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He Spent 40 Years Alone in the Woods, and Now Scientists Love Him

Meet the legendary local who inadvertently provided scientists with a treasure trove of climate change data.

Welcome to Gothic, Colorado—one of the coldest places in the United States. This ghost town has been abandoned since the 1920s, but there is at least one person who still calls it home. For more than 40 years, current resident billy barr has lived in a small cabin, recording data about the snowpack to pass the time. In this short film, Morgan Heim of Day’s Edge Productions profiles the legendary local who inadvertently provided scientists with a treasure trove of climate change data.

To learn more, click here for our interview with billy and see photos from his life in the woods.

Winner of the Film4Climate competition organized by the Connect4Climate Program of the World Bank (film4climate.net).

The Short Film Showcase spotlights exceptional short videos created by filmmakers from around the world and selected by National Geographic editors. We look for work that affirms National Geographic's belief in the power of science, exploration, and storytelling to change the world. To submit a film for consideration, please email sfs@natgeo.com. The filmmakers created the content presented, and the opinions expressed are their own, not those of National Geographic Partners.