OREGON FIELD GUIDE kicks off the second-half of its 23rd season with an explosion of butterflies, a report on an invisible danger in our homes, and a look at a dedicated group of open-water swimmers who plunge into some chilly lakes near Coos Bay. Tune in to the stations of OPB TV on Thursday, February 2 at 8:30pm and begin a new season of adventure with the award-winning weekly series hosted by Steve Amen.

Pine Butterflies – Nature creates some pretty spectacular displays and the FIELD GUIDE crew was lucky enough to capture an incredibly rare one: the outbreak of millions upon millions of pine butterflies in the Malheur National Forest in eastern Oregon. It’s the largest eruption ever recorded in Oregon. The mysterious explosion takes place over two or three summers and then may not occur again for 20 to 30 years. But while it’s happening, it fills the forest like a virtual snowstorm. But the beauty comes with a price. The butterflies, while caterpillars, ate needles off 250,000 acres of trees.

Radon - Public health authorities tell us that radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the U.S., and the highest among non-smokers. But scientists have only been away of radon as a health hazard since the early 1980s. So, just how big a health risk is radon? FIELD GUIDE takes a look at the geologic conditions that account for radon’s presence in Oregon as well as the current health science, testing and mitigation thinking on the subject.

Open Water Swimming - Meet a group of swimmers who prefer competitive swimming in open water – across lakes – instead of swimming pools. At Eel Lake near Coos Bay swimmers gather to plunge into the 70-degree water and race around a course marked only by a buoy. They range in age from 18 up … way up. Many of the older swimmers say they’ve found the fountain of youth. They just have to swim in it. Swim they do, including a 77-year-old former Olympian who is still setting world records.

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 23rd 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.