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FIELD GUIDE: Deadly Fungus Threatens Bats, Airs June 16


It’s described as one of the worst wildlife disasters in our nation’s history. Bats are dying by the millions all along the East Coast due to a condition called white-nose syndrome, and it’s quickly making its way towards Oregon. OREGON FIELD GUIDE investigates the history and causes of white-nose and asks, “Can Oregon’s bats be saved?” Tune in to the stations of Oregon Public Broadcasting on Thursday, June 16 at 8:30pm. Also a look at a revolutionary map-making tool and what it’s telling us about some hidden dangers; and how a community comes together to help protect an urban wetland species.

White-Nose Syndrome - In a single hour, a bat can devour 600 insects. But on the East Coast and in nine states as far west as Oklahoma, the good work bats do is threatened. Entire colonies of bats are being wiped out by a mysterious condition known as white-nose syndrome.

First discovered in 2006 in a cave in New York, white-nose covers the noses of bats with a tell-tail white residue and destroys the flesh of bats’ wings, leaving bats helpless as they slowly starve to death. The fungus suspected of causing white-nose was likely introduced into the U.S. from Europe, and scientists suspect cavers may be playing a role in spreading it to new areas.

 In Oregon, researchers are keeping a close lookout at bat populations and trying to come up with a plan to protect them. Many caves in the East and Midwest have been closed. But talking cave closure is not popular with the thousands of tourists and cavers who enjoy their subterranean adventures.

LIDAR/Pits of Mystery - Some amazing technology is revolutionizing mapmaking, allowing cartographers to examine the surface of the earth as never before. The technology uses virtual deforestation to reveal details – some mysterious and some dangerous. Among the mysterious are dozens of heretofore unseen, huge circles throughout the Willamette Valley. Best estimates put them at 1,200 years old. Among the dangerous are landslide areas, until now undetected, that may give way in years or centuries. FIELD GUIDE looks at the cutting edge technology that’s giving us X-ray vision.

Gresham Turtles - While surveying an urban wetland in 2007, Gresham urban ecologist Laura Guderyahn stumbled across the only known population of native Western painted turtles east of the Willamette. See how a community is coming together to make sure this rare colony continues to thrive.

 Videos of the stories featured on FIELD GUIDE are available at opb.org/programs/ofg/ or watch entire programs at watch.opb.org.

Check out the FIELD GUIDE blog at blogs.opb.org/fieldjournal/ or follow us on facebook at facebook.com/oregonfieldguide.

About OREGON FIELD GUIDE

In its 22nd season, OREGON FIELD GUIDE remains a valuable source of information about outdoor recreation, ecological issues, natural resources and travel destinations. OREGON FIELD GUIDE airs Thursday evenings at 8:30pm on the television stations of Oregon Public Broadcasting and repeats on Sundays at 1:30am and 6:30pm. In the Mountain Time zone of Eastern Oregon, the program airs at 9:30pm Thursdays, and at 7:30pm Sundays.

About OPB

OPB is the largest cultural and education institution in the region, delivering excellence in public broadcasting to 1.5 million people each week through television, radio and the Internet. Widely recognized as a national leader in the public broadcasting arena, OPB is a major contributor to the program schedule that serves the entire country. OPB is one of the most-used and most-supported public broadcasting services in the country and is generously supported by 120,000 contributors.

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