National film award highlights Forest Service outreach to urban audiences
The Big Sky country of western Montana elicits images of Old West cowboys driving herds across open ranges, log cabins alongside glacial lakes in high-mountain valleys and other images of a time when the work was done by hand far from civilization.
It was this aspect of work on the Lolo’s Ninemile Ranger District that was featured in Urban American Outdoor Television’s program, “What is the Forest Service?” The episode recently earned a Bronze in the 34th Annual Telly Awards Film and TV category from among more than 11,000 entries nationwide. The segment featured Wild West-style pack strings, horsemanship and the deeply-held passion the employees have for the natural resources and their work there.
Bob Shinn, Northern Region’s civil rights director, explains why the connection to urban populations is so important to the Forest Service.
“Urban American Outdoors regularly reaches an audience that the Forest Service has had a difficult time reaching in the past for both employment and recreational opportunities,” Shinn said.
Diversity and inclusiveness are focus areas for U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, and this recognition for the Forest Service in Montana is a key part of local support for this departmental emphasis.
Urban American Outdoors features locations and recreational opportunities to an urban audience on both the Sportsman’s Channel and the Outdoor Channel on cable television nationwide. Company founder Wayne Hubbard has earned national acclaim with more than 50 broadcast awards, including an Emmy nomination. His outdoor-focused shows reach millions of viewers weekly in major urban and metropolitan markets – places where the Forest Service is not generally well known. Hubbard says he has received some 35,000 emails alone about the Forest Service since the episode aired.
In late May and early June, UAOTV filmed two more segments on the Lolo featuring other types of jobs employees perform, as well as the locations where they work. These segments will air this fall.
Since 1979, the Telly Awards have recognized outstanding film and video productions; online video content; and local, regional and cable TV commercials and programs.