Two weeks ago Jackson Hole filmmaker Jen Tennican premiered her documentary Far Afield about newspaper columnist and nature-lover Bert Raynes. It played to a full house at the Center for the Arts in Jackson.
Slightly longer than 30 minutes, the film recounts the life of Raynes, now in his early 90s, and his late wife Meg, who introduced him to birding in New Jersey and New York. After a career as a chemical engineer, Bert retired to Jackson Hole where he and Meg had vacationed. For almost 40 years since, Bert has written the nature column Far Afield for the Jackson Hole News and Jackson Hole News&Guide.
Along the way the couple established the Meg and Bert Raynes Wildlife Fund and Nature Mapping Jackson Hole. The former benefits conservation studies, the latter empowers citizen scientists who are trained to report wildlife sightings. Each week in Far Afield, Raynes muses about global goings on but also relays wildlife news from around the valley.
After the movie’s premiere, Raynes took the stage to answer a few questions, but also to bask in the appreciation of a grateful community and friendships that span generations. At that moment, photographer David Swift caught Raynes in the stage lights. He posted the above image he titled Bert feels the love.
For more, visit the film’s web page, the film’s Facebook homepage or read Far Afield in the Jackson Hole News&Guide. Teton Mountaineering in Jackson sells Far Afield DVDs with the $20 cost going to the wildlife fund.