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

Drriss & Marrionn via Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

Last week, a bill was introduced in Congress that would require Native American tribes to be included in the management of grizzly bears. The legislation, called the Tribal Heritage and Grizzly Bear Protection Act, would permanently place grizzly bears under federal protection much like the bald eagle. 

Kathleen Wetlands

In arid places like Wyoming, wetlands are rare, sometimes only two percent of the landscape. But the organic vegetation breaking down in wetland soils captures as much as 15 to 30 percent of the carbon on that landscape, and it could hold more if restored to better condition. 

NPS Photo / Ken Conger

The grizzly bear is an iconic species to many Native American tribes, and now a bill introduced in Congress would require tribes be included in their management. The legislation, called the Tribal Heritage and Grizzly Bear Protection Act, was introduced by Raul Grijalva, the chair of the Natural Resources subcommittee. 

CC BY-SA 2.0: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/deed.en

In the 2018 election, Native American communities around the country complained about incidents of voter suppression, and some complaints occurred here in Wyoming.

Melodie Edwards

In a canyon near Rock Springs, a helicopter descends, and two coyotes are handed out, bound and blindfolded. University of Wyoming researchers place them on a mat, the animals calm and still. UW Zoology and Physiology Ph.D. student Katey Huggler oversees this study.

Melodie Edwards / Wyoming Public Radio

University of Wyoming researchers are trying to find out if predators are affecting the low population of mule deer near Rock Springs. Statewide, mule deer have declined by 31 percent since 1991. As part of the project, researchers put tracking collars on 30 coyotes and have been watching their behavior to see if their behavior changes during peak times when fawns are born. 

Flickr Creative Commons/Lynette

A program that helps victims of domestic violence is increasingly having trouble finding safe places for people to stay because of an energy boom that has filled all the housing options in the area. Converse Hope Center Director Lisa Thalken said recently, when a woman sought their help, they couldn't find anywhere to put her.

Public Domain

There are few Western issues as controversial as prairie dogs. Some people hate them because they cut down grass livestock need to eat. Others love them because they're a keystone species… creating an ecosystem that attracts dozens of other species. Now the U.S. Forest Service has released a proposed plan for how to manage prairie dogs on the Thunder Basin National Grasslands in eastern Wyoming. That's a place where the species has experienced huge swings in population in recent years. 

Not Our Native Daughters

Native communities say there's not enough data about how many Native women disappear or are murdered each year. Now a handful of states have assigned task forces to study the problem. Wyoming is the latest and the first in the Mountain West region, although a bill is working its way through Montana legislature that would do the same.

Juntos

This Wednesday, an activist organization will host a march to raise awareness about immigrant rights. It's called "ICE on Trial," and it's the fourth year the group Juntos has hosted such an event. Director Antonio Serrano said the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency has increased the number of arrests of undocumented immigrants in Wyoming.

Melodie Edwards

This is the first in a two-part series on this issue. To hear WPR Education Reporter Tennessee Watson's follow up, click here.

Renee and her husband bought a home just outside Guernsey with plans to raise a family there. (We're not using their real names to protect children's identities.)

Flickr Creative Commons/Jeff Kubina

The U.S. Forest Service released a proposed plan to amend the Thunder Basin National Grasslands management of prairie dogs, but some wildlife groups are unhappy with the result, even after years of stakeholder collaborations.

Russ Bacon is the Forest Supervisor for the Medicine Bow-Routt National Forest and the Thunder Basin National Grasslands. He said the species’ population exploded a couple years back, making it impossible to keep them on the 18,000 acres.

Leslie L./Flickr Creative Commons

Earlier this month, the Wyoming Department of Agriculture submitted its application to the federal government outlining the state's plan for regulating hemp growing in the state. Legislation passed this year by lawmakers provided funding to move forward on the plan, but Wyoming's Hemp Program Coordinator Scott McDonald said the U.S. Department of Agriculture won't look at state regulations for the industry until they've finished designing federal rules. 

Joe Riis

Wyoming is leading the trend on protecting wildlife migration routes across the region, but the state's latest move to add two more migration routes is being held up by a letter from a coalition of industries, including oil and gas, mining and livestock interests. Jim Magagna is with the Wyoming Stock Growers Association.

Dionne Poulton/University of Wyoming

A spring snowstorm is keeping some speakers for this year's Shepard Symposium from arriving at the University of Wyoming campus, but event organizers say that won't keep the show from going on.

Melodie Edwards

This story is part of a two-part series on the effects of the Converse County energy boom on housing in Douglas. 

I knock on the door of an apartment in the one and only income-restricted apartment complex in Douglas. 29-year-old Elise shows me in. Petite with long dark hair and a friendly smile, she gives me a tour of the small apartment she shares with her two children. We're not using her last name to protect her from retaliation. I notice a sign on the living room wall that says, "Home Sweet Home," and for Elise, a home has never been so sweet as this one. About eighteen months ago, Elise left an abusive relationship with her children's father.

Flickr Creative Commons/Show Us Your Togatee

So far, 325 tribes and states, including Montana, Idaho, Utah and Colorado, have joined forces to preserve a law that gives Native families preference in adoption of Native children.

Flickr Creative Commons/US Dept. of Interior

The U.S. has long solved environmental issues through conflict and regulation, but a former federal agriculture official said it's time for a paradigm shift that solves them through consensus. Former U.S. Agriculture Department Under Secretary Robert Bonnie will address that issue at the University of Wyoming on Thursday.

Melodie Edwards / Wyoming Public Radio

During her tenure, University of Wyoming President Laurie Nichols focused her efforts to increase Native student inclusion and enrollment; it was especially low when she arrived. News that the University won't renew Nichols' contract has led some tribal leaders to express concern and shock, according to James Trosper, the director of the High Plains American Indian Research Institute (HPAIRI) at UW and a member of both tribes on the Wind River Reservation.

Jean Craighead George

A few years back, one of the world's most beloved children's book authors completed her last book just four days before she passed away at the age of 92. Jean Craighead George was the Newberry award-winning author of over 100 picture and chapter books including Julie of the Wolves and My Side of the Mountain.  

A greater sage-grouse male struts for a female at a lek (dancing or mating ground) near Bridgeport, CA
Jeannie Stafford / U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Several wildlife conservation groups have filed a lawsuit in federal court to reverse amendments they say undermine an Obama-era plan to protect sage grouse.

Stephanie Joyce

A bipartisan group of lawmakers in Washington has proposed a bill, called the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act of 2019, that would impose a fee on carbon producers, passing that money along to the American people. But the idea of any sort of carbon tax is a prickly one. 

Amy Martin

Wyoming might be the Cowboy State, but lots of livestock producers here ship their animals out of state to get slaughtered because of a lack of U.S.D.A. meat processors. But now the Laramie Planning Commission has approved a conditional use permit for a new one on the outskirts of town. 

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