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Oregon Field Guide Celebrates 25 Years of Exploring the Northwest


Milestone season kicks off with the biggest adventure in program history

This fall, Oregon Field Guide, OPB’s longest-running local production, is celebrating 25 years on air. OPB is commemorating this milestone with a one-hour retrospective anniversary special to air on October 3, followed by the 25th season premiere episode on October 10 featuring the biggest expedition in Oregon Field Guide history.

Since 1988, award-winning Oregon Field Guide has been a valuable, in-depth source of information about outdoor recreation, ecological and geological issues, natural resources and travel destinations across the Northwest. It has been one of the highest-rated and most-watched local programs in the public broadcasting system, serving as a template for many shows of its kind across the country.

Over the last 25 years, host Steve Amen, along with the program’s producers and videographers, have explored every corner of Oregon and beyond—from trekking the backcountry by llama and mountain unicycle, traveling to the far reaches of Eastern Oregon, diving into the frigid Pacific and going on modern-day cattle drives. They have taken a close-up look at the health of offshore ecosystems and watched a dam fall. They have also shot video in a variety of ways— from a hang glider, on horseback, from a parasail, under water, under ice, from the sides of cliffs, from boats, from helicopters, from kayaks going over waterfalls and more. 

“When Field Guide began 25 years ago, we had a vision for not only the type of stories we wanted to bring our audience but also for the way we would report them—going deep into the concerns surrounding our natural environment, presenting many sides of an issue, and using the best technology to capture the most beautiful places in our region,” said Steve Amen, OPB. “We are extremely proud of the work we’ve done over the last 25 years and we can’t wait to bring even more fascinating stories to our viewers in the years to come.”

On October 10, Oregon Field Guide will kick off its 25th season with one of the biggest stories in program history. During a half-hour special, Field Guide will take viewers along a stunning expedition right in Portland’s own backyard—Mount Hood. Earlier this summer, mountaineers Brent McGregor and Eddy Cartaya invited OPB to join an expedition to film and photograph the largest known glacier cave system in the lower 48 states—located on the Northwest face of the mountain. McGregor and Cartaya were the first to systematically explore the massive cave system in the mouth of the Sandy Glacier in 2011. Since then, they have spent more than 300 hours mapping the more than a mile of caves and tunnels underneath the ice. They are among only a handful of skilled cavers worldwide who have chosen to explore these hard to reach places.

Oregon Field Guide set out to document McGregor and Cartaya’s weeklong expedition in the caves. It was the largest and most complex shoot coordinated in program history. It involved a larger crew, several volunteers who needed to be highly skilled in mountaineering, hundreds of pounds of equipment and multiple cameras. The crew hiked nearly five miles and gained 3,200 feet in elevation before reaching camp at 6,400 feet.

The Oregon Field Guide season premiere episode “Glacier Caves: Mt. Hood’s Secret World” airs Thursday, October 10 at 8:30 p.m. on OPB TV. Not only will viewers see the breathtaking beauty of the caves, they will see firsthand the threats of glacial retreat and loss in the Cascades as a result of climate change.

For more information about the glacier cave story, visit OPB’s interactive website at www.opb.org/glaciercaves. Audiences can also tune in to Morning Edition on OPB Radio on October 7 and 8 to hear from the EarthFix team about the science behind the glacier caves. A multimedia feature story about the glacier caves will also run in the October issue of OPB’s digital magazine for iPad. Additionally that week, OPB’s daily radio program “Think Out Loud” will discuss the glacier cave expedition during its noon show.

The week prior to the “Glacier Caves: Mt. Hood’s Secret World,” premiere, Oregon Field Guide will present a one-hour 25th Anniversary retrospective special airing on Thursday, October 3 at 8:00 p.m. on OPB TV. The program will feature the Field Guide crew, both past and present, sitting fireside where they will share behind-the-scenes moments and their favorite stories in the show’s 25-year history.

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About Oregon Field Guide
Entering its 25th season in fall 2013, Oregon Field Guide remains a valuable source of information about outdoor recreation, ecological issues, natural resources and travel destinations across the Northwest region. Oregon Field Guide airs Thursday evenings at 8:30 p.m. on the television stations of Oregon Public Broadcasting and repeats on Sundays at 1:30 a.m. and 6:30 p.m. In the Mountain Time zone of Eastern Oregon, the program airs at 8:30 p.m. Thursdays, and at 6:30 p.m. Sundays. Major support for Oregon Field Guide is provided by Dorothy D. Gage and Dan Stanton. Additional support is provided by Kay Kitagawa and Andy Johnson-Laird, Christine and David Vernier, the Greenfield/Hartline Conservation Fund, Lois E. Jones and Bonnie and Peter Reagan.Special funding for the Oregon Field Guide 25th Anniversary event is provided by Standard TV & Appliance. 

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 members across Oregon and southern Washington.

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