OREGON FIELD GUIDE goes underground with a wildlife technician for the BLM whose job is to find and explore caves formed by lava tubes. Tune in to the stations of Oregon Public Broadcasting on Thursday, January 21 at 8:30pm to squeeze through some tight spots and go where few have gone before. Also meet the man responsible for the health of the animals at the Oregon Zoo and visit a botanic garden, just outside Portland, famed for its native plants.

Lava Caves — Ken Siegrist, a BLM wildlife technician, covers about 200,000 acres in south central Oregon looking for openings in the ground that might signal the mouth of a lava tube. Formed tens of thousands of years ago, these geologic wonders contain a labyrinth of passageways, sometimes as big as a subway, sometimes as small as a rabbit hole, and many times decorated with fragile mineral formations with fantastic shapes. It’s a dirty, potentially dangerous job, but Ken relishes the opportunity to go where no human has ever been and help protect these fragile subterranean treasures. 

Zoo Vet — Meet Dr. Matt Maberry, Packy’s birth father and the man responsible for the health of animals at the Oregon Zoo from 1958-73. FIELD GUIDE joins Dr. Maberry who, at almost 90, still enjoys visiting the zoo to see some of the animals he cared for. Standing at the elephant enclosure regarding one of the zoo’s most famous residents, he recalls the almost two months of sleepless nights before the birth of Packy 45 years ago. Veterinary education in those days didn’t cover wildlife, so much of his training was on the job. Thanks in large part to his pioneering efforts, the Oregon Zoo became one of the most successful elephant breeding zoos in the nation.

Berry Botanic Garden — Not many people are aware that just 15 minutes from downtown Portland there is a thriving six-acre botanic paradise offering a peaceful refuge to visitors. Rae Selling Berry founded the garden in the late 1930s, and thanks to the hard work of some dedicated gardeners, it has been preserved. It’s a Northwest-style garden, featuring more individual and species plants than large showy areas of flowers. And its seed bank has gained international recognition for its focus on conservation of threatened and endangered plants of the region.

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 www.opb.org/programs/ofg/. You can watch entire FIELD GUIDE broadcasts at watch.opb.org.

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.

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