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‘Beyond Bark Beetles’ Films Explore Changes in Local Forests

June 4, 2014

 “Introducing Dendroctonus ponderosae, a tiny bug, smaller than a rice grain. For the last 15 years or so, these bugs have been living it up.”

So begins a new short-film series exploring the recent bark beetle outbreak in local forests.

The 10 videos, produced by the University of Wyoming Ruckelshaus Institute and the Medicine Bow-Routt National Forests, investigate how the recent bark beetle outbreak is changing the forests. “Our Future Forests: Beyond Bark Beetles” introduces viewers to a range of characters and shows ways Forest Service personnel and members of the public who use the forests are responding to changes.

The films, each three to six minutes long, are now publicly available online at To request a DVD and script to host a screening in local communities, email Emilene Ostlind, UW Ruckelshaus Institute editor, at

From a light-hearted cartoon about an individual beetle’s life cycle to a lyrical vignette following harvested beetle-kill through a sawmill, the series looks at the bark beetle outbreak from many different angles.

“Viewers will meet foresters, volunteers, hunters, rock climbers, fire lookouts, city water managers and other diverse characters dealing with effects of bark beetles,” Ostlind says.

All the videos were filmed in the Medicine Bow-Routt National Forests in Wyoming and Colorado. Locations include the Sierra Madre, Vedauwoo, Laramie Peak and others. Acclaimed videographer Morgan Heim shot and edited the videos.

The project is the result of a partnership between the Medicine Bow-Routt National Forests and the UW Ruckelshaus Institute of Environment and Natural Resources. The two organizations collaborated to conceptualize and produce the videos to help the public better understand the bark beetle outbreak and its complexities. By sharing resources and expertise, UW and Forest Service partnership resulted in a series of videos neither entity would have been able to create alone.

For more information, contact Ostlind at (307) 766-2604 or email

Bark beetles have caused widespread destruction in Wyoming and Colorado forests. A new series of films explores the bark beetle outbreak in local forests. (Ruckelshaus Institute)

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