Melodie Edwards

Reporter

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

Melodie Edwards is the host and producer of WPM's award-winning podcast The Modern West. Her Ghost Town(ing) series looks at rural despair and resilience through the lens of her hometown of Walden, Colorado. She has been a radio reporter at WPM since 2013, covering topics from wildlife to Native American issues to agriculture. Her civil discourse project called, "I Respectfully Disagree," brought together people in the state modeling how people find compromise to make change. One of these conversations, "Time Heals All Wounds," won a national PMJA award. She is also 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. Later her parents ran an Orvis fly fishing store there. She graduated with an MFA from the University of Michigan on a Colby Fellowship and received two Hopwood Awards for fiction and nonfiction. She was the first person to receive the Pattie Layser Greater Yellowstone Writing Fellowship through the Wyoming Arts Council and was the recipient of the Doubleday Wyoming Arts Council Award for Women. She's the author of two books, Akorena and the League of Crows, a young adult novel, and Hikes Around Fort Collins. Melodie and her husband own Night Heron Books and Coffeehouse. She also loves to putz in the garden and backpack and ski in the mountains with her twin daughters, her husband and her dog.

Ways to Connect

University of Nebraska Press

Going to school might seem an ordinary rite of passage for children, but in Indian Country, school it has long meant assimilation and discrimination. It's why, back in the 1950's, the two tribes on the Wind River Reservation began the arduous process of starting their own school.

Melodie Edwards / Wyoming Public Radio

Last week, Uinta County Commissioners made a trip to California to visit a privately-owned Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detention facility to evaluate whether the company should be allowed to build a similar one in Evanston. The original company, Management and Training Corporation or MTC, backed out, and a new company, CoreCivic, has stepped in.

Commissioner Mark Anderson said, during his visit, he saw a facility that was clean and comfortable.

WaterArchives.org/Flickr Creative Commons

A legislative committee is brainstorming ideas for how to protect communities from emergency infrastructure failures, like the recent irrigation tunnel collapse in Goshen County that left 100,000 acres of Wyoming and Nebraska farmland without water and effecting over 700 farms.

University of Nebraska Press

A new book details the hard-won battle fought by tribal leaders on the Wind River Reservation to open their own high school.

uwyo.edu

The University of Wyoming has hired a new dean to oversee the Department of Agriculture. Barbara Rasco is a food scientist, engineer and attorney known around the world for her work on food safety.

Now she's bringing that knowledge to bear on Wyoming's deep history in ranching and its new progress in local food entrepreneurship.

Global Indigenous Council

If you're driving I-25 in Casper, watch for a new billboard educating the public about the high rates of missing and murdered Indigenous women.

Melodie Edwards

We line up in the sagebrush with a truly distracting view of the Wind River Range visible beyond, a bunch of gals pointing arrows at a herd of targets shaped like deer, turkey, even a stegosaurus. Each animal is tacked with several colorful balloons and it's our goal to pop them.

Pilot Hill Project

Efforts to create a 5,500-acre state park on the mountainside outside of Laramie called Pilot Hill is moving forward. Albany County commissioners recently approved a contractor to develop a land-use plan. SE Group will get paid $70,000 to seek public input and then plan out trailheads and trail systems for the park.

A gas flare, used to burn off flammable gas -- on Highway 59 from Gillette
Cooper McKim / Wyoming Public Radio

Listen to the full show here.

Barrasso Pushes To Get Wyoming Natural Gas Sold Overseas

U.S. House Democrats are taking aim at an issue Wyoming Senator John Barrasso seems to have spent the most time on in the past few years: Exporting American, well – Wyoming energy – abroad. Correspondent Matt Laslo has the story from Washington.

Flickr Creative Commons/AgriLife Today

United States Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue visited the Thunder Basin National Grassland on Wednesday. He took a horseback ride through the area in eastern Wyoming where ranchers and wildlife advocates have been working to find an amicable solution to the question of prairie dogs.

Flickr Creative Commons/Julio Molero

The greater sage grouse narrowly escaped listing as an endangered species because of a 2015 federal plan that kept oil and gas drilling out of its core habitat in the eight Western states where it still exists. But a new report released Monday by the National Audubon Society, The Wilderness Society and The National Wildlife Federation, and authored by Western Ecosystem Technologies, says those obligations haven't been met under the Trump administration.

Wyoming Migration Initiative/Flickr Creative Commons

The Wyoming Game and Fish Commission has approved spending $1.25 million to build two wildlife underpasses in western Wyoming on Highway 189. Game and Fish's Sara DiRienzo said Wyoming Department of Transportation and other organizations are partnering on the projects because of the high number of wildlife crashes on a 28 mile stretch of road.

Bureau of Land Management

For the last few years, the Wyoming Game and Fish Department has been swabbing bats where they hibernate in winter to make sure the deadly white-nose syndrome hasn't spread into the state. But this year, the agency swabbed bats in the spring after they woke up, too.

It's been seven years since passing boaters found Dawn Day's body floating in a lake on the high plains of Wyoming. Sitting next to each other on the couch, a warm breeze coming in through the screen door, her dad Gregory Day and her aunt Madeleine Day miss Dawn's laughter.

"She was crazy," Madeleine Day says.

"Crazy in a good way, huh?" Gregory Day says. "Make you laugh."

"That's what she did. She always wanted everybody to be happy," agrees Madeleine Day. And she says it was trying to make people happy that kept Dawn from leaving an abusive boyfriend.

Bob Wick, BLM

The state's sage grouse stakeholder team has recommended that Gov. Mark Gordon not only keep sage grouse numbers from going down, but increase them. 

Roads Less Traveled

Multiple energy industry trucks have crashed on a stretch of mountain road between Laramie and a booming energy field in Jackson County, Colorado. The trucks spilled fracking fluids and diesel into a nearby creek; one driver was killed.

Melodie Edwards

It's dumping rain the day Patrick Lawson gives me a tour around Wind River Internet's warehouse. Through an open garage door, you can see giant yellow spools of fiber optics lines. He points out a pile of orange plastic signs.

Melodie Edwards

It's been seven years now since Dawn Day was found floating in a Fremont County lake by a passing boat. But, still, every day, her dad Gregory Day and her aunt Madeleine Day still miss her laughter.

Yellowstone National Park

The Wyoming Game and Fish Department says it will allow fewer wolves to be killed in the next trophy hunting season because the last one contributed to a dip in their population below the state's objective of 160 wolves; right now, there are 152.

In a rugged canyon in southern Wyoming, a helicopter drops nets over a pair of coyotes. They're bound, blindfolded and flown to a landing station. There, University of Wyoming researchers place them on a mat. The animals stay calm and still while technicians figure out their weight, age, sex and other measurements. Graduate student Katey Huggler fits the coyotes with tracking collars.

Eric Barnes

For the last four years, Green River and Little Snake River basin ranchers have been getting paid not to irrigate in late summer to conserve Colorado River water. But the pilot phase of the program is now over. The next step is developing the technology to measure how much water is actually saved.

Melodie Edwards

It's late May in Wyoming. It snowed last night, and more snow is predicted. That's why it's good that Big Piney Rancher Chad Espenscheid is behind the wheel of the truck. The roads are sloppy and Middle Piney Creek is running high.

Shay Howlin

Hunters often wear orange to stay safe around guns. Now, the public is being encouraged to do the same for Gun Violence Awareness Day this Friday, June 7. 

Renee Silverman via https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/

Fremont County Attorney Patrick LeBrun said, yes, county clerk employees were confused about where tribal members could register and whether they could use their tribal ID, but he said they did not deter them from voting. He made the judgement after he was asked by the Wyoming Democratic Party to investigate voter suppression allegations.

U.S. Bureau of Reclamation

Construction on the Fontanelle Reservoir won't get started until extreme drought strikes because officials say the unfinished bottom won't be accessible until then.

Pages