Press Release: New Documentary Goes Behind the Scenes of White Mountain Research Station (11/18/2004)

New Documentary Goes Behind the Scenes of White Mountain Research Station
NSF-Funded Program Airs Alongside Profiles of UC Field Research Sites Statewide

LA JOLLA, CA, November 18, 2004--See just what it means to study life on the edge at the University of California's White Mountain Research Station (WMRS) when "In the Shadow of White Mountain" airs on UCTV Tuesday, January 18, along with a fascinating line-up of programs profiling sites within the University's renowned Natural Reserve System (NRS). The excursion begins at 8:00PM with visits to two NRS sites, followed by "White Mountain" at 9:00PM. The journey continues at 10:00PM with three more NRS profiles.

Featuring the distinctive voice of narrator Peter Coyote, "In the Shadow of White Mountain" tells the many stories of this unique resource for science, a biological field station with both the highest research lab and the highest Internet node in North America. WMRS provides unprecedented access to a host of environmental conditions, animals, and vegetation, and is yielding a vital understanding of change, from physiology to climate, from the oldest known living organism, to a short-lived beetle, and what this understanding means for all.

Nearly three years in the making, "In the Shadow of White Mountain" was produced by UCSD-TV, the broadcast television station based on the UC San Diego campus. Funding was made possible by a grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) through its Divisions of Biological Infrastructure and Elementary, Secondary and Informal Science Education. This funding is part of the NSF's effort to increase public awareness and appreciation of NSF supported science, such as WMRS' remote monitoring of field data on a real-time basis using the Internet, and a new molecular biology laboratory used for a variety of biological investigations, including the Sierra Bighorn Sheep Recovery program.

The program's producers hope to convey a deeper understanding of what locations such as White Mountain contribute to science and our lives. "This beautiful place is a unique resource for science, and by extension, for us all," said UCSD-TV producer/director Rich Wargo. "Environments such as White Mountain play a critical role in our understanding of the changing world in which we live, and I hope our viewers will come away with an appreciation for the work being done here by many fields of science."

Peter Coyote, Emmy Award-winning narrator, noted actor, award-winning author, and seasoned environmental advocate, provided the voiceover narration for "In the Shadow of White Mountain," illuminating how the research conducted at WMRS helps us understand what these changes to our environment mean to our future. Of the narration Coyote said, "I love this--this is a fascinating story, it's very interesting, and it's challenging."

The diversity of research that takes place at WMRS is reflected in the hour-long documentary, which includes segments ranging from the extreme hibernation of White Mountain's squirrels to what the evolution of the Willow Beetle can tell us about climate change. For more information on "In the Shadow of White Mountain," including exclusive behind the scenes photos, producer's notes, and links to additional resources, visit http://www.ucsd.tv/whitemountain/.

UCTV's Tuesday night science expedition also features programs profiling five sites within UC's Natural Reserve System (NRS). These carefully preserved habitats provide researchers and students countless opportunities to learn from nature. The complete schedule for January 18 follows:

8:00PM Sedgwick Reserve--Located near Santa Barbara, researchers investigate the microorganisms that support California's ecosystems, and work to preserve the state's disappearing oak woodlands and restore native grasslands.

8:30PM Hastings Reserve--Tour this biological field station in the Santa Lucia Mountain range in Monterey County.

9:00PM In the Shadow of White Mountain

10:00PM The Landels-Hill Big Creek Reserve--Situated on the Big Sur Coast, this reserve provides a spectacular location to study nature.

10:30PM James Reserve--Located in the San Jacinto Mountains, this reserve uses technology to gain insight into the natural world.

11:00PM Coal Oil Point Reserve--This reserve near UC Santa Barbara protects a variety of coastal and estuarine habitats and hosts thousands of visiting migratory birds.

The White Mountain Research Station (WMRS) is a multicampus research unit (MRU) of the University of California Office of Research, with a campus office located at UC San Diego. The station includes a base facility (Owens Valley Lab; elevation 4000') located in the high desert near the town of Bishop, as well as three facilities in the White Mountains: a montane station at Crooked Creek (elev. 10,200'), an alpine station at Barcroft (elev. 12,500'), and a remote high alpine lab on the summit of White Mountain Peak (elev. 14,250'). The combination of facilities, high elevation, year-round access, and dry air make the station uniquely valuable for scientific study and educational purposes. More information can be found at http://www.wmrs.edu/.

The University of California's Natural Reserve System (NRS) contributes to the understanding and wise management of the Earth and its natural systems by supporting university-level teaching, research, and public service at protected natural areas throughout California. The NRS is the largest university-operated system of natural reserves in the world. Visit http://nrs.ucop.edu for more information.

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