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What will Wyoming be like in 2030? A new contest is asking what the state's youth would like to see

Poster for the collaborative multimedia contest
Emilene Ostlind
Poster for the collaborative multimedia contest

A new contest is calling on Wyoming's youth to imagine life in Wyoming nine years in the future. Anyone born on Jan. 1, 2001, or after, and whose primary address is a Wyoming zip code, can enter to win cash prizes up to $700.

As energy markets change and Wyoming's economy faces an uncertain future, "Imagining Wyoming’s Future: A Youth Vision for 2030" hopes to learn what young people want to see next.

Submissions can include what kinds of jobs the next generation wants, what kinds of communities they want to live in, or what the landscape will look like.

"There are a lot of smart, hard-working people across Wyoming right now who are trying to address some of the economic challenges in our state," said Emilene Ostlind, communications coordinator with the University of Wyoming Haub School of Environment and Natural Resources, a partner in the project. "Part of our goal with this project is to just remind them of these young voices and make sure that Wyoming youth are part of the conversation."

Submissions can take any form whether it be an essay, story, piece of art, podcast, or film. Initially, the contest was going to just ask for essays, but organizers decided to amend the rules.

"The judges were less interested in what media format you choose. And more interested in the kind of richness of the ideas that we hear in these contest submissions. So, we really want to get a clear picture of what some people care about, what they value about Wyoming," said Ostlind.

Four judges will consider the entries, all with deep roots in Wyoming along with unique expertise. They will review the submissions and select winners based on the clarity of ideas about what Wyoming's future should look like. There will be a grand prize, second place, third place and seven runners up.

The event is being organized by the University of Wyoming's Ruckelshaus Institute of Environment and Natural Resources, Wyoming Humanities, Wyoming 2030, the Wyoming Afterschool Alliance, and the UW Creative Writing Program sponsor the contest.

The deadline for submissions has been extended to Nov. 30, 2021, at midnight.

Before Wyoming, Cooper McKim has reported for NPR stations in Connecticut, Massachusetts, and South Carolina. He's reported breaking news segments and features for several national NPR news programs. Cooper is the host of the limited podcast series Carbon Valley. Cooper studied Environmental Policy and Music. He's an avid jazz piano player, backpacker, and podcast listener.

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