Brooklynn Gray

Cultural Affairs Volunteer - Spoken Words

Growing up in Laramie, Wyoming, Brooklynn has a large love for the outdoors and adventure of any kind. Recently back from a semester abroad in Italy, she returns to Laramie this fall to finish her senior year as a Journalism student at the University of Wyoming. In addition to travel, Brooklynn holds a deep love for reading, writing, and freshly brewed coffee. 

OKINAWA INSTITUTE OF SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY

In the University of Wyoming Department of Zoology and Physiology several researchers have been using birds as a means to figure out how to help people communicate better.

Associate Professor Jonathan Prather and graduate students Koedi Lawley, Jeff Dunning, and Karagh Murphy are researching the connection between listening, understanding, and speaking in the brain. Their hope is to gain some insight into human behavior, since birds learn to sing songs the same way people learn to speak – by imitation.

PETER FRANZ / Flickr

The Wyoming Department of Health is asking for public input on tobacco sales violations, especially businesses selling to people under the age of 18. According to the national standard, each state is expected to keep the number of tobacco venders that have violated the laws below 20 percent.

According Wyoming Survey and Analysis Center’s Laran Despain, Wyoming’s violation rate since 2000 has been well below that with an average of 8 percent.

WYOMING GAME AND FISH DEPARTMENT

The Wyoming Game and Fish Department are using a new technology this year to track the movement of the non-native burbot fish in the Green River drainage.

PIT tags, or passive integrated transponder, are inserted into the fish’s belly which can be monitored by antennas to record when a fish moves upstream.

According to John Walrath, Green River fisheries biologist, burbot feed mostly on other fish, causing concern for native populations of the river such as smallmouth bass, bluehead, and flannelmouth suckers.

WIKIMEDIA COMMONS

Wyoming communities are encouraging holiday shoppers to forego Black Friday and visit their local downtowns on Small Business Saturday instead. American Express initiated Small Business Saturday seven years ago to promote shopping locally during the holiday season rather than buying gifts online. Wyoming Business Council member Tom Dixon said small businesses are part of what makes Wyoming special.

PUBLIC DOMAIN PICTURES

Despite the snow that Wyoming received this week, the below average snow fall has caused at least one opening day delay for the state’s ski resorts. Grand Targhee Resort was supposed to begin its winter season November 18, but the mild weather and light snow has caused a delay in opening for the first time since 1999. Resort marketing and social media manager, Jennie White, said that she hopes they get more snow soon.

Brooklynn Gray

Hundreds of University of Wyoming students, faculty, and community members protested the outcome of last week’s election with a Solidarity Walk Out Monday.

Reports of discrimination and harassment of minorities have increased across the U.S. in recent days. The solidarity walk, which started at the Wyoming Union before heading downtown and back, was meant to show support for LGBTQ individuals, Muslims, immigrants and other marginalized groups.

UNITED STATES GEOLOGICAL SURVEY

This week, a survey will begin to map the underground hydrothermal features of Yellowstone National Park for the first time.

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), in collaboration with the Aarhus University in Denmark and the University of Wyoming, will use a helicopter carrying electromagnetic technology that resembles a giant hula hoop to record tiny voltage signals.

JAY JOHNSON / ADVENTUREJAY

The public comment period is open on a draft report, which discusses improvements to cycling and pedestrian paths throughout Wyoming.

The Wyoming Bicycle and Pedestrian System Task Force, was appointed by Governor Matt Mead earlier this year, and will rely the public’s input as a guide for the final draft of the report.

Tim Young, the chairman for the task force, said the goal is to hear Wyomingites’ opinions on the different types of trails and paths they would like to see.

BRANDON BALLENGEE, UNIVERSITY OF WYOMING ART MUSEUM

On November 1, the University of Wyoming Art Museum will host Evening Conversations with Curators.

The event is part of the on-going Earth, Wind and Water program, and will spotlight the museum’s November exhibit Waste Land: A Survey of Works by Brandon Ballengée, 1996-2016. Master Teacher Heather Bender will be one of the hosts for the event, and said she looks forward to discussing such an interested mixed media exhibit.

Tom Koerner/USFWS / Flickr

A new case of Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) was found in a harvested mule deer buck 12 miles outside of Dubois this week. It was found in hunting area 128 and neighbors area 171 where CWD had been found earlier this year. According to Wyoming Game and Fish Wildlife supervisor in Lander, Jason Hunter, it’s not surprising that the disease has spread. 

BOB BECK

The Western Sugar Cooperate Plant in Torrington will lay off 86 employees in November when it shuts down the production facilities. There are concerns surrounding the layoffs, including what the shutdown will mean for the city’s economy. Ashley Harpstreith, Executive Director of Goshen County Economic Development Corporation (GCEDC), said the community will face challenges.

WIKIMEDIA COMMONS

Enrollment is down slightly this fall at the University of Wyoming. UW officials say that enrollment declined by 234 students compared to fall of last year. The decrease startled Sara Axelson, Vice President of Student Affairs, who said the decrease was due to fewer out of state students.

WIKIMEDIA COMMONS

The reintroduction of black-footed ferrets that took place in July seems to be succeeding. 35 ferrets were set loose in Meeteetse, the area where they were found 35 years ago after they were thought to be extinct. Wyoming Game and Fish recently re-captured 19, and all tested negative for any harmful diseases. Wyoming Game and Fish biologist Nicole Bjornlie said this was a good sign.

Wikimedia Commons

The University of Wyoming will break ground on the new Engineering Education and Research Building Friday in Laramie. The facility is set to be the largest and most expensive project in the in university’s history, with an estimated cost of around $105 million. Michael Pishko, Dean of the College of Engineering and Applied Science, said all kinds of students will be welcomed in the building, not just those in engineering.

WIKIMEDIA COMMONS

New research had found that the fatal brain illness, chronic wasting disease (CWD), has a direct impact on the population decline of white-tailed deer. University of Wyoming graduate student David Edmunds worked on the study and said the research shows the disease lowers the survival rate of female deer under the age of seven. As of right now, there is no way to manage the disease once introduced into a population of deer.

NATIONAL BLUE RIBBON SCHOOLS PROGRAM

Three Wyoming elementary schools have received the National Blue Ribbon Recognition for exemplary high performance. Fort Casper Academy in Natrona County, Wilson Elementary in Teton County and South Side Elementary in Worland were amongst 330 public and private schools in the U.S. selected to receive this award.

Remington Reitsma

The downturn in the energy industry over the last couple years has left a scarcity of jobs for many college graduates from the University of Wyoming, and across the country.

Over the weekend, the University of Wyoming hosted the annual geosciences job fair which hoped to help the problem. But the Rocky Mountain Rendezvous job fair has seen better years. In the past the job fair has hosted up to 32 companies, and this year there were only six. Even so, Matt Rhoads, a graduate student from Illinois State, said he wasn't discouraged.

Public Domain

On Monday, arguments were presented against the U.S. Bureau of Land Management's removal of wild horses from a herd of management area in what's known as the Checkerboard area near Rock Springs.

Wild horse advocate groups argue that the removal of horses is conducted inhumanely and is expensive for tax payers, and that wild horses have the right to roam on public land. American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign Director Suzanne Roy says she hopes the court appeal will stop the roundup, and soon.

WYOMING DEPARTMENT OF ADMINISTRATION AND INFORMATION

The new Wyoming State Librarian position has been filled by Jamie Markus who's been serving as the interim librarian for over a year now. The appointment comes in the midst of state budget discussions, but Markus said he still hopes to complete several current projects that will ultimately help improve the resources provided by local public and school libraries throughout the state.

WIKIMEDIA COMMONS

Wyoming NORML and Wyoming Purple Cross, medical marijuana advocate groups in the state, are hosting a public meeting to discuss the Peggy A. Kelly Wyoming Cannabis Act. Right now, the groups are working to get enough signatures to put the issue on the 2017 ballot. This would allow voters to decide whether or not to legalize medical marijuana in the state.

Wyoming Art Party

The second annual Pop-Up Artwalk is coming to downtown Laramie this month. The event, organized by the Wyoming Art Party, will host local artists, musicians, and performers in weekend-long demonstration of creativity and community. People will have the change to explore the different "pop-up" spaces inside local businesses and take part in activities throughout the event.

The Wyoming Art Party is run by local artists June Glasson, Adrienne Vetter, and Meg Thompson.

A New Way To Learn

Aug 29, 2016
COURTESY: KALEIDOSCOPE PRESCHOOL SYSTEMS

A new approach to preschool education has appeared in Wyoming, this one involving classical music and yoga mats. The Kaleidoscope Preschool Systems (KPS) will teach classes by integrating music and arts with more traditional lessons. KPS Education Director Patti Whetstone says, it's an attempt to teach children in a way that inspires creativity and a new way of thinking.

"It's an exciting adventure for all of us. The students and interacting and engaged, they're moving and singing and dancing and using instruments, and I think that's wonderful," said Whetstone.

Wikimedia Commons

The fundraising campaign to improve the Jenny Lake area in Grand Teton National Park finished on schedule, just in time for the National Park Service centennial.

The Inspiring Journeys campaign exceeded its goal of $14 million and has already contributed to improvements of backcountry trails, wayfinding paths, and visitor facilities. Construction that began three years ago is scheduled for completion in 2018.

Bob Beck

Wyoming Pathways, a cycling advocacy group, has been working to engage the public to discuss the future of the Pole Mountain non-motorized trails.

Pole Mountain is a popular recreation area near Laramie. During a recent meeting, Wyoming Pathways, the public and other recreation groups suggested improving signage, developing new loops, and better trail sustainability.