Melodie Edwards

Reporter

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

Melodie Edwards grew up in Walden, Colorado where her father worked in the oilfield and timber industries. She graduated with an MFA from the University of Michigan on Colby Fellowship. 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 Edwards and her husband own Night Heron Books and Coffeehouse. When she's not writing, she loves to putz in the garden and hike and ski in the mountains with her daughters.

Ways to Connect

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With only a few hundred in existence, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service plans to release over 900 adult Wyoming toads onto land west of Laramie on Wednesday. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Recovery Coordinator Doug Keinath says there’s a lot riding on the release because of how rare this toad is.

“It’s extremely rare. It’s considered one of the most endangered amphibians in North America, if not the most endangered amphibian in North America. It only occurs within the Laramie Basin. So within 30 miles or so of Laramie is the entire global range of the Wyoming Toad.”

A conference next week in Riverton will explore the enormous health gap on the Wind River Indian Reservation. The life expectancy of Native Americans there is only 52 years old, compared to the national average of 78 years old. Northern Arapaho Social Services Director Allison Sage says the conference will bring together doctors, teachers, traditional healers and others to collaborate on solutions. He says there's especially a need for more doctors and better preventative and prenatal care.

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An upcoming agriculture conference will look at how to entice younger Wyomingites to work in ranching.

This year’s Wyoming Cattle Industry Convention is titled Educating for Ranching Success in the 21st Century. The average age of a U.S. rancher today is 57. Wyoming Stockgrower’s Association Vice President Jim Magagna would like to see that number go down.

Collecting antlers is not allowed west of the Continental Divide between January and April, but South Pinedale Game Warden Jordan Kraft says that doesn’t stop people. He says the growing popularity of antler collecting is disturbing wildlife, just when the animals need to gain weight in the winter.

More and more people are making money by collecting antlers dropped by mule deer and elk and selling them for $14 to $18 a pound. The antlers are made into furniture, or ground into medicinal teas to sell on Asian markets. 

DaiRut

A family whose three St. Bernard dogs were killed in traps in Casper filed a claim this week with the Wyoming Game and Fish Department and other agencies, contending that the dogs were caught in “choker loop” traps on state lands where they say trapping is not allowed. 

Family attorney Gary Shockey says state regulations list other activities that are legal on state lands, but not trapping.  

Melodie Edwards

  

Everywhere you look on the McNeil elk feed ground west of Bondurant, you see the bones and hides of dead elk. Rancher Steve Robertson says many are left behind from wolf kills. He tells of seeing elk chased by wolves here just this last winter.

“The steams boiling off them, their tongues are hanging out,” he says. “And then two weeks later all those elk were killed on the feed ground. And the elk, they can’t go anywhere they’re snowed in, they’re trapped.”

Wikimedia Commons

The Northern Arapaho tribe last week won a case in a federal court when the U.S. government dropped an appeal over the tribe’s right to occasionally kill eagles for religious purposes.

The tribe challenged the government in 2012 when a young Northern Arapaho man was charged with killing an eagle that he intended to use in a Sun Dance ceremony.

Pitchengine Communities / County10.com

Over the weekend, the Little Wind River reached its third highest peak on record, causing flooding that’s left many on the Wind River Reservation and in Fremont County displaced.

The Red Cross of Wyoming has opened an evacuation center at the Riverton Fairgrounds for the nearly 300 people affected by the flooding. Spokeswoman Pat Kondas says, people need to stay ready to evacuate as late as through the middle of this week.

A new documentary film about the rocky history of the Clark's Fork of the Yellowstone River is showing Saturday at the Pink Garter Theater in Jackson. Filmmaker and avid kayaker Aaron Pruzan says a lot of the white water footage was taken before they had any plans to write the river's story. 

Melodie Edwards

  

Laramie gardener Amy Fluet admits it. She’s a bit of a hoarder.

“I take up a huge amount of the space in the refrigerator with seeds,” she says, laughing. “It's an embarrassment, and I hide them in the back so my family doesn't realize how much space it takes up.”

She stores seeds in the fridge to trick them into thinking its winter until she's ready to plant them.

National Geographic

National Geographic magazine has just released a new issue dedicated completely to Yellowstone National Park. But you might have to hustle to get your copy.

In celebration of the 100th anniversary of the National Park system, National Geographic committed an entire issue to the country’s first national park: Yellowstone. Nature writer David Quammen lives in Montana and wrote all the articles for the issue. He says it’s available online and it hit newsstands this last weekend.

NAWHERC

April is sexual assault awareness month, and a Native advocacy group is handing out free copies of a new booklet on reservations around the country called “What To Do When You’re Raped: An ABC Handbook for Native Girls.”           

Listen to the full show here. 

Energy Bill Could Help Wyoming

The U.S. Senate put its partisan tendencies aside this week and passed a sweeping bill aimed at modernizing the U.S. energy sector. Matt Laslo reports from Washington the bill includes provisions that could help the state’s ailing energy industry.

NAWHERC

  

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month, a good time to talk with the editor of a new book being handed out for free to Native women around the country called What To Do When You’re Raped: An ABC Handbook For Native Girls

Gary Kramer - U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

UPDATE: The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service killed 9 of the 16 wolves in the Dell Creek wolf pack and ceased their extermination once the pack stopped killing cattle in the area. To learn more about the pack and wolf management in Wyoming, click here.

A wolf pack in Western Wyoming has been evading the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service after killing as many as ten cattle this winter.

Wyoming Highway Patrol Association

  

The Wyoming Highway Patrol recently completed a training certifying officers to work on the Wind River Indian Reservation. The goal is to help Wind River police make reservation highways safer, especially for kids.

Highway Patrol Captain Tom Pritchard says the training will help them support the Wind River Police Department by patrolling for impaired drivers and children without seat belts.

Wyoming Game and Fish

 

It’s true, we got a late start, the snow turning to mush in the warm sun under our snowmobile tread as we head out mid-morning. I'm tagging along with Wyoming Game and Fish Wolverine Biologist Lee Tafelmeyer into the south end of the Wind River Range to take down a motion-sensored camera he's been baiting with roadkill deer and beaver carcasses in an effort to take photos of wolverines. It's all part of a multi-state project to count this elusive species in the West. Last year, they took 53 photos of an estimated five animals.

Ernest Thompson Seton

  

Last month, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced they were moving forward with de-listing Yellowstone area grizzly bears from the Endangered Species List. The news raised the hackles of many wildlife advocates. 

Wyoming Natural Diversity Database

When you think of pocket gophers, you may think of their holes covering large swaths of land. But in Wyoming’s Red Desert there’s a very rare species of pocket gopher and an environmental group is concerned it could soon become extinct.

This week, WildEarth Guardians filed a petition with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to have the Wyoming pocket gopher listed as endangered. Erik Molvar is a wildlife biologist for the group and he says the problem is that the species only lives in a specific brush called the Gardner's saltbush.

Wyoming Game and Fish

Wolverines have adapted to live in snowy climates with their snowshoe-shaped feet and alpine snow dens, and some scientists say a warming climate would affect them drastically. But in 2014 the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service dismissed such conclusions and withdrew a proposal to list the species as endangered. On Monday, a Montana judge ordered the feds to revive that proposal.

Flickr Creative Commons, by Tom Brandt

(In a previous version of this story we indicated the entire plant was closing while only Unit 3 is closing. We regret the error.)

Stricter federal emission rules for power plants are having an effect in Wyoming. Rocky Mountain Power says plans to convert one unit of a coal-powered plant to natural gas in western Wyoming fell through and instead they’ll shut it down at the end of 2017.

A lone hunter stealthily stalking its prey; a shrill cry in the night.

Wikipedia Creative Commons, by Dcrjsr

A new mule deer migration route has been discovered crossing 45 miles over the Teton Range into Idaho. The discovery of the new migration route was confirmed this year when Grand Teton National Park collared and tracked several deer using GPS technology. Grand Teton Wildlife Biologist Sarah Dewey says they were amazed to see what lengths one doe went to get to her winter range.

A series of community dialogues to combat racism in towns surrounding the Wind River Indian Reservation in Riverton is gaining steam. Organizers say the meetings are going so well, they plan to continue hosting them indefinitely.

The U.S. Justice Department suggested hosting the dialogues after a shooting at a detox center last summer by a white city employee that left one Northern Arapaho man dead and another severely injured.

Wikipedia Creative Commons

Several environmental groups filed a petition Wednesday with the Environmental Protection Agency in an effort to overhaul a program that exempts underground aquifers from protection under the Safe Drinking Water Act.

YouTube

Sugar beet farmers in Wyoming are celebrating another record-breaking increase in production. In 2015, 13% more sugar beets were harvested in Wyoming for a total of 940,000 tons. It’s the seventh year in the last eight to break records. That’s according to Wyoming State Statistician Rhonda Brandt who says Wyoming has been growing sugar beets to process into sugar since at least the early 1900’s, but in the last decade, conditions have improved for farmers.

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