Workshop Only: Natural History


3 in stock



This option is perfect for anyone who wants to participate in all workshop activities but has an alternative place to stay. Participate in the group dinners (provided by PLAYA) and instructor presentations on Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings, and the day field trips with the group. You will have access to the PLAYA campus to explore and bird with the flexibility of staying off-campus.

Workshop Description:


In this 3-night experience, discover and explore the extraordinary geology, flora, and fauna of the Summer Lake region with ornithologist Pepper Trail and geologist Daniele McKay. Enjoy evening presentations by both experts and field trips in the valley on Friday and Saturday for hands-on exploration and immersion into the natural history of Oregon’s Great Basin. Areas visited will include the Summer Lake Wildlife Management Area, Fort Rock, Crack in the Ground, and Lake Abert, highlighting the region’s remarkable biodiversity, active faulting and volcanism, and record of past climate change. Folks will have the choice of visiting the Summer Lake Wild Life area on Sunday morning, or stay and enjoy birding on your own on the PLAYA campus.

This workshop starts Thursday evening with a socially distanced, group dinner provided by PLAYA and presentation. PLAYA will also provide dinner Friday and Saturday nights. All other meals are on your own.


  • Day 1: Thursday, June 2: Arrival | Group Dinner Provided by PLAYA | Evening Presentation
  • Day 2: Friday, June 3: All day group field trip- bring a sack lunch | Dinner provided by PLAYA | Evening Presentation
  • Day 3: Saturday, June 4: Morning field trip| Lunch on your own at PLAYA | Afternoon field trip | Dinner provided by PLAYA and BIRD LIST!
  • Day 4: Sunday, June 5: (Optional) Morning Birding at the Summer Lake Wildlife Area or Time or Your Own on the PLAYA campus | Depart by noon

Recommended equipment to bring:
• hat
• sunscreen
• insect repellent
• water bottle(s)
• binoculars
• hiking poles if you use them
• hiking shoes
• clothes for layering (can be hot in the day, cold at night)

Instructor Bios:
Dr. Daniele McKay is an adjunct instructor in the Department of Earth Sciences at the University of Oregon. She lives in Bend, Oregon and teaches online geology courses throughout the academic year, and field courses in central Oregon during the summer. Her research background is in physical volcanology with a focus on recent mafic eruptions in the central Oregon Cascades. She is also interested in how societies prepare for and respond to natural disasters, especially volcanic eruptions and earthquakes. She has worked with Deschutes County, the Oregon Office of Emergency Management, Oregon Partnership for Disaster Resilience, and the Red Cross on natural hazard preparedness and mitigation in central Oregon.

Dr. Pepper Trail is well known in Oregon birding circles and is a sought-after birding guide on tours worldwide. A board member of Playa, he has a special love for the Summer Lake region. He’s been called the Sherlock Holmes of bird crime for his work in wildlife forensics, and has been featured in articles in Audubon and National Geographic. He’s also an accomplished poet and a gifted and enthusiastic teacher for birders at all levels of experience.

COVID Safety:

* Proof of covid vaccination, or certified medical exemption with negative covid test, will be required to participate in all 2022 programming at PLAYA.  Meals will be served outdoors on the patio or packaged to enjoy back in your cabins. All programming will be conducted outdoors as much as possible. Masks will be required for any in-door programming with 6’ distances between participants. Some indoor spaces on campus may be closed to visitors.

*No pets allowed


Additional information

Single | Double

Single, Double