Placeholder Image

Subtitles section Play video

  • From time to time when maybe work or school gets extra stressful, we all fantasize about

  • just getting away from it all; going into some secluded cabin with a good book, hot cup of

  • tea and the desire to meticulously keep track of the weather.

  • Okay, well maybe that's just the dream of the man featured in the short documentary

  • "The Snow Guardian" who became an accidental scientific researcher by just living his life

  • in peaceful isolation.

  • From Day's Edge Productions.

  • This is "The Snow Guardian", and remember to stick around after the film for a short Q&A

  • with the director and producer.

  • [NARRATOR] Have you ever wondered if you watch the snow long enough?

  • What stories it might tell?

  • There is someone who has done it.

  • His name is billy bar.

  • I spell it small b-i-l-l-y small b-a-r-r.

  • Some people call him the Snow Guardian.

  • He lives in a cabin out in the woods.

  • Picture this.

  • It's a snowy day, it's dark and cold.

  • And you make a fire and you're sitting by the fire and you're reading with a cup of

  • tea, and it goes on for nine months.

  • It really lives alone in this house.

  • He helped build.

  • Here he grows his garden, has an impressive hat collection, loves cricket, and dreams of

  • Bollywood.

  • Every couple of weeks, he skis back into the nearest town for supplies.

  • He's been doing this for more than 40 winters.

  • But billy does a little more than just read and drink tea.

  • For those 40 winters,

  • Billy has kept a

  • meticulous record of snow in his little part of the world.

  • [BILLY] Okay, said February 26, 1978...10 and a half inches of snow that day, January 20... minus

  • 11 and a half April 28, 1980...I was 41.

  • Oh that sounds nice.

  • 1997 one half inch of snow...

  • A weasel was roaming around inside the shack.

  • And the birds were back.

  • [BILLY]I lived in an 8 by 10-foot old shack, no electricity, no water and I had nothing.

  • I was just there all day.

  • The main thing I interacted with was the weather and the animals.

  • So I started recording things just because there was something to do.

  • I had nothing to prove no goals, no anything, So it was actually a researcher to lab wanted to

  • look at it.

  • And then once he started looking at it scientifically, then all of a sudden, like these decades

  • worth of data are being used for more than my own curiosity.

  • [NARRATOR] He has done this every day, twice a day. All winter long.

  • [BILLY] I keep going until the snow is gone.

  • If it snowed, I record that no matter when.

  • [BILLY] The trend I see is that we're getting a permanent snowpack later.

  • And we get to bare ground sooner.

  • We'll have years where there was a lot of snow on the ground.

  • And then we lost snow sooner than years that had a lot less snow just because it's a lot warmer now

  • [NARRATOR] In normal winter, you'd expect to have four to five record high temperatures.

  • Last year, billy recorded 36.

  • [BILLY] Not only is it a lot warmer, we're getting a lot of dust blowing in.

  • soon as you get little dust on the snowit melts like that.

  • You're talking about the snowpack, the water supply for most of the Southwest.

  • I'm not real hopeful.

  • Just because I don't know how you reverse something like that.

  • As we leave Colorado behind, billy imparts, one last bit of advice.

  • It's like anything else.

  • No, I learned to ski to get around. I learned how to ski better so I wouldn't fall down

  • all the time.

  • Over a period of time I kind of learned how to survive in this environment.

  • Actually learning to fall is probably one of the most important thing.

  • You're gonna fall, sit. A lot easier falling on your butt than on your face.

  • Now let's talk to the filmmakers about how they found this unique story and what they

  • learned from working with billy bar.

  • I am Morgan Heim.

  • And I was the director on "The Snow Guardian",

  • I'm Neil Losin, I'm the co-owner of Day's Edge Productions and was also a producer on "The Snow Guardian."

  • So I first heard about billy bar.

  • And when I went to talk to a friend of mine about making this longer film we were working

  • on called "The End of Snow."

  • And she at the time worked for a nonprofit in the Colorado area.

  • And she was like, "Well, if you're doing anything on snow, you need to reach out to billy he's

  • this like, amazing person and character" and then talk with Neil about them.

  • And Neil's like I worked with billy, when, when I was at the Rocky Mountain biological

  • lab.

  • And so all of these pieces just kind of came together.

  • As an undergraduate, I did two summers of research at the Rocky Mountain biological

  • lab where Billy works.

  • And in the summers, it's a really busy vibrant place with, you know, 100 to 150, researchers

  • from all over the world doing science up in the mountains.

  • And in the winter, it dwindles down to more or less just billy.

  • And sometimes a couple of winter caretakers taking care of the facilities in town.

  • You'll see this in the film, but we don't describe like the mechanics of it.

  • But he has these platforms that are outside of his cabin.

  • And then from the platforms, there's, you know, this measuring stick sticking up.

  • And so in the morning, and in the evening, he goes out and he measures the snow accumulation

  • on those platforms.

  • And he will also take a same sized section, like a circumference of snow patch from that

  • platform, each time he measures and he will go and he'll weigh it, and he'll get, you

  • know, basically volume and accumulation.

  • And he just does that every every day and twice a day.

  • And he's done that for over 40 years.

  • I know he's continuing to collect the data, I know people are continuing to use it.

  • And people are continuing to do all kinds of interesting ecology research up there at

  • the Rocky Mountain biological lab, mostly in the summer, because it's a much more accessible

  • place that time of year.

  • But billy is still up there, he's still collecting his data, he plans to keep doing so as as

  • long as he can.

  • One of the things that this story featuring billy shows is that, you know, to tell a great

  • science story, your lead character doesn't have to be a scientist in the conventional

  • sense.

  • I mean, Billy collected data, but he's not formally trained as a climatologist, or meteorologists,

  • or anything like that.

  • He's just a guy who's passionate about something.

  • And I think that kind of passion is really infectious.

  • You know.

  • The other thing that I think is, is interesting about Billy is that I don't think he's a very,

  • I don't want this to sound the wrong way.

  • But I think it's fair to say he's not a very relatable character to a lot of people.

  • Like, I don't think a lot of people watch this film and say, I want to do that.

  • And but at the same time, I don't think that's necessary.

  • I think too often we're told that like, that are messengers in our stories need to be people

  • who are just like our audience, people who our audience can relate to.

  • And I don't think that's necessarily true.

  • I think if someone is interesting enough, they can be very different from the audience

  • and still be compelling, still be somebody that the audience wants to watch.

  • And we know that good stories have strong characters.

  • And I think a lot of times, especially in documentary, and in science, we can get caught

  • up in plot and, and in plots can be interesting.

  • But if you don't have a good character to kind of be your guide through that, it's still

  • going to be much harder to tell that story in a compelling way.

  • And so when you find a character as strong as Billy, it almost doesn't matter what the

  • plot is, because they are so fascinating and interesting.

  • And you can tie all sorts of other values into wanting to stay connected with that character

  • that even if someone isn't interested in snowpack accumulation, like they're so interested in

  • him that they want to stay with him and they want to then they end up learning about snowpack.

  • Thanks for joining us again for seeker nd our new show documentaries spotlight series.

  • We're excited to keep bringing you stories from science you may have never heard before.

  • Thanks for watching, and we'll see you next time on seeker.

From time to time when maybe work or school gets extra stressful, we all fantasize about

Subtitles and vocabulary

Operation of videos Adjust the video here to display the subtitles

A2 billy guardian character rocky mountain accumulation lab

How 40 Years of Living Off-the-Grid Has Helped This Man Track the Climate Crisis | The Snow Guardian

  • 1 0
    林宜悉 posted on 2021/03/15
Video vocabulary