Melodie Edwards

Reporter

Phone: 307-766-2405
Email: medward9@uwyo.edu   

Melodie Edwards covers a wide variety of Wyoming topics from wildlife to Native American issues to agriculture. She is currently working on a civil discourse project called, “I Respectfully Disagree,” interviewing people in the state who are modeling how people find compromise to make change. She is the recipient of a national PRNDI award for her investigation of the reservation housing crisis and several regional Edward R. Murrow Awards, two for "best use of sound."

Melodie grew up in Walden, Colorado where her father worked in the oilfield and timber industries and her mother was the editor of the Jackson County Star. She graduated with an MFA from the University of Michigan on a Colby Fellowship and received two Hopwood Awards there for fiction and nonfiction. She is the recipient of the Doubleday Wyoming Arts Council Award for Women and is the author of Hikes Around Fort Collins published by Pruett Publishing. Melodie and her husband own Night Heron Books and Coffeehouse. She also loves to putz in the garden, and hike and ski in the mountains with her daughters and her dad.

Ways to Connect

Tom Koerner, USFWS

Early one spring evening, I meet University of Wyoming Biodiversity Institute’s Zoe Nelson at a rest area between Gillette and Buffalo. Shadows grow long on red bluffs and green sagebrush prairie. It’s that time of night when all the birds are going bonkers. We’re out here as part of a program to get regular folks like me and my husband, Ken—he’s tonight’s driver—to help keep track of short-eared owls. The program is called WAFLS or Western Asio Flammeus Landscape Study.

As part of the 150th anniversary of the city of Laramie, an art group is working to create a community quilt in hopes of promoting civil discourse in the community. Laramie artists June Glasson and Adrienne Vetter recently started the Art and Action effort to teach people how to employ art in political engagement.

Dana Arbaugh

Zarif Khan, also known as Hot Tamale Louie. The idea for the sculpture came from Dana Arbaugh whose wife remembers buying hamburgers from him for 25 cents. Her father was friends with Khan. Dana Arbaugh commissioned the sculpture and said Khan’s story embodies the American dream.

Jean Harris

  

An Attack

It was on Thanksgiving night that Eastern Shoshone member Jean Harris’ life took a terrifying turn. She had been waiting for a text from her Northern Arapaho boyfriend of over three years, asking her to come pick him up and bring him home. He’d been staying with his parents for several weeks and she missed him. She put on her clothes, re-applied her makeup and drove from her house in Lander to his parents’ house on the reservation to get him.

A new health care study shows that so-called “deaths of despair” have doubled in the U.S. in recent years, but Wyoming is among the ten states struggling with the problem the least. That’s according to the Commonwealth Fund Scorecard, a report on state health care systems. But in general, the report shows that Wyoming’s health care is still lagging in many areas, coming in 33rd in the country overall.

Jessica Flock

Over the last few weeks, Native Americans from across the Northern Plains have been traveling toward Fort Laramie National Historic Site in Wyoming. They came by bus, by foot and even by horse. They're here to recognize the 1868 Fort Laramie Treaty. 

Raspberry deLight Farms

Studies show that Albany County has the highest rates of food insecurity in the state. One organization hopes to fix that with the help of a $400,000 Food Project Grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

A male Sage Grouse (also known as the Greater Sage Grouse) in the USA
Pacific Southwest Region U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service from Sacramento, US

A draft revision of the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) plans to change Obama-era sage grouse protections in Wyoming surfaced this week, even though they won’t be officially released until next month or so. The revised plan would potentially allow energy development in areas considered the bird’s best habitat, especially mature sage brush lands.

Fort Laramie National Historical Site

Native Americans from tribes all around the Northern Plains are running on foot, riding on horseback or driving by vehicle to convene at the Fort Laramie Historic Site in eastern Wyoming for the 150th anniversary of the signing of the Fort Laramie Treaty of 1868.

frankieleon on Flicker via Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)

Five agencies around Wyoming will split a $2-million grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, a federal organization, to help combat opioid abuse in the state. It’s a national five-year grant program and this is the second year Wyoming has received it. 

Native Wellness Institute

Native American students, faculty, and staff at the University of Wyoming in Laramie recently participated in a wellness training. The idea was to explore how to process trauma left behind by a dark history. 

Jewlicious

At the Matthew Shepard Symposium hosted last week at the University of Wyoming, protesters gathered outside with signs denouncing the LGBTQ community. The group was from the Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka, and nearly 20 years ago, they also picketed Matthew Shepard’s funeral.

But inside the symposium, a former Westboro Church member was preparing to speak. Megan Phelps-Roper was there to explain that when she started engaging in civil dialogue over Twitter, her entire worldview changed.

The doe traveled 92 miles farther than the longest mule deer migration route known.
Wyoming Migration Initiative


The longest mule deer migration route weaves across much of western Wyoming. Twice a year, deer travel 150 miles from the Red Desert over the Wyoming Range to Hoback Junction near Jackson. But in 2016, wildlife biologists tracked one doe—#255—trekking that distance plus an extra 92 miles, all the way into Idaho. Wyoming Public Radio’s Melodie Edwards sat down with the Wyoming Migration Initiative’s Director Matt Kauffman to hear the twists and turns of Doe #255’s epic journey. The question is, have scientists discovered a new migration route or is #255 just super spunky?

Nature Geoscience

It’s long been a mystery why one of the world’s largest volcanoes, Yellowstone, is stuck out in the middle of the continent. Most volcanoes occur on the edge of continents where the tectonic plates bump together, creating pressure. 

Wyoming Migration Initiative

After walking the usual migration route from the Red Desert to Hoback Junction near Jackson, Mule Deer Doe #255 kept going to Island Park, Idaho, traveling a total distance of 242 miles. That's 92 miles farther than the known-longest mule deer migration route. All summer, scientists waited to see if she’d migrate back or if she had just joined a different herd. 

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The opioid crisis has hit Native American communities harder than any other racial group in the country. Overdose deaths in Indian Country are 519 percent of the national average.

Jimmy Emerson via Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)
Melodie Edwards

The Bobcat Trapper

Riverton trapper Tom Krause shows me around his workshop where furs of every sort are displayed on the wall.

“I have some pelts here that you might be interested in. To begin I have a melanistic phase of a raccoon, which is a black raccoon or the opposite of being albino.”

Leon Reed / Flickr Creative Commons

Supporters of an $80 million dam project in south-central Wyoming are looking at the possibility of a federal land transfer to secure the land for the site. It’s the only remaining path forward for the project since legislators chose not to fully fund it. 

Northern Arapaho Tribe

The Northern Arapaho Tribe on the Wind River Reservation has filed a lawsuit against some of the country’s biggest opioid manufacturers and distributors. 

Ucross Foundation

A new art exhibition, up now at the Ucross Gallery in northern Wyoming, takes a contemporary look at the image of the horse. Printmaker Mark Ritchie was inspired to invite artists from around the world to submit their work after attending a horse-focused art workshop in Hungary. 

Wyoming County Commissioners Association

For 40 years, dozens of wilderness study areas, or WSAs, have been stuck in limbo, waiting for Congress to decide whether they should be given official wilderness status or released for other uses. So, three years ago, the Wyoming County Commissioners Association formed the Wyoming Public Lands Initiative, collaborating with local stakeholders to answer that question.

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A new report by the Wyoming Survey and Analysis Center shows that opioid abuse in the state is following the same rising trends as the rest of the nation, but isn’t seeing the skyrocketing rates of Appalachia and New England.

Melodie Edwards

The country’s debate over immigration is escalating, and now it’s arrived in Wyoming. A private company wants to build an immigration detention center on the outskirts of Evanston on Wyoming’s western border. This was met with great celebration by many local folks like Uinta  County Commissioner Craig Welling. To him, it means jobs.

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