Great Basin Natural History Workshop - June 2-5, 2022

Playa ~ A Center for the Intersection of Art and Science

Summer Lake and vicinity, Oregon

Summer Lake, Oregon

I had the pleasure of spending four days at the Playa Center for the Intersection of the Arts and Science located in Summer Lake, Oregon. I participated in a hands-on workshop to explore the geology, ecosystems, wildlife, plants, and early cultural history of this magnificent Central Oregon portion of the Great Basin Desert. Our small group of naturalists listened to lectures and spent quality time with renowned wildlife biologist Dr. Pepper Trail and volcanologist Dr. Daniele McCay. Daily field trips included touring the "Hole in the Ground," the "Crack in the Ground," and the Fort Rock volcanic features, sharing detailed explanations about the formation of the Basin and Range through geologic time scales.

Our instructors deftly pivoted into birding and botany whenever the opportunity struck. Day two included expert birding within the Oregon State Wildlife Management Area, where we saw no fewer than 88 species of birds. The day was capped off with observations of Sandhill Cranes, Snipes, and White-face Ibises as we worked our way to Lake Abert. This Lake was part of a much larger basin that has shrunk in response to past and current climate change, human development, and water diversions. The basin is nonetheless spectacular in its inspiring vistas, various patterns of water ebb and flow, and the interplay of the range of light. It was awe-inspiring.

The following multimedia galleries capture my visual impressions of the biological and geological highlights of this fascinating and most enjoyable experience, which I highly recommend!

Explore this workshop and others at:

Day 1 - Around Playa

Day 2 - The Basin and Range Geology and Landscapes

Spherical Panoramic views of The Hole in the Ground Maar - a volcanic explosion crater

" All Cracked Up" Crack in the Ground volcanic fissure video