Cattle and birds co-exist in harmony on the largest native prairie in the Northwest. Stretching from the Wallowas to Hells Canyon, this vast grassland is one-fifth as large as the state of Rhode Island and home to wildlife and cattle alike. Oregon Field Guide is off to the Zumwalt Prairie on the remote eastern border of Oregon. Tune in to the stations of OPB on Thursday, May 3 at 8:30pm to see how a rare partnership of ranchers and conservationists is working for this unique ecological jewel.

Zumwalt Cooperation - In 1979, Marcy Houle spent a summer studying raptors in the Zumwalt, which has one of the highest concentrations of hawks in North America. She found a healthy population. In fact, despite a century of cattle grazing, Oregon’s Zumwalt Prairie remains healthy to this day. And a new study by Oregon State University shows low to moderate levels of grazing does not harm the survival of ground nesting birds. The Nature Conservancy bought 33,000 acres for its Prairie Preserve, and much to ranchers’ surprise, leased rights for rotating grazing in the area. Elk, however, are another matter. 

Nature Sound Recording - With a microphone and a recording deck, John Hartzog captures the natural sounds of wild Oregon. Field Guide goes along for a listen to the sounds of Sauvie Island and the Hart Mountain Antelope Refuge. The audio “snapshots in time” he creates tell us something about the place we live, and the wildlife that share it with us. 

Silver Falls State Park - Silver Falls is the most popular state park in Oregon. Most people don’t know that 80 years ago, a town sat there. But Silver Falls City didn’t last long because it logged itself out of existence. The area was full of stumps and the biggest waterfall was a daredevil’s playground. Field Guide looks back at the park’s history and the single-minded photographer determined to protect it for everyone to enjoy. 

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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.