Two Chicago comedians are hoping to generate public interest in a threatened Utah aspen grove that is the most massive living thing known on earth.
In a video released on Arbor Day, comedians Brad Einstein and Kyle Niemer launched a fundraiser for interpretive signs at the Pando aspen clone near the shore of Fish Lake in Sevier County.
“We’d like to introduce you to one of the gnarliest organisms on earth!” Einstein proclaims on the video, in which he chases mule deer for an interview and speaks with local foresters and naturalists about the need for funds to deal with increasing tourist interest in the grove and help it to recover as its 47,000 trees age and die.
The deer are the prime suspects in Pando’s decline; scientists say animals are browsing the aspen clone faster than its unifying root system can regenerate trees.
Einstein, who has toured with Second City, has said he decided to feature Pando after he visited last year and found that the most massive known living organism on Earth doesn’t have so much as a sign to let visitors know where it is.
Einstein merges comedy and environmental advocacy in comedy sketches he calls “silly bits in the woods.”
“Comedy is a language to transmit information,” Einstein has said. “How do people communicate now, what makes people care now?”
Einstein and Niemer have said they hope to continue raising funds for temporary fencing that some biologists say would keep deer and cattle out of Pando and allow it to recover.