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Local documentary to get national play

(Jackson, Wyo.) - With a keen intellect, sharp wit and twinkle in his eye, 91-year-old Jackson Hole conservationist Bert Raynes inspires citizens to observe and care about their wild neighbors. Now, the documentary "Far Afield: A Conservation Love Story" reveals Raynes - as a force for nature - to the world. The film, which premiered locally in Jackson to a sold-out crowd on November 5, 2015, will be showed on American Public Television in April. The documentary follows Raynes on his journey from the “mean streets” of Jersey City, New Jersey to the “green streets” of Jackson, Wyoming. Along the way, he discovers the two great loves of his life – nature and Meg, his wife and muse. “Bert Raynes is already comparable to a great green mythological figure, the likes of which we will not see again in our lifetimes. The fact that he resides in Jackson Hole, one of the crucibles of the American conservation movement, only elevates his mystique,” said Todd Wilkinson, Environmental Journalist and Author. “He is Jackson Hole's own version of The Lorax.” This film was the brainchild of Jonathan Schechter, the Executive Director of the Charture Institute. It was funded in part by grants from 1% for the Tetons, Community Foundation of Jackson Hole, Wyoming Humanities Council and Center of Wonder. The National Museum of Wildlife Art, Nature Conservancy of Wyoming and Teton Media Works also provided support, along with over 225 other individuals, organizations and businesses. “After the challenging process of fundraising and production, we are delighted to have a terrific national outlet for the documentary,” said Jennifer Tennican, the producer and director. “In WyomingPBS and APT, we couldn’t ask for a better pairing of presenting station and distributor.” The program was accepted for distribution through APT’s Exchange Program. “It is an ‘every man’ story about someone who followed his passion, has lived nine full decades and will leave his mark on the community through the citizen science programs he started and the research projects he funds. The film makes the idea of making a difference realistic and accessible," said Lauren Mills, Content and Acquisitions Manager for APT Exchange. “Bert Raynes’ life proves the truth found in The Lorax - ‘Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It's not.’ Bert cares a whole awful lot and has had an enormous impact on conservation,” WyomingPBS General Manager Terry Dugas added. The documentary is still on the festival circuit; official selections and awards to date include: - 2015 Utopian Visions Award, Utopia Film Festival - 2015 Official Selection, Eugene International Film Festival - 2015 Silver Award, Spotlight Film Awards - 2016 Official Selection, Big Sky Documentary Film Festival - 2016 Official Selection, Colorado Environmental Film Festival Far Afield: A Conservation Love Story will beginning airing on public television stations in 40 states and the District of Columbia in April 2016 (check local listings). *Feature Photo: Meg and Bert, 1970s in Jackson. h/t Dave Lockman /