Whether it’s due to short days, weather conditions, life circumstances or a built-in aversion to being cold and wet, not everyone is able to take advantage of Central Oregon’s outdoor amenities in winter.
Fortunately, the nonprofit Deschutes Land Trust will once again swoop in with its annual lecture series, “Nature Nights,” intended to help build awareness of nature-related topics during the long nights ahead.
“We always do them in January through March because it’s sort of a time of year that I think we all are dreaming about being outside not doing snowy things sometimes,” said Sarah Mowry, outreach director at the Land Trust. “Come December-January, everyone’s pretty psyched about snow and you’re into it and out playing in it, but then eventually you get to a point where you’re like, ‘OK’ … (It’s) just a way to bridge those seasons until we can get out and explore the rest of the natural world beyond snow.”
The monthly series, which was always held in person prior to a certain persnickety pandemic, kicks off virtually on Jan. 26 with “A Low-to-No Snow Future.” Research scientists Alan Rhoades and Erica Siirila-Woodburn will discuss the possibility of a low-to-no snow future in the Cascades, and solutions to reduce the extent of, and adapt to, changing climate conditions in the West.
On March 2, the topic is eco-anxiety, defined as the chronic fear of environmental doom” by the American Psychological Association. Sarah Jaquette Ray, a leader in environmental studies at Humboldt State University in California and the author of the 2020 book “Field Guide to Climate Change: How to Keep Your Cool on a Warming Planet,” will ask, and answer, “Is Climate Anxiety Bad for the Planet?”
Finally, on March 30, Matt Shinderman, director of the Human and Ecosystem Resilience and Sustainability Lab at Oregon State University-Cascades, will discuss “American Pikas and Climate Change.” If you’re a hiker, you know pikas as the small mammals chirping and running from you at higher elevations, and Shinderman will share how a five-year study of American pikas in the Pacific Northwest suggests pikas can persist in lower elevation landscapes despite being known as a high-alpine species.
All talks begin at 7 p.m. The events are free, but a ticket is required. Contact: deschuteslandtrust.org/hikes-events.