Oregon’s native bumblebees are disappearing. OREGON FIELD GUIDE investigates why and what one man is trying to do to bring them back. Tune in to the stations of Oregon Public Broadcasting on Thursday, December 22 at 8:30pm. Stories also look into a shipwreck off the Oregon coast 300 years ago and an electric racecar that’s shattering speed records.

Native Bumblebees — Twenty years ago, the Western bumblebee was the most-common bee found in the state. But one recent search shows that it is nowhere to be found west of the Cascades. For years, the crop-pollinating job has been done by European honeybees brought in hives to fields by farmers. This non-native species can pollinate larger areas much quicker than the native species. But mites, disease and colony collapse disorder are starting to wipe out this once plentiful pollinator too. FIELD GUIDE examines the problem and sees what one blueberry farmer is doing to help bring native bees back.

Beeswax Ship — Over 300 years ago a Spanish Galleon carrying a cargo of timber, porcelain, candles and beeswax, and maybe as many as 600 passengers and crew, ran aground off the coast of Manzanita. For centuries, beachcombers have been finding debris from the wreckage that has washed ashore including bits of porcelain and beeswax. A father a son walking the coast found a 300-year-old, hand-carved pulley that experts say likely came from the wreck. FIELD GUIDE joins a team trying to find the galleon they suspect may lie just a few hundred yards off the coast.

Electric Drag Racing — It’s off to the Portland International Raceway for open race night to see how John Whalen’s ‘72 Datsun outraces muscle car after car. The catch is, Whalen’s car, “The Zombie,” is electric — powered by 60 batteries in his trunk and back seat. In a quarter mile, he can hit speeds of 107 miles per hour in less than 12 seconds. Whalen loves breaking world records and he loves showing people there’s a better way to go than gas.

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

Follow FIELD GUIDE on Facebook at facebook.com/oregonfieldguide.


In its 23nd 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 115,000 contributors.