Project Ponderosa: Teaching, Inspiring, Planting, Learning 


Project Ponderosa was founded in 2006 by Sunriver resident and retired life science teacher Lee Stevenson to promote student environmental engagement and Ponderosa Pine restoration in Sunriver, Oregon and the upper-Deschutes River ecosystem. Since the project's inception, over 12,000 seedlings have been potted and maintained by students at Three Rivers School and La Pine High School and more than $12,000 has been raised to support non-profit organizations both locally and internationally. 

Ponderosa Pines are a hardy, majestic native conifer but have been historically heavily logged. However, they are significantly more resistant to disease, mountain pine beetles, drought and wind damage than Lodgepole Pines and are fire resistant when mature, due to their thick, scaly cinnamon colored bark. Planting Ponderosa Pines helps to restore forest diversity in the Sunriver ecosystem, while preserving the Sunriver community's 'Tree City USA' tradition.

Sunriver Nature Center is proud to support Project Pondersoa through a semi-annual Ponderosa Pine seedling sale and educational opportunities throughout the year. The fall 2017 tree sale is scheduled for Friday, October 13 through Sunday, October 22 (closed Monday and Tuesday) at the Nature Center. Seedlings will be available in various sizes and prices will range from $8 to $30. Detailed planting instructions will be provided with all seedling purchases and can be viewed here

Project Ponderosa Goals

  • Begin to restore a durable and valuable species in our Upper Deschutes ecosystem.
  • Involve local students in potting and caring for the Ponderosa seedlings.
  • Engage and inform students and home owners of the need for restoring this once common conifer to our community.
  • Provide a source of established, potted Ponderosa seedlings to be used for habitat restoration, school fundraisers, Sunriver Nature Center sales.
  • Improved forest diversity and health of the Upper Deschutes River ecosystem in and around Sunriver.
  • Spark student interest in ecology, forestry, and horticulture as instill an appreciation for the value of forest diversity.
  • Raise money for various organizations and educational and environmental projects.
  • Enhance property values and improve neighborhood aesthetics.

Lee Stevenson, is the founder and coordinator of 'Project Ponderosa'. Lee can be contacted at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Volunteer Opportunities

There are several ways you can get involved in this award-winning environmental and educational project.

  • Donations of 2 gallon and larger nursery pots may be dropped off at the Second Tern or the Sunriver Nature Center during business hours.
  • Nursery and Potting Work Days: Contact Lee Stevenson (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) for more information about the next volunteer opportunity. 

Project Ponderosa is supported by the following partners: 

  • Sunriver Nature Center & Observatory
  • Sunriver Water & Environmental, LLC
  • La Pine High Life Skills Program: Ken Thorp
  • Three Rivers Elementary School, Sunriver
  • Sunriver Resort and Sunriver Realty
  • The Mervyn L Brenner Foundation
  • Landscapers: Klaver Landscaping, Twin Pines Landscaping, Deschutes Environmental Service, East Side Gardens, Landsystems Nursery, and Moonfire and Sun
  • Nursery Team Volunteers: John Holbrook, Alan Rutherford, Heidi Supkis, Dean Richardson, and Mike Daggett

Earth Day Tree Planting

A special thanks to Three Rivers classes of Mr. Jantze, Mr. Gleeson, and Mr. Thorp, the Life Skills program at La Pine High, and to Sunriver Water & Environment LLC, and the Mervyn L. Brenner Foundation.