The Western Snowy Plover is slowly making a comeback thanks to an unusual approach to protecting nesting habitat. Tune in to the stations of Oregon Public Broadcasting on Thursday, January 7 at 8:30pm to learn what’s being done along the Washington Coast to help this threatened species. Also see how a dangerous but relatively unknown big wave is putting Oregon on the map as a surfing destination, and learn about what’s transpired at Opal Creek since it was designated as an old-growth wilderness in 1996.

Snowy Plover — Until recently, there were only four known Western Snowy Plover nesting areas with about 70 breeding adults on the Washington Coast. The birds need sparse, open ground to nest. Habitat destruction due to recreation, development, and particularly European grass — an invasive plant that is rapidly covering dune areas — have contributed to push the birds onto the threatened species list. FIELD GUIDE joins Fish and Wildlife biologists to see how an unusual approach at creating nesting areas is beginning to pay dividends. Whole swaths of coastland are being cleared and covered with oyster shells to provide attractive cover for plover eggs, and the method seems to be working with 20 new nesting sites already documented.

Big Wave — Celebrity surfers are coming from Hawaii, Australia, California and all over the world to prove themselves on a big, dangerous Oregon wave. This relatively unknown wave was discovered off Nelscott Beach near Lincoln City. It appears quickly, and for a few days before disappearing, sometimes for months. To catch a ride, surfers are towed on jet skis over the reef to where the wave forms — a daunting task in itself. And at heights of 35-40 feet and sometimes 70 feet or more, it’s a dangerous ride.

Opal Creek — Opal Creek is certainly one of the most beautiful living classrooms anywhere. FIELD GUIDE joins a group of second graders exploring the area’s streams filled with amphibians and the forests boasting giant 800-1000-year-old trees. The old mining town of Jawbone Flats is getting a facelift and transforming into an “education town” where visitors of any age who are willing to take the three-mile trek in can come to learn.

FIELD GUIDE repeats Sundays at 1:30am and 6:30pm. Videos of the stories featured on FIELD GUIDE can be viewed online immediately following the broadcast at

In its 21st 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 Sunday evenings at 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.