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Published April 29, 2019
Two adventure documentary films detailing University of Wyoming biologists following the migration paths of mule deer they studied in Wyoming will screen on the UW campus Thursday, Nov. 7.
The free public screenings of “92 Miles: A Migration Story” and “Deer 139” are scheduled for 7 p.m. in the UW College of Education auditorium, followed by a question-and-answer session. Speaking about their respective films will be UW Research Scientist Samantha Dwinnell and Patrick Rodgers, a UW graduate research associate at the Wyoming Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, along with other members of the films’ teams.
“Deer 139” follows Dwinnell and two friends as they hike, packraft and ski the migration route of a GPS-collared mule deer in search of deeper understanding about the connection these animals have to the landscapes where they live.
Dwinnell, along with Associate Professor Kevin Monteith and Communications Coordinator Emilene Ostlind, all in the UW Haub School of Environment and Natural Resources, produced the film. Filmmakers Morgan Heim and Jayme Dittmar directed the documentary. In addition to Dwinnell as the main character, the film also stars Tennessee Watson, a reporter for Wyoming Public Media; Anya Tyson, a naturalist and citizen scientist project manager based in Montana; and Deer 139 herself.
The 53-minute-long film follows the three adventurers as they travel Deer 139’s migration path on foot from her winter habitat in the Green River Basin, through the foothills of the Wyoming Range, over a high mountain pass to the Greys River, to summer habitat in the Salt River Range.
In between twisted ankles, David Attenborough impressions and mountaintop dance parties, the three women experience the challenges of long-distance migration in the modern world and gain new perspective about the value of interconnected landscapes. By considering the story of one specific animal, the doe known as Deer 139, they learn to see Wyoming’s backyard as not only a natural resources and recreational playground, but also a place where wild animals have honed their existence over millennia to perfectly synchronize with a rugged and unforgiving landscape.
The Monteith Shop and the Ruckelshaus Institute, both within the Haub School of Environment and Natural Resources, produced the film as part of its mission to share new scientific understanding with a broad audience.
To view the film trailer and for more information, visit the website at www.deer139film.org.
“92 Miles: A Migration Story” follows Haub School alumnus Rodgers, from Casper, as he ultra-runs the migration path of one of his study animals and faces the grief of losing his father, Neil, to cancer. The documentary started as an idea to give audiences an on-the-ground perspective of mule deer migration through the lens of long-distance running. The film details Rodgers’ journey through grief and the challenges of running a 92-mile deer migration route.
Along the way, audiences will learn about the science of migrations and the challenges migratory deer face. The half-hour film details the importance of wild, connected landscapes for humans and wildlife alike. Rodgers graduated from UW with a zoology degree (2014) and is completing his master’s degree in zoology at UW.
To view a short promotional video of “92 Miles,” visit the Wyoming Migration Initiative Facebook page.
For more information, call Ostlind, Haub School of Environment and Natural Resources editor and communications coordinator, at (307) 766-2604 or email@example.com.