Jim Anderson installs a bird box on Deschutes Land Trust lands. photo by Alan St. John
Jim Anderson installs a bird box on Deschutes Land Trust lands. photo by Alan St. John
Jim and Sue Anderson were honored as Deschutes Land Trust 2020 Volunteers of the Year.

Each year, the Land Trust recognizes volunteers who have provided outstanding service to the organization and its effort to conserve and care for land in Central Oregon. Though this year has been unlike any other, and the volunteer landscape has changed considerably, the Land Trust still wanted to recognize the people who dedicate themselves to the land.

Jim Anderson has been a Land Trust volunteer since the early 2000s. A lifelong naturalist, Anderson has dedicated a portion of his time to help wildlife thrive at Land Trust Preserves. Whether helping establish initial wildlife lists or building and installing nesting boxes for birds or flying squirrels, Jim’s efforts always enriched habitat for wildlife.

Those who have met Jim Anderson also know that he is a lifelong storyteller. Combine stories and the natural world and visitors get an amazing natural history tour. Jim led tours for the Land Trust for many years at many of our protected lands. His tales of the forest and vast knowledge of the natural world have delighted many hike participants over the years.

Sue Anderson has also been a Land Trust volunteer since the early 2000s. A local butterfly expert, much of Sue’s volunteer time has been spent dazzling children and adults alike on her annual butterfly walks at the Land Trust’s Metolius Preserve. During these walks, Sue helps people observe butterflies up close and shares their natural history so attendees leave with a mix of wonderment, newfound knowledge, and motivation to do whatever they can to help butterflies. Over the years, Sue has developed such a dedicated cadre of followers that they scramble to get a spot on one of her tours so they can then scramble through the woods, chasing butterflies in her cheerful company.

Deschutes Land Trust has also announced three new inductees into their Cottonwood Circle — an elite group of individuals who have volunteered for 10 or more years with the Land Trust. The Cottonwood Circle is named for the majestic black cottonwoods that line Whychus Creek at several Land Trust Preserves.

Today, cottonwoods are rare in their distribution across Central Oregon. It is this rarity, like the volunteers who stick with the organization for 10 or more years, that inspires the Land Trust to honor and revere these special trees and special people that are integral to a healthy landscape, a healthy land trust, and a healthy future. This year’s Cottonwood Circle inductees are Kathy Johnson, Kris Kristovich, and Jim Nicol.

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

The Deschutes Land Trust has protected more than 17,523 acres for wildlife, scenic views, and local communities. For more information on the Deschutes Land Trust, call 541-330-0017 or visit www.deschuteslandtrust.org.