Willow Belden

Reporter

Phone: 307-766-5086
Email: wbelden@uwyo.edu 

Willow Belden joined Wyoming Public Radio after earning her masters degree at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism. Prior to grad school, Willow spent a year in the Middle East on a Fulbright grant, conducting research in a Palestinian refugee camp, and writing for the Jordan Times and JO Magazine. Upon returning to the U.S., she became a reporter and editor at the Queens Chronicle in New York City and received the Rookie Reporter of the Year award from the New York Press Association. This spring, she received the Pulitzer Traveling Fellowship from Columbia University. When she’s not working on stories, Willow spends her time bicycling, hiking, kayaking and traveling. She can occasionally be spotted on a unicycle. And she has a habit of swimming in the ocean with the Polar Bear Club on New Years Day.

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Open Spaces
4:45 pm
Fri August 2, 2013

August 2nd, 2013

Credit Rebecca Martinez

Reviving local saw mills could limit fire danger in the Rocky Mountain Region

Saw mills are re-opening in Wyoming and Colorado after a decade of being shuttered. They’re harvesting and processing trees that have been killed by beetle infestation.  Still, many are suitable for lumber.  Wyoming Public Radio’s Rebecca Martinez reports that this uptick in the timber business is helping with forest fire management.

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Open Spaces
4:26 pm
Fri August 2, 2013

Researchers try curbing West Nile with fish, to protect sage grouse

One of the main things that threatens sage grouse is human development and fragmentation of their habitat. But another big worry is West Nile Virus.

The disease is carried by mosquitoes, and researchers are now testing a new method for keeping mosquitoes in check. Wyoming Public Radio’s Willow Belden spoke with Brad Fedy, who’s leading the project. He says West Nile Virus is a major concern for sage grouse.

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Open Spaces
4:20 pm
Fri August 2, 2013

Wilson resident authors Yellowstone and Grand Teton field guide

Kurt Johnson

Kurt Johnson of Wilson is the author of a new field guide for Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks. Wyoming Public Radio’s Willow Belden spoke with Johnson about the book. He says that while there were already a lot of field guides for those parks, he felt he could still add something.

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Open Spaces
4:14 pm
Fri August 2, 2013

WYOMING STORIES: Former Heart Mountain internees remember life at the camp

View of Heart Mountain from the former internment camp
Credit Willow Belden

During World War II, thousands of Japanese Americans were incarcerated at the Heart Mountain Relocation Center, near Cody. Heart Mountain was one of 10 internment camps across the U.S.

There is now a museum on the site, and each year, the Heart Mountain Foundation hosts a pilgrimage. During this year’s pilgrimage, Wyoming Public Radio’s Willow Belden sat down with several former internees and produced this piece.

Click here to listen to other pieces in our Wyoming Stories series.

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Wyoming Stories
1:58 pm
Fri August 2, 2013

Raymond Uno recalls losing his father, rights, while confined at Heart Mountain Relocation Center

Raymond Uno
Credit Willow Belden

Raymond Uno is a former judge from Salt Lake City. He was one of thousands of Japanese Americans who were incarcerated at the Heart Mountain Relocation Center, near Cody, during World War II. Wyoming Public Radio’s Willow Belden interviewed Uno and produced this Wyoming Stories piece.

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Wyoming Stories
1:55 pm
Fri August 2, 2013

Takashi Hoshizaki recalls resisting the draft while incarcerated at Heart Mountain

Takashi Hoshizaki
Credit Willow Belden

Takashi Hoshizaki and his family were confined at the Heart Mountain Relocation Center during World War II. While confined there, he received his draft notice, and decided not to report. Wyoming Public Radio’s Willow Belden interviewed Hoshizaki and produced this Wyoming Stories piece.

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Wyoming Stories
1:50 pm
Fri August 2, 2013

LaDonna Zall recalls seeing the Heart Mountain Relocation Center from the outside

LaDonna Zall
Credit Willow Belden

LaDonna Zall is the acting curator for the Heart Mountain Wyoming Foundation. Her family moved to Powell when she was 10. That was during World War II, when thousands of Japanese Americans were confined at the nearby Heart Mountain Relocation Center. Zall and her parents didn’t know much about what was going on at the camp, but she vividly remembers internees leaving after the war ended. Wyoming Public Radio’s Willow Belden interviewed Zall and produced this Wyoming Stories piece.

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Wyoming Stories
1:46 pm
Fri August 2, 2013

Shigeru Yabu remembers taming a magpie while confined at Heart Mountain

Shigeru Yabu
Credit Willow Belden

Shigeru Yabu and his family were incarcerated at the Heart Mountain Relocation Center when he was 10. While there, he strove to make pets out of insects, worms, amphibians, and finally a bird. Wyoming Public Radio’s Willow Belden interviewed Yabu and produced this Wyoming Stories piece.

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Wyoming Stories
1:42 pm
Fri August 2, 2013

Sam Mihara describes the experience of being incarcerated at Heart Mountain

Sam Mihara
Credit Willow Belden

Sam Mihara is a rocket scientist who worked for Boeing and later started his own high-tech consulting firm. He was incarcerated at the Heart Mountain Relocation Center during World War II, and he now travels around the country speaking about that experience. Wyoming Public Radio’s Willow Belden interviewed Mihara and produced this Wyoming Stories piece.

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News
6:24 am
Tue July 30, 2013

Wildlife deaths up on Yellowstone and Grand Teton park roads

Wildlife deaths from vehicle collisions are on the rise in Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks. That’s according to records obtained by the group Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility.

The group’s executive director, Jeff Ruch, says one of the reasons , at least in Yellowstone, could be road improvements.

“Yellowstone designs its road projects for basically commuting into the park,” says Ruch. “They’ve invested a lot of money in recent years into making roads wider and straighter.”

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News
6:14 am
Tue July 30, 2013

Researchers see fish as possible tool to protect sage grouse

Researchers are testing a new method to keep mosquitoes under control, in order to reduce the risk of sage grouse contracting West Nile Virus.

They’re introducing non-invasive fat-head minnows into stock ponds in northeastern Wyoming, because the fish like to eat mosquito larvae.

Brad Fedy is leading the project. He says fish may turn out to be a better solution than traditional larvicides, because you’d only have to introduce them once, rather than spraying an area annually.

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Disabilities
5:58 pm
Wed July 24, 2013

Health Department seeks to serve more developmentally disabled Wyomingites

The Wyoming Department of Health has come up with a plan meant to increase the number of people who can receive services because of developmental disabilities.


The department’s Chris Newman says they currently provide extensive services, including around-the-clock care, for many individuals. But the waiting list to get those services is long. Now, they want to start providing a more limited array of services to people with less acute cases.

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Open Spaces
3:10 pm
Fri July 12, 2013

New homelessness coordinator takes first steps in creating long-term homelessness plan

Brenda Lyttle

Governor Matt Mead is hoping to create a ten-year plan to address homelessness in Wyoming. As a first step in the process, the Department of Family Services has appointed a homelessness coordinator. Her name is Brenda Lyttle.

Wyoming Public Radio’s Willow Belden spoke with her. Lyttle says her first task will be to identify what services are already available to homeless individuals in different communities in Wyoming.

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Open Spaces
3:00 pm
Fri July 12, 2013

Rail transport opens new markets for oil, but draws criticism from some local communities

Rancher Tom Wilson stands at his property line, watching work proceed at the site where the oil loading station will be located.
Credit Willow Belden

A facility is slated to be built in the town of Fort Laramie that would load oil onto rail cars. Assuming the project gets the necessary permits from the Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality, it’s expected to be completed by the end of the year. Transporting oil by train is becoming increasingly popular, and experts say this facility and others like it will help the energy industry thrive. But local residents fear that a new industrial site could bring problems to their community. Wyoming Public Radio’s Willow Belden reports.

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NPR Story
2:15 pm
Mon July 8, 2013

Abundance Of Elephants Strains South African Game Reserves

Originally published on Tue July 9, 2013 10:36 am

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

In many parts of Africa, elephants are threatened by poaching. But in South Africa, they're doing so well that some game reserves say they're overpopulated. Now, many of those reserves are trying to limit elephant reproduction even while some ecologists believe it's the wrong approach. Willow Belden reports.

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News
7:28 am
Fri July 5, 2013

Mead calls for plan to tackle homelessness

Governor Matt Mead is calling for a state-wide plan to address homelessness in Wyoming, and the Department of Family Services has appointed a homelessness coordinator to help with that process.

Brenda Lyttle says part of her job will be to find out what services are already available to homeless individuals in different communities, and help connect those services across the state.

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Assault
5:27 pm
Tue July 2, 2013

Man charged with felony assault in Grand Teton stabbing

Credit MrPhilDog / Phil Thomas / Flickr Creative Commons

A man has been charged with two counts of felony assault for an incident in Grand Teton National Park last week. Vincent Hagey is accused of stabbing another man at an employee dormitory. The victim was taken to St. John’s Medical Center in Jackson and has since been released.

  Park Spokeswoman Jackie Skaggs says assaults this severe are very rare in the park.

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Invasive plants
6:03 pm
Fri June 28, 2013

Agencies seek to restore native vegetation in Bighorn Basin

Credit Chris Evans / Illinois Wildlife Action Plan

The Natural Resources Conservation Service and other agencies are trying to once again make room for native vegetation along riverbanks in the Bighorn Basin.

  Amy Anderson with the Game and Fish Department is helping coordinate the effort. She says Russian olive trees and other non-native plants were introduced in the 1800s, and they’ve choked out native vegetation and degraded soil and water quality.

  She says they’ve made progress removing the invasive plants from various creeks, but there’s a lot more work to be done.

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Open Spaces
2:21 pm
Fri June 28, 2013

June 28th, 2013

Wyoming Lawmakers Outraged at Obama’s Climate Plan

This week President Obama announced he's going to attempt to combat climate change from the Oval Office. Wyoming's three Republicans in Congress are none too happy with his plan. As Matt Laslo reports, they say it could cripple the state's economy and hit your pocket.

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oil recovery
6:33 pm
Tue June 25, 2013

Enhanced Oil Recovery Institute to host CO2 conference

Credit (Photo by hitchhacking via Creative Commons)

The University of Wyoming is hosting a conference to help energy companies use enhanced oil recovery to increase their yields. That’s a technique in which carbon dioxide is pumped underground to help extract oil.

  Glen Murrell is the Associate Director of UW’s Enhanced Oil Recovery Institute. He says this year’s conference is putting a major emphasis on helping small operators.

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News
8:17 am
Mon June 24, 2013

Rock Springs summit seeks to improve workplace safety

The Wyoming Department of Workforce Services is hosting a summit in Rock Springs on Tuesday and Wednesday aimed at helping make Wyoming’s workplaces safer.

Wyoming consistently has one of the highest rates of workplace fatalities in the nation. The summit will offer trainings and give companies a chance to share ideas about how to prevent workplace accidents.

Workforce Services Director Joan Evans says they’ll also honor employees who took steps to protect fellow workers.

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Open Spaces
4:06 pm
Fri June 21, 2013

June 21st, 2013

Sequester effects less painful than expected, but lawmakers still unhappy

The congressionally mandated budget cuts called sequestration continue to have an impact on Wyoming. And while the state’s Republican lawmakers say those cuts aren’t having as big of an impact as predicted by Democrats, Matt Laslo reports from Washington that the delegation still isn’t happy with the sequester.

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Open Spaces
3:48 pm
Fri June 21, 2013

Efforts to restore sage grouse habitat move forward

Last year, we reported on a new project to restore sage grouse habitat that’s been disturbed by energy development in the Powder River Basin. The Bureau of Land Management, the Natural Resources Conservation Service, and other agencies are participating in the effort.

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Open Spaces
3:16 pm
Fri June 21, 2013

With added OSHA personnel, more companies get safety consultations

Wyoming consistently has one of the highest rates of workplace fatalities in the country. Many of these are in the energy industry, though not all. Last year, the state legislature decided to tackle the problem by hiring more safety consultants for Wyoming’s Occupational Health and Safety Administration, or OSHA. Most agree that the change has been positive, but some say more still needs to be done, in order to reduce workplace injuries and deaths. Wyoming Public Radio’s Willow Belden reports.

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Open Spaces
3:08 pm
Fri June 21, 2013

News Director Bob Beck reflects on 25 years at WPR

Wyoming Public Radio News Director Bob Beck hosts Morning Edition at WPR’s studio in Laramie
Credit Willow Belden

Wyoming Public Radio’s news director, Bob Beck, has been with the station for 25 years this month. During that time, the station has received 81 national, regional and state awards. Bob himself is a two-time winner of Edward R. Murrow awards and has contributed to two Emmy-award-winning television projects.

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News
3:48 pm
Mon June 17, 2013

Agencies seek to restore Powder River Basin sage grouse habitat

A project to restore sage grouse habitat in the Powder River Basin is moving forward.

The Bureau of Land Management, the Natural Resources Conservation Service, and other agencies are participating. Their goal is to focus on areas with abandoned gas wells and make those areas hospitable for sage grouse again, by planting sage brush and removing roads and power lines.

The BLM’s Bill Ostheimer says many landowners and local groups have been receptive to the idea. But he says it could be years before sage grouse move back into areas they were displaced from.

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Elk
6:28 pm
Wed June 12, 2013

Study: Elk pregnancies unaffected by wolf presence

Credit ucumari / Creative Commons

A study by the Wyoming Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit shows that elk are not especially stressed out by the presence of wolves.

Pregnancy rates among migratory elk herds near Yellowstone have declined, and one theory was that wolves were harassing the elk – causing them to run and hide, and depriving them of grazing opportunities.

Arthur Middleton, the lead author on the report, says elk did move around somewhat to get away from wolves, but only when the wolves were within one kilometer away. And he says wolves only rarely came that close.

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Wild Horses
6:11 pm
Tue June 11, 2013

BLM considers reducing wild horse gathers this fall

The Bureau of Land Management says it will likely remove fewer wild horses from the range this fall than in the past.

  BLM Spokesoman Tom Gorey says that’s because they’re running out of space to put the horses.

  “We are almost maxed out in our long-term pastures in the Midwest and the short-term corrals we have in the West, where we put horses that we have removed from the range,” Gorey said. “And we try to adopt out as many as we can, but adoptions have been on the decline.”

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Behind the Scenes
4:44 pm
Fri June 7, 2013

Elephants in South Africa

The idea for this story came about when I was reporting on efforts to develop a contraceptive for male coyotes. One of scientists I interviewed, a professor of zoology and physiology at the University of Wyoming, mentioned that wildlife managers in many game reserves in South Africa are using birth control to manage burgeoning elephant populations.

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