It was summer of 1972 when billy barr first arrived in the secluded “ghost town” of Gothic, Colorado. A chance summer job that “sounded interesting”, who would have known he’d end up staying through the winter? Or that he would decide to make a secluded little cabin in Gothic his home? The data that billy would collect over the next 40+ years has become instrumental in the study of climate change. From a very young age, billy always liked to keep track of things. As a little boy, that was baseball stats. His hobby of keeping track of things moved on to keeping track of the weather at his new home in shadows of the West Elk Mountains. His observations about snow and winter temperatures, compiled over the last 4 decades, has become important data used by scientists studying climate change. billy’s story of living alone in a tiny mountain cabin grabbed the attention of local filmmakers and became the focus of a Short Climate Film Featuring Gothic Local billy barr. Local filmmaker Morgan Heim lives in Gunnison, Colorado, and works for Days Edge Productions. Morgan and scientist Jane Zelikova were making a film about climate change called End of Snow. Last winter Morgan and her film crew skied out to the remote townsite of Gothic. There they found billy doing what he has been doing for the past 40+ years – collecting data, reviewing data and keeping himself busy during the long winter days. They found billy to be so compelling that they made a re-edit from his part of the film, renamed it The Snow Guardian and submitted it to the Film4Cilmate global video competition. The film came in second place out of nearly 900 films. It turns out, billy was quite a hit and has since become an internet sensation, the film going viral according to Heim.
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