Educators join Teton County UW Extension office

Jordan McCoy
Jordan McCoy

An area nutrition and food safety educator and a 4-H educator will join the Teton County University of Wyoming Extension office in January.

Jordan McCoy will serve as the nutrition and food safety educator for Sweetwater, Uinta, Lincoln, Sublette and Teton counties beginning Jan. 2.

She is a registered and licensed dietitian who grew up in northern Wyoming and is returning from Albuquerque, where she has been working as a pediatric dietician at the Cystic Fibrosis Center and as an adjunct professor of nutrition at the University of New Mexico.

Kenzie Krinkee
Kenzie Krinkee

McCoy received a bachelor’s degree in exercise and sports science in 2002 from UW. She continued her education at Georgia Southern University, receiving a master’s degree in kinesiology with emphasis in coaching, and then completed a second bachelor’s degree in dietetics in 2010 at Kansas State University. In 2012, McCoy completed a dietetic internship at Idaho State University.

Kenzie Krinkee will begin as the Teton County 4-H educator Jan. 5. A 10-year 4-H alumnus, her first involvement with 4-H began at 8 years old with western horse and family and consumer science projects in Bozeman, Mont.

Krinkee graduated from Colorado State University in May with a bachelor’s degree in equine science and a minor in business administration. She was active in the CSU rodeo team and managed volunteers to run the Skyline Stampede Rodeo. Following graduation, Krinkee completed a 4-H internship with the Adams County Colorado Extension Service.

New extension educator based in Powell, serves northwest area

Jeremiah Vardiman
Jeremiah Vardiman

Jeremiah Vardiman will join the Park County University of Wyoming Extension office in Powell Jan. 5 as the northwest area educator for agriculture.

Vardiman has worked for UW at the Sheridan Research and Extension Center since 2012 and for the past year served as assistant farm manager.

He received a bachelor’s degree in biology with an emphasis in environmental studies and a master’s degree in education, both from Chadron State College in Nebraska.

His new position will emphasize crop science. He will serve Big Horn, Fremont, Hot Springs, Park and Washakie counties and the Wind River Indian Reservation. In addition to agricultural producers, this position provides educational programming to small-acreage landowners and supports the area’s Master Gardener programs.

Scientists in grass height and sage-grouse nest success study say facts being misrepresented

Jeff Beck
Jeff Beck

Scientists whose study found a positive relationship between taller grass and sage-grouse nest success are concerned environmental groups are using findings to incorrectly label livestock producers as responsible for the birds’ decline.

The study is described in “Linking conservation actions to demography; grass height explains variation in greater sage-grouse nesting survival” published earlier this month in the journal Wildlife Biology. The article can be read at

Dave Naugle, the study’s principal investigator and professor in the Wildlife Biology Program at the University of Montana, said the Center for Biological Diversity in a media release this week used the study to call for a uniform 7-inch stubble height requirement across sage-grouse range as a regulatory mechanism to shut down public lands grazing.

“The center’s messaging is an abuse of science,” said Naugle. “Twisting the facts to further an agenda only alienates partners and slows defensible policy making.”

The study period was 2003-2007. The scientists found a strong correlative relationship between grass height and nest success in northeast Wyoming and southeast Montana study sites, which has helped prompt new research, said lead author Kevin Doherty of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in Colorado.

“Our research has helped to spur new research projects that are experimentally designed to evaluate if grazing systems can be used as a tool to increase sage-grouse populations,” he said.

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Meetings explore small hydropower possibilities in Big Horn Basin

Milt Geiger
Milt Geiger

Opportunities for agricultural producers, irrigation districts and other water users to develop small hydropower resources at existing water infrastructure will be covered in a series of meetings and roundtables in Worland, Powell and Basin Wednesday and Thursday, Jan. 7-8.

The Wyoming Business Council and State Energy Office partnered with University of Wyoming Extension and the UW School of Energy Resources to develop the Wyoming Small Hydropower Handbook, which is the foundation of the discussion, said Milt Geiger, UW Extension energy coordinator.

Geiger will offer an overview of the development process and typical characteristics of a feasible development opportunity.

 “Small hydropower offers water users the opportunity to make our Wyoming waters work even harder, producing electricity while serving the needs of irrigators and municipalities,” said Geiger.

The roundtables and presentation highlight the “where, what and how” of the evaluation process, including Wyoming case studies, he said.  Recent reports by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation identifying potential development locations in the Big Horn Basin will be discussed.  Incentives and a simplified permitting process will also receive attention.

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Pinedale students win statewide Lego competition’s top award

Front, from left, Garrett Swain, Luke Gray, Zane McClain, Brooke Noble, Janae Arne, Holden Saxton, Jackson Harber. Back: John Covill
The Iron Bridge Builders are, front, from left, Garrett Swain, Luke Gray, Zane McClain, Brooke Noble, Janae Arne, Holden Saxton, Jackson Harber. Back: John Covill

Sublette County 4-H’s First Lego League (FLL) Robotics team “Iron Bridge Builders” won the FLL championship but also the competition’s most prestigious honor – the Champion’s Award.

Competition was Dec. 5-6 at the Casper Events Center.

The team scored 175 points putting them first among 64 teams from across the state, said Robin Schamber, Sublette County 4-H educator.

FLL is an international competition for children ages 9-14 in North America. Each year, a new challenge is announced in August with a theme focusing on Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) principles. Teams are judged in three categories: the robot game, the project and the FLL core values.

Nine members ages 9-11 made up the winning Iron Bridge Builders team. Students are, from Pinedale Elementary, Janae Arne, Holden Saxton, Brooke Noble, Thayne Daniels, Garrett Swain, Zane McClain, Luke Gray, and Jackson Harber, and from Pinedale Middle School, John Covill.

The team captured Sublette County’s first Champions Award.

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