Mediation workshop teaches principles of negotiation, conflict resolution

Hand-drawn cartoon shows a cat and dog sitting across a round table. Cat with satisfied look on face is scratching its claw on the table. Mediator sitting between them grits her teeth. Her hair stands on end and her eyes bug out. Caption reads "She began to wonder if they were beyond mediation."
Workshop topics include the mediation process, understanding and managing conflict, using mediation for different types of disputes, and strategies for difficult negotiations.

A 30-hour mediation workshop May 1-4 in Evanston trains participants to become certified mediators through the Wyoming Agriculture and Natural Resources Mediation Program.

The program helps Wyoming citizens resolve disputes through a voluntary, confidential, low-cost and time-saving process, said Kimberly Chapman, University of Wyoming Extension community development educator. See

The workshop at Western Wyoming Community College in Evanston covers the basics of negotiation and introductory mediation skills.

The fee is $250 until April 19 and $275 after. The fee includes workshop materials, beverage breaks and two lunches.  Preregistration is required and class size is limited.

Agricultural mediation can be used for farm debt and credit disputes, grazing permit reduction or suspension, and USDA program issues, such as disaster payments and crop insurance. Mediators can also help agricultural producers with business and neighbor-to-neighbor disputes and conflicts involving easements, access, estate planning and split estate issues.

Mediators do not act as judges, deciding right or wrong. Instead, trained mediators help disputing parties come together, explore options and find mutually agreeable solutions. This workshop is open to anyone who wants to learn more about the mediation process.

The mediation workshop is sponsored by UW Extension Community Development Education and the Wyoming Department of Agriculture and Natural Resources Mediation Program. Continuing legal education credits are available.

For more information, contact Chapman at the UW Extension Uinta County office at 307-783-0570 or

UW Extension offers online GMO information course

Jeremiah Vardiman

Issues surrounding genetically modified organisms (GMO) will be examined during a six-week online course through University of Wyoming Extension.

The weekly sessions beginning Monday, May 22, are meant to divide fact from fiction about biotechnology, said Jeremiah Vardiman, UW Extension educator who is leading the course.

“This online course focuses on educating professionals in the health and nutrition fields and any other inquisitive mind on the main topics that are discussed or brought up about GMOs,” he said. “Participants will gain practical knowledge on the GMO topic, which will aid in education and conversations with clientele.”

Registration and more information is at Those taking the classes can access the course starting May 11, with materials available to participants until June 30.

Vardiman said he hears from community members and extension educators that GMOs are a common conversation topic and say they don’t always have the right answers or information.

“I also hear from local agricultural producers they want the public to be more educated in the topic,” he said.

Continue reading UW Extension offers online GMO information course

Wyoming honors children of military parents



Brittany Johnson



Mix Army, Coast Guard, Air Force, Marine and Navy personnel in a room and you’ll see purple.

That color – from Army green, Marine red, and Coast Guard, Air Force and Navy blue – celebrates Purple Up Day April 15 and recognizes children of military parents.

The event is part of Month of the Military Child, said Brittany Johnson, University of Wyoming Extension 4-H military educator based in Laramie County.

“The nationwide effort recognizes and honors the sacrifices military children make in supporting their loved ones who serve,” she said. “It is an opportunity for the public to acknowledge and applaud military youths for the daily sacrifices they make and the challenges they overcome.”

Gov. Matt Mead signed the proclamation last week in Cheyenne declaring April the Month of the Military Child, Johnson said.

She said more information about Month of the Military Child and the extension-military partnership is at

To find out about events in your community, contact a local county extension office, a list available at, or contact WYNG Child and Youth Services at 307-772-5211.

UW weed scientist’s study finds herbicide chronic toxicity rise slight

Andrew Kniss

A University of Wyoming weed scientist frustrated with the noise surrounding GMO and glyphosate use analyzed data to see for himself if biotech adoption has had a negative or positive effect on herbicide use.

Andrew Kniss specifically looked at chronic toxicity – interaction with the chemicals on a regular basis for many years – of herbicides used in five different crops grown in the U.S. “Long-term trends in the intensity and relative toxicity of herbicide use” was published today in the journal Nature Communications ( Click on the All Articles link at the bottom of the page for article listings.

The study is of most relevance to applicator safety, but information also sheds light on herbicide and GMO (genetically modified organism) use.

“The most important thing to take away is that in most cases we haven’t seen a huge increase in the toxicity of herbicides we are using,” said Kniss, an associate professor in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources.

There has either been a dramatic decrease in toxicity, or in some cases, a slight increase, he said.

Continue reading UW weed scientist’s study finds herbicide chronic toxicity rise slight

UW scientist on team that finds nitrogen pollution hinders forest decomposers

Associate Professor Linda van Diepen during pedology fieldwork atop Medicine Bow Peak in the Snowy Range Mountains.

A researcher at the University of Wyoming is a member of a team of scientists that found atmospheric pollution may be altering forest ecosystems in ways that are difficult to reverse, according to their study published in January in the journal Ecology.

Linda van Diepen, assistant professor of soil microbial ecology in the Department of Ecosystem Science and Management, collaborated with scientists from the University of New Hampshire and University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Van Diepen is lead author of the article and a faculty member in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources.

The study is the first to investigate a three-part domino effect: long-term exposure to pollution causes organisms to evolve, altering their growth habits and functions, and, in turn, altering the ecosystem processes those organisms control.

The team focused on a group of tiny organisms with a disproportionately large impact on the ecosystem: soil fungi.

“They are the recyclers of the ecosystem – the primary decomposers of wood, leaves and other plant material,” said Serita Frey, professor of natural resources and the environment at the University of New Hampshire, and team member.

Without them, Frey noted, dead material would not decompose.

Continue reading UW scientist on team that finds nitrogen pollution hinders forest decomposers