Bacteria

Donald W. Boyd and David R. Lageson

This summer, PBS will air a documentary on the geology, ecology and environment of the Great Plains over billions of years. The first episode of the PBS documentary "Prehistoric Road Trip" features Kelli Trujillo, a Laramie County Community College professor and paleontologist.

Yellowstone National Park

Thermus aquaticus is a bacteria found in Yellowstone's thermal lakes - it's what gives some their brilliant yellow color. It was discovered almost 50 years ago, and it turns out to be a key component in most COVID-19 testing.

Mix gelatin, sand and cyanobacteria and what do you get? A solid building material with a low carbon footprint.

Snake River in the Snake River Canyon of Wyoming near Alpine
Joe Tordiff

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is allowing a reclassification of nearly 80 percent of Wyoming’s waterways as secondary contact recreation. That means those streams are no longer recommended sites for swimming, tubing, fishing, or recreation in general — unlike the primary contact recreation status.

The DEQ’s Lindsey Paterson said these waters don’t make sense for recreation anyway. They’re shallow with little flow and are in remote areas. The change also means those waterways are allowed to hold five times the level of e. coli, an indicator for pathogens. 

Wikimedia Commons

 

Many consumers are interested in the benefits of so-called ‘good bacteria’ in curing foods and gardening. That’s why this year’s LocalFest in Lander is offering a film festival, gala dinner and workshops celebrating microbes. LocalFest organizer Stefani Smith says the highlight will be a hands-on composting workshop with author Jeff Lowenfels.

Melodie Edwards

There are currently over 4,000 abandoned uranium mines in remote corners of the US. Out of sight, but for people living nearby, not out of mind. Uranium produces radon, which is known to cause lung cancer. In 2012, uranium was found in the tap water on the Wind River Indian Reservation. Many say the time has come to clean up the mess. But that could cost billions. The Obama Administration is tackling the job by pushing for new fees on mining companies, but the industry says they’re too punishing. Now, new research could make uranium clean-up significantly cheaper.