provided outstanding service in the last year.

Jay Mather has been a Land Trust volunteer since 2007. A retired professional photographer, Jay donates his time taking stunning photos that help tell the story of the Land Trust’s work. For more than 10 years, Jay has been joining us rain or shine or snow to capture the events that mark the day or the decade. From massive stream restoration projects to delicate releases of monarch butterflies, we are so grateful that he has been there, camera in hand, so we can share our work with others. Jay was presented with one of three 2018 Volunteer of the Year Awards.

Steve Ponder has been a Land Trust volunteer since 2016. If you hike the trails of any of our Community Preserves, you may have had the pleasure of being greeted by Steve. Steve helped pioneer our Trail Ambassador program in 2017 and continues to devote many hours to being on the trail, meeting visitors, and sharing the Land Trust’s work with others. His regular trail reports help us understand use at our Preserves, and his conversations with visitors help connect the community to our protected lands. Steve was presented with one of three 2018 Volunteer of the Year Awards.

Jan Rising has been a Land Trust volunteer since 2010. An avid birder, Jan teaches and inspires others to appreciate Central Oregon through the avian world. She leads bird walks for the Land Trust and has contributed a great deal to our bird survey program by conducting regular bird surveys and training new volunteers. When we need someone to fill in for a tour, teach a class at the public library, or even take the staff out birding, Jan is there to help! Jan was presented with one of three 2018 Volunteer of the Year Awards.

“These three outstanding volunteers really exemplify the depth and breadth of the Land Trust volunteer family. We are so fortunate to have so many dedicated volunteers who donate their time year after year for the projects they love. It is these exceptional people who make it possible for the Land Trust to conserve and protect the best of Central Oregon,” said Sarah Mowry, the Land Trust’s outreach director.

Volunteers donated more than 5,200 hours to the Deschutes Land Trust during the past year. In the process, they’ve improved wildlife habitat, sunk roots in the community and made a commitment to helping others experience the best of Central Oregon. The Land Trust is truly indebted to the community of volunteers who support land conservation in Central Oregon. Congratulations to Jay, Steve, and Jan for their outstanding contributions!

The Deschutes Land Trust is Central Oregon’s locally-based, nationally-accredited land trust. Since 1995, the Deschutes Land Trust has protected more than 9,115 acres for wildlife, scenic views, and local communities. For more information on the Deschutes Land Trust, contact us at (541) 330-0017 or visit

Deschutes Land Trust
Lands in trust protected forever

NOTE: Photos of Volunteers of the Year are available.