Grad student produces videos for NPS and researches professional project in Alaska

Jayme Dittmar films a sled dog team in Alaska.

Photo: Graduate student Jayme Dittmar films a sled dog team in Alaska for the NPS video "National Park Service Mushes for Wilderness Cleanup". (Sarah Hayes, NPS Ranger)

Graduate student Jayme Dittmar has been filming and producing videos for the National Park Service as the sled dog kennels and media ranger for Denali National Park and Preserve while also working on her professional project.

One of her recent videos, “National Park Service Mushes for Wilderness Cleanup”, tells the story of six park rangers who traveled 300 miles by dog sled to remove old abandoned oil drums from a remote area of the Gates of the Arctic Wilderness.

She also produced a mini series called “The Puppy Paws,” where she followed a litter of puppies from birth to sled dog training.

 “I was literally following Alaskan husky puppies around with a camera for six months,” she said.

Dittmar has been mushing dogs for more than 22 years, and that has helped prepare her for her job with Denali National Park.

“Within my skillset, I am very open in that I am a backcountry professional first and journalism professional second, which is why I am going to graduate school,” she said. “Denali allowed me to combine my three different passions of visual storytelling, mushing and wilderness preservation.”

In addition to working for Denali NP, Dittmar is also working on her professional project, filming the changes in subsistence culture in a contemporary Alaska.

“I am focusing specifically on how mushing was once an integral part of life in the communities off the road system, but now is disappearing entirely,” she added.

Jayme said the biggest challenge for her is and will continue to be leaving her lens of a “white, privileged” person from the outside behind and allowing the people in the villages to tell their story.

“I learn something from the landscape, the people, the sled dogs everyday,” she said. “A lot of people call it an unforgiving, inhospitable place. I don’t really see that.”

- posted on 03/24/15 -