Oil and gas has become an increasingly important part of Wyoming's economy, as coal production continues to fall. And as a state with over half of its drilling on federal land, many are anxious to hear what the Biden administration will do. During his campaign, he pledged to ban new oil and gas permitting on public lands and waters. Wyoming Public Radio's Cooper McKim reports how some are preparing.
There is a lot of confidence from Wyoming's health officer over the possibility of a vaccine being made available to state residents. But it might take a while before most of us get access to a vaccine, that's because a couple of them are still in the trial phase. Companies are testing vaccines using people from across the country. One person who's part of the process is Madelyn Beck, she's a former reporter for Wyoming Public Radio who's been closing following COVID-19 as part of her current job as a reporter for the Mountain West News Bureau. She spoke with Bob Beck about what the testing process is like and what interested her in becoming a guinea pig for the secret serum.
When it comes to mask-wearing and social distancing guidelines, many prominent figures are publicly questioning science. The same kind of conversation is taking place about COVID-19 vaccines. And while scientists are people themselves and make mistakes, the scientific community is full of checks and balances that are in place to stop errors from going forward. Wyoming Public Radio's science intern Ashley Piccone has more.
In some Native communities getting to a grocery store can take up to an hour and requires access to a vehicle. And there is no guarantee that the food there is fresh, often being trucked in from days away. Tsanavi Spoonhunter is the director of Crow Country: Our Right to Food Sovereignty. The documentary explores food insecurity on the Crow Reservation in Montana. Wyoming Public Radio's Taylar Stagner spoke with her about the award-winning film and the inspiration that brought her to Montana.
Every year 5th grade elementary school students from Teton County spend an entire weekend at Teton Science School's Kelly Campus in Grand Teton National Park. They bond with their classmates and learn about wildlife. But, due to the pandemic, these overnight programs were canceled. In fact, an estimated 30 percent of outdoor education organizations nationwide will be forced to shut their doors by the end of the year. That's according to a survey funded by the National Science Foundation. Fortunately, Teton Science Schools is staying open, but it's required some big changes. Olivia Weitz has more.
COVID-19 has greatly impacted our K-12 education system. From virtual learning, safety precautions and effects on extracurricular, nothing has been spared. But now with positive coronavirus cases and quarantines becoming a regular occurrence in schools for kids and staff, Wyoming Public Radio's Catherine Wheeler reports that it's having an effect on finding substitutes.
A new military vehicle museum in Dubois opened to the public in August. Wyoming Public Radio's Kamila Kudelska spoke to owner and founder of the National Museum of Military Vehicles Dan Starks on how he started his private collection with a tank that needed to be restored.
Even before the pandemic struck, rural American communities were suffering, and the blow from this new downturn could hurt even more. But a new book is optimistic that small towns can thrive, if they learn to embrace the innovations of the future. Wyoming Public Radio's Melodie Edwards spoke with Don Albrecht, author of Building a Resilient Twenty First Century Economy for Rural America. Albrecht is the director of the Western Rural Development Center at Utah State University.
Albrecht says the first step to attracting global workers to small towns will be making sure high speed internet is readily available.