Wyoming Public Radio has won a first place award for reporting from the Public Media Journalists Association. The award for Best Feature was for Savannah Maher's story: After Decades-Long Struggle, Buffalo Return To Northern Arapaho Land. The feature was broadcast on Open Spaces and Wyoming Public Radio in October. The award was announced during a virtual ceremony, and Savannah Maher's feature won under the Division B (News staff of 4 to 7) category.
The award winning feature is also included as part of the podcast episode of The Modern West: Bringing the Buffalo Home.
According to Savannah Maher, "Reporting on tribal buffalo restoration has been the most exciting and meaningful part of my time on Wind River over the past year. I'm honored to be recognized, and grateful to the Shoshone and Arapaho people who welcomed me into their homes, trusted me with their stories, and helped me understand the complex history of ranching and buffalo restoration on Wind River." It has been over a century since the U.S. government exterminated bison from the Great Plains as a way to win the war against the Native American tribes there. But now reservations across the West are working to bring them back.
Wyoming Public Media received funding from Report for America in 2019 to support Savannah Maher as a full-time reporter based near the Wind River Reservation and covering the Eastern Shoshone and Northern Arapaho populations. Report for America is a national service program that places talented emerging journalists into local news organizations to report for one to two years on community critical issues.
Savannah had been a producer for NPR's midday show Here & Now, where her work explored topics important to Indigenous people. A proud citizen of the Mashpee Wampanoag tribe, Savannah got her start in journalism reporting for her hometown's local newspaper, The Mashpee Enterprise, and public radio station, WCAI. She has since contributed to New Hampshire Public Radio, High Country News, and NPR's Code Switch blog. She graduated from Dartmouth College.