After getting through a tricky permit process and loading all of his film equipment onto the back of a horse, Kyle Nicholoff headed out to some of Wyoming’s largest glaciers to film with a 12-day expedition from Central Wyoming College.

“I was literally thrown into it, filming whatever I saw,” Nicholoff said.

After going on that same expedition for three years, he turned his film into a Wyoming PBS documentary, “Glaciers of the Winds,” which recently won an Emmy Award. Though the glaciers Nicholoff shot are in Wyoming, the polluted glacier melt flowing off them is expected to reach other states.

“The goal of the film is to educate the public about what is happening to the glaciers,” Nicholoff said “Not everyone really knows what is happening.”

His documentary has been shown in 41 states and has about 1,200 individual views.

The Midsummer Melt featuring Portugal. The Man

Lead guitarist Eric Howk plays during the event at the Center for the Arts, called “The Midsummer Melt.”

The film inspired Jeff Stanbury to ask his friends in Portugal The Man to perform at the Center for the Arts to benefit three organizations working to make a difference against climate change: Protect Our Winters, Central Wyoming College and the college’s Alpine Science Institute. They did so Monday night at the Center’s “Midsummer Melt” event.

Portugal, a Grammy Award-winning group from Alaska, is dedicated to elevating issues through its platform. As Alaskan natives, the bandmates have seen rising temperature significantly impact their home state.

“It’s an honor to kind of figure out the things you want to champion and to be able to make any kind of difference at all,” guitarist Eric Howk said in an interview before the band’s Monday night show at the “Melt.”

In addition to the Portugal The Man show, the event featured a screening of “Glaciers of the Winds” and speeches about climate change.

Nicholoff, the production services manager at Wyoming PBS, grew up during the 1970s oil embargo and learned at a young age about the need to conserve.

Later, while living in Wyoming he became interested in the glaciers in his backyard and found out about CWC’s Interdisciplinary Climate Change Expedition Research programs. He decided to reach out.

Jacki Klancher, CWC’s faculty mentor and the director of instruction and research at the Alpine Science Institute, is passionate about the research program because it allows students to grow physically and mentally in the outdoors.

Alongside professors, the students collect data on water, ice, and snow for a half-dozen research projects while also using their mountaineering skills to safely navigate the glaciers.

“To have the opportunity to craft something you truly believe in is a gift,” Klancher said at the event.

Ryan Towne, a first-year student at CWC participating in the research program, is thrilled to be involved. It combines his love for the outdoors and science, and emphasizes field research.

“Some grad students haven’t even got field experience yet,” Towne said.

“I am only a year in, at CWC, and I already have the field-based experience.”

While the “Melt” highlighted the harm climate change is doing to our environment, Lynsey Dyer, a professional skier, and U.S. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, a Democrat from Rhode Island, spoke about what we can do to help make a change.

Dyer has been at the top of many cliffs, but in her talk she said the biggest cliff of all is climate change. POW informed her that solutions do exist. She emphasized that she believes implementing those solutions will require each person to use their voice to vote for changes in environmental policy.

Whitehouse, who has been traveling to states to discuss climate change with other senators — Wyoming is the 16th state he’s stopped in — said the U.S. Senate is a place where climate change can be addressed.

“Do not believe that this is an issue separated by partisanship,” he said in his speech. “Outside forces” — fossil fuel companies — “are putting immense, immense force to make sure nothing happens in the Senate. If we all get off the sidelines, we could make a real difference.” 

The Midsummer Melt featuring Portugal. The Man

Music fans listen to Portugal. The Man’s Monday evening performance at the Center for the Arts.

Contact Natalie Shilati at intern2@jhnewsandguide.com.

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