The environmental organization, the Wyoming Outdoor Council, will soon celebrate their 50-year anniversary. The group has announced they’ll host a celebration in Lander on September 22 and 23.
The event will include a public mural painting, food and kid’s events, along with workshops on citizen advocacy and a keynote address from former Environmental Protection Agency administrator Gina McCarthy.
The Jalan Crossland band is also scheduled to perform.
Community Engagement Director Amy Rathke said environmental policy work is slow going but the group has enjoyed several successes over the years.
“For example, working on the Shoshone National Forest plan for over ten years and setting aside a good amount of that forest from oil and gas leasing,” Rathke said. “I’d say the Wyoming Range victory was a big one for us, setting aside special parts of that landscape against development.”
Rathke said they continue to work on the Rock Springs Resource Management Plan for more protections in the Red Desert, a landscape she said was especially beloved by the Council’s founder Tom Bell, who died about a year ago.
“That landscape, in particular, was very important to our founder Tom Bell when he returned from World War II with a purple heart after he had lost an eye and been through all this trauma and came back to his home in Wyoming and was looking to reconnect with himself and with this place,” Rathke said. “That has always been a landscape that we’ve worked for and cared about in our entire 50-year history.”
Rathke says three conservation awards will be given to Wyoming advocates at the event: one to National Audubon Society Vice President Brian Rutledge for his work on sage grouse protections, a second to Michael Burd for his citizen advocacy for the Wyoming Range and a third to Patagonia outdoor gear owner Yvon Chouinard for his vocal support of environmental efforts in the state.
A full schedule of events and ticket prices are available at the Wyoming Outdoor Council’s website.