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

Credit Grizzly bear on Swan Lake Flats, Yellowstone National Park; Jim Peaco

This week, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service officially removed the Yellowstone area grizzly from the endangered species list, pronouncing it a success story. But several tribes including the Northern Arapaho, Northern Cheyenne, Standing Rock Sioux and Blackfeet are suing over the decision. Ben Nuvamsa is a member of the Hopi Nation Bear Clan that’s also part of the lawsuit. He said, by law, the federal government should have consulted tribes before delisting the bear.

Tom Koerner/USFWS

A new report called “The Sage Grouse White Papers” released last month by the Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies shows that captive breeding methods have a long way to go before they can help bring up sage grouse numbers.

Wikimedia Commons

Yellowstone National Park will begin taking actions against employees accused of sexual harassment in the park’s maintenance division in the coming week.

Wyoming's Wind River Country

The Northern Arapaho tribe's casino is one of many businesses in Wyoming planning events to celebrate the Great American Solar Eclipse happening August 21. Wind River Hotel and Casino marketing director Jackie Dorothy said the reservation is a good place to see the eclipse because it’s in the path of totality, and it’s expected to last a bit longer athan elsewhere at two minutes and 19 seconds. The tribe plans to offer free Native American song and dance performances every day starting the Thursday before the eclipse, and each evening they’ll offer star viewing parties.

Henry Leap (Goldstar father)

This week, a group of veterans will ascend Wyoming’s highest mountain, Gannett Peak in the Wind River Range in central Wyoming. 

The climb is part of a project called Summit for Soldiers and the idea is to help get vets who’ve suffered combat trauma into the outdoors to help them recover.

The group’s founder Mike Fairman said as many as 8,000 vets a year commit suicide, and not long ago he was nearly one of those statistics.

Last week, the Riverton Ranger reported that councilors from both tribes on the Wind River Indian Reservation signed a memorandum of understanding to help them manage their shared programs.

It’s the first time they'll manage them together since the Northern Arapaho disbanded the joint business council back in 2014.

Since the Joint Business Council was dissolved three years ago, the Northern Arapaho, the Eastern Shoshone, and the Bureau of Indian Affairs have been wrangling in the courts over how to move forward. The new MOU is an attempt to resolve those conflicts.

At an event on economic opportunities for the Wind River Reservation this week, keynote speaker and former Eastern Shoshone business Councilman Wes Martel said Wyoming’s two tribes are suffering from the same boom-and-bust cycles facing the rest of Wyoming. But he said, the reservation could have more control over what happens on their land. 

Melodie Edwards

Dubois author and wilderness outfitter Tory Taylor has released a new book called On The Trail Of The Mountain Shoshone Sheep Eaters: A High Altitude Archaeological Odyssey. The book is a gripping read about Taylor’s personal role in the discoveries of how this prehistoric tribe thrived in Wyoming’s highest elevations, and on how Taylor experimented with a Mountain Shoshone lifestyle.

Darrah Perez

It's been two years since a white city employee opened fire at a Riverton detox center, killing one Native American and wounding another. To commemorate the tragedy, the community hosted a peace march.

About 80 people walked from the Center of Hope detox center down Main Street to the city park. Children carried signs that read, “Peace,” and “Lives Matter” and “Humanity 4 All.”

Organizer Ron Howard said the goal of the march was to raise awareness so the children of Riverton can grow up safely here.

Public Domain

A new study shows tourism dollars generated by a single bobcat are greater than if the same animal is killed for its fur pelt.

Because of tighter international laws banning trapping of other spotted cats, the number of bobcats hunted or trapped for their pelts has quadrupled in recent years.

Melodie Edwards

In 2015, Wyoming passed the Food Freedom Act, giving the state the most lenient local food regulations in the country. It allows Wyoming farmers to sell things other states can’t, like raw milk, eggs and poultry direct to consumers. But many Wyoming food producers say, there’s still one road block: beef. The issue is that federal regulations make it hard to market Wyoming branded beef outside the state where all the customers are.

Lander Art Center

70 art pieces depicting the total solar eclipse will open for display Friday at the Lander Art Center. Director Stacy Stebner said artists from all over the state and one from Iowa contributed works on canvas, cast in pewter, screen printed, in ceramics and more to capture the experience of the eclipse.

She said normally art must be bought at the end of an art show but this time they are selling it off the wall throughout the show to take advantage of a large turnout.

Melodie Edwards / Wyoming Public Radio

The Washakie Museum and Cultural Center in Worland is hosting a symposium exploring some of the big questions in Wyoming's paleontology and archaeology right now.

Colorado River Water Users Association

The Walton Family Foundation has announced a plan to give out $35 million to help protect the Colorado and Mississippi Rivers. $20 million of that will go to restoration of the Colorado River, part of which originates in the Upper Green River Basin of Wyoming.

The foundation's Colorado River director Ted Kowalski said organizations like Trout Unlimited, American Rivers and the Nature Conservancy will be able to receive grants for projects to help save the river.

Melodie Edwards / Wyoming Public Radio

The National Congress of American Indians recently adopted a resolution to document the stories of Native American families who lost relatives during the boarding school era of the late 1800's through the 1970's. Those testimonies will then be submitted to the United Nations.

The hope is to heal the historical trauma of the boarding schools by getting the federal government to acknowledge and apologize for the harm they caused tribal communities.

the Rocky Mountain Incident Management Team Blue

After a hefty dose of moisture this winter and spring, it may seem odd to worry about fires over the July 4th holiday. But Wyoming State Forester Bill Crapser warns more water means taller grasses that dry out as the summer wears on.

“We’re starting to see things dry out around the state,” he said. “In fact, for today and tomorrow, the south central part of Wyoming is in high fire danger. So in our state with the way the wind blows and with the warm days, it only takes a few days to start drying the fine fuels out.”

University of Wyoming Theater and Dance Department

A group of Native American high schoolers visiting the University of Wyoming for a recruitment program walked out of the production of a theater performance last week during a recruitment program event.

Incoming American Indian Director Angela Jaime attended the play as a coordinator for the Native American Summer Institute. She said she and the 40 students were shocked when the musical comedy The Fantasticks took a sudden turn midway through.

CREDIT PITCHENGINE COMMUNITIES / COUNTY10.COM

  

For years now, Fremont County in central Wyoming has been swamped with high waters that have damaged homes and highways. In 2011, the National Guard was even called in to help. But this year was different, even though rivers rose higher than ever before. 

Wyoming Public Radio’s Melodie Edwards sat down with Fremont County Emergency Management Coordinator Kathi Metzler and Information Officer Tammy Shrower to find out what everybody did right this time.

NPS - JACOB W. FRANK

Bicyclists will soon be able to use an 180-mile rails-to-trails through the Greater Yellowstone area, thanks in part to a $20,000 grant from the Doppelt Family Development Fund. Wyoming Pathways applied for the funding and Tim Young is the group’s executive director. He said the Greater Yellowstone Trail will be a mix of gravel and paved surfaces and will take riders on a scenic route over Teton Pass.

The Jackson town council has voted unanimously to join other cities and states around the country to commit to the Paris Climate accord, an agreement among 196 of the world’s nations to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. President Trump recently pulled the U.S. out of that agreement, saying it wasn’t a good deal for the country.

Moosejaw Bravo Photography

For nine years now, the Draper Museum in Cody has been studying golden eagles and what they mean for the dwindling sagebrush ecosystem where they live. That study will end next year so Wyoming Public Radio’s Melodie Edwards joined researchers on a trip to band eaglets and find out what all this research is revealing about this iconic species.

Wyoming Beef Council

Three Japanese food editors visited Wyoming last week to learn more about how beef is raised and cooked in the U.S. The tour was part of a partnership between the Wyoming Beef Council and the U.S. Meat Export Federation. 

Wyoming Beef Council director Ann Wittmann said the U.S. shipped 425 million pounds of beef to Japan alone in 2016. That brought in over $1 billion for U.S. beef producers. Wittmann said Japanese markets also prefer cuts that U.S. consumers don’t have a taste for.

Melodie Edwards / Wyoming Public Radio

The city of Cody is now home to Wyoming Legacy Meat, the first USDA-inspected full-service meat processing plant in the state in over 40 years. This will allow more ranchers to market their beef as “grass fed” and “natural” and sell it out of state.

Right now, there are several state-inspected slaughter plants and processors in Wyoming, but that meat can only be sold in-state to a limited market. That’s why most cattle are sold to feedlots, sweeping Wyoming’s beef into the nation’s bulk meat supply. 

University of Wyoming

A University of Wyoming astronomy professor is part of an international team of over 1000 scientists working to develop a telescope with an image up to 20 times sharper than the Hubble Space Telescope.

Michael Pierce specializes in understanding the evolution of galaxies. He said the 30-meter telescope, as it’s called, will help do that.

Photo Doug Smith via nps.gov/yell

A national tribal conservation group is proposing that Wyoming create a 31-mile “sacred resources protection zone” around Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks where wolves can’t be hunted.

The group, Protect the Wolves, has reached out to the Eastern Shoshone and Northern Arapaho in Wyoming for support. Both tribes told Wyoming Public Radio that they are still evaluating the proposal.

Pages