Science Pub Portland: Protecting Oregon’s Biodiversity

NOV 14, 2017 | 7-9PM

There are still plenty of tickets, so please join us tonight! First-come, first-served.


Space Cowboys: Protecting Oregon’s Biodiversity
With Heidi Schmalz, Zumwalt Science Specialist at The Nature Conservancy

November 14, 2017 | Doors Open @ 5PM | 

$5 advance purchase for guaranteed seats; $5 suggested donation at the door. Tickets available online or at the OMSI front desk; see below for details.


In the Pacific Northwest and around the world, agriculture and other human activities have altered most native grasslands, leaving those that remain among Earth’s most endangered ecosystems. But at northeast Oregon’s Zumwalt Prairie, adjacent to the magnificent Wallowa Mountains, there is a stronghold. Here, in the largest remaining grassland of its type in North America, science, innovation and teamwork are bringing vitality to both land and livelihoods.


The Nature Conservancy, the University of Idaho and a group of private ranchers are working together to improve and protect biodiversity in this treasured landscape while supporting sustainable livestock grazing, ranching families and the local community. Learn about their collaborative efforts using remote sensing technologies and satellite data to monitor vegetation across the prairie, allowing ranchers and land managers to make smart decisions that provide benefits for both livestock, native species and the land upon which all depend. 


Heidi Schmalz originally hails from Wisconsin, but discovered her passion for western landscapes when she volunteered on a trail crew in the central Idaho wilderness when she was 20. That volunteer experience led to 6 seasons in the wilderness and the formation of a deep bond with nature that continues to inspire her conservation work. Heidi has been involved with projects on the Zumwalt Prairie Preserve in northeast Oregon since 2006, when she began as a seasonal field technician. After three seasons on the preserve, she pursued a MSc at University of Idaho, and returned to the Zumwalt Prairie in 2011. Her current role as the Zumwalt Science Specialist for The Nature Conservancy keeps her engaged in a wide array of activities, from identifying plants to analyzing data and writing technical reports. She coordinates a resident volunteer program on the preserve for students who seek real-world experience in scientific monitoring and supports academic research projects that take place on the Zumwalt Prairie.


OMSI Science Pub at the Empirical Theater will be a ticketed event beginning on October 17. To guarantee a seat at this event, please buy tickets online or at the OMSI front desk. Please show your ticket at the theater entrance upon arrival.


If the event sells out, we will update the website and Facebook listings accordingly. If the event does not sell out in advance, attendance will be first-come, first-served at the door and at-the-door admission will remain a suggested donation.


There will no longer be official seat reservations available at the door. You are welcome to reserve a seat with your jacket or sweater.


Science Pub OMSI is a monthly event that is open to anyone and everyone – no scientific background required. Just bring your curiosity, sense of humor, and appetite for food, drinks and knowledge! For more information or to sign up for our mailing list, email:


Dinner will be available in our restaurant, Theory, or from the Empirical Café. Guests can check-in at the theater entrance and find a seat before grabbing dinner and drinks. Food and drink are welcome in the theater. Parking is free for the event. Doors open at 5pm.


For more information or to sign up for our mailing list, email: