UW bulletin details vegetation mapping at Rogers Research Site

Picture of the bulletin cover, which shows a map with vegetation colored in. A pre-fire vegetation mapping project at the University of Wyoming’s Rogers Research Site (RRS) in southeast Wyoming will help future researchers, land managers and others assess changes in land cover and wildlife habitat at the mountainous site and surrounding lands.

The project is detailed in RRS Bulletin 4: “Vegetation Mapping of Rogers Research Site, north Laramie Mountains, Wyoming, Using High Spatial Resolution Photography and Heads-Up Digitizing.”

Bulletin 4 and others in the series can be downloaded at bit.ly/UWEpubs. Enter Rogers Research Site into the search bar.

“With good luck and fortune, the mapping work was completed prior to the 2012 Arapaho Fire,” said lead author Mathew Seymour. “Thus, our project will help forest managers and those conducting research in the area examine various vegetation as it existed pre-fire and whether post-fire habitats are transitioning back to pre-fire states or are trending toward alternative ecological states.”

The high-intensity wildfire burned ponderosa pine and other vegetation across nearly 100,000 acres in the area of Laramie Peak, including the 320-acre RRS.

The site was bequeathed to UW in 2002 by Col. William C. Rogers, who stated in his will that it be used, in part, for educational purposes and research relating to the improvement of forestry and wildlife resources.

The vegetation mapping work was completed by Seymour in 2006 while he was finishing two bachelor’s degrees at UW. His research and other studies at RRS are now being published in peer-reviewed bulletins by the Wyoming Agricultural Experiment Station (WAES), which manages the site in northeast Albany County.

“The vegetation map will assist researchers and those who manage private and public lands in the north Laramie Mountains regarding land management for socioeconomic and other benefits,” said Seymour, who went on to earn master’s and doctorate degrees at universities in Iceland and Switzerland before taking a postdoctoral research position in the Molecular and Fisheries Genetics Laboratory at Bangor University in Wales.

The map shows that in 2006, RRS was predominantly ponderosa pine forest (80 percent), with mixed grass and shrub lands (10 percent), quaking aspen (4 percent) and other features, including human development.

“When our map and an aerial image of RRS and surrounding lands taken the same year are compared to an aerial image taken in 2015, the dramatic effects of the Arapaho Fire on vegetation are easily seen,” Seymour said.

The lightning-caused wildfire occurred during an extreme drought, and it burned so hot it left many areas completely devoid of vegetation.

The bulletin is co-authored by Ken Driese, a senior lecturer in the UW Department of Botany who mentored Seymour during the mapping project, and WAES editor Robert Waggener.

Driese said the map will help researchers answer many questions about post-fire changes.

“How will shrubs and trees, including ponderosa pine, which once dominated the landscape, respond to the fire?” Driese asked. “Will trees return naturally in great numbers, or will the landscape remain dominated by grasses and shrubs because of climate change, changes in soil due to the fire’s intensity or the establishment of invasive species?”

Additionally, he questioned, “Can humans play a role in managing the soil and vegetation and, ultimately, their effects on wildlife, water and air quality?”

Preliminary findings from a ponderosa pine restoration study and pre- and post-fire soils research will be detailed in upcoming bulletins.

For more information about research at RRS and the bulletins, call John Tanaka at 307-766-5130 or email jtanaka@uwyo.edu.

Researchers needing a high-resolution version of the bulletins or figures within the bulletins should contact the James C. Hageman Sustainable Agriculture Research and Extension Center at 307-837-2000 or sarec@uwyo.edu.

Gillette Saturday Farmers’ Market named one of nation’s best

Vendors are set up under pop-up canopies, customers browse.
Local vendors, fresh food – including Flathead cherries and goat milk ice cream – and special activities are hallmarks of the Gillette Farmers’ Market.



The Gillette Saturday Farmers’ Market was named one of the best in the country through American Farmland Trust’s 9th annual Farmers Market Celebration.

“The Celebration encourages market customers, family farmers, community members – anyone who believes they’ve got the best farmers market in the country – to endorse their market in five categories,” said Susan Sink, vice president of development and external relations for American Farmland Trust.

The Gillette Saturday Farmers’ Market earned tenth in People’s Choice, Focus on Farmers, Healthy Food for All and Pillar of the Community and 11th in Champion for the Environment. Voting was through the website markets.farmland.org.

“Our volunteer-run market has grown so much since we started in 2010, and being named as one of the top ten means so much to our customers, volunteers, and vendors,” said Erin Galloway, co-market manager.

“There’s something for everyone at market,” said co-market manager Megan McManamen.  Examples are free cooking demonstrations, a SNAP incentive program, a customer loyalty program and kids’ activities. The summer market at the Gillette Tech Center runs every Saturday until mid October.

“While farmers markets have been growing in popularity, keeping family farmers on farmland remains a nationwide challenge,” Sink said. “Many family farmers are struggling to stay afloat and face pressure from development to sell their land. Farmers markets provide an opportunity for family farmers to sell directly to consumers and to help make a living on their land.”

Logo says Saturday Farmers' Market, Gillette, Wyoming and Live, Eat, Grow LocalUniversity of Wyoming Extension Master Gardeners of Campbell County are among those who help with the market. According to Campbell County Extension horticulture program coordinator Hannah Johnson, the Gillette Farmers’ Market promotes the development of a regional food system, supports local farmers, ranchers, producers, and artisans and makes high-quality food available to community residents.

“What you put on your fork matters” was the message behind American Farmland Trust’s 9th annual Farmers Market Celebration. The national nonprofit seeks to save farmland for the next generation.

For more information, contact Johnson at 307-682-7281 or HJH10@ccgov.net.

UW bulletin details research, teaching opportunities at Rogers Research Site

UW bulletin details research, teaching opportunities at Rogers Research Site
Rogers Research Site and nearly 100,000 acres surrounding Laramie Peak burned during the 2012 Arapaho Fire, which dramatically changed research and instructional potential there and on neighboring lands.

Research, extension and instructional opportunities relating to forestry, wildlife and other natural resources await University of Wyoming faculty, staff, students and outside collaborators, according to a new bulletin published by the Wyoming Agricultural Experiment Station (WAES).

The bulletin details the potential for such activities at the UW-owned Rogers Research Site, a 320-acre parcel in the Laramie Mountains near Laramie Peak in southeast Wyoming.

Bulletin 3 and others in the series can be downloaded at bit.ly/UWEpubs. Enter Rogers Research Site into the search bar.

Williams said RRS along with adjacent State of Wyoming-owned parcels provide more than 1,000 acres of mountainous land for potential research and teaching.

“The RRS is being developed to specifically address forestry- and wildlife-related issues,” he said.

Short- and long-term goals for the site are also detailed in RRS Bulletin 3, “A Conceptual Framework to Guide Research and Teaching at Rogers Research Site, north Laramie Mountains, Wyoming.”

The bulletin, co-authored by WAES editor Robert Waggener, also contains a story about the late Col. William C. Rogers, who bequeathed the land to UW in 2002.

The property and nearly 100,000 acres surrounding Laramie Peak burned during the 2012 Arapaho Fire, which dramatically changed research and instructional potential at RRS and neighboring lands.

“The investigations at RRS are now focused on regeneration of forests post-fire,” said Williams, who has led much of the early planning and research at the site in extreme northeast Albany County. “RRS is also positioned ecologically and politically to address other land-management issues related to water, soil erosion, invasive species, recreational use, climate change and management of nutrients in soil, to name a few.”

RRS is under management of WAES and one of its four research and extension centers, the James C. Hageman Sustainable Agriculture R&E Center (SAREC) near Lingle.

“The research plots that were established on regeneration of the forests, pre- and post-fire soils comparisons and other baseline information collected will provide the basis for learning for decades to come,” said UW Professor John Tanaka, director of SAREC and associate director of WAES.

Many people, both within and outside UW, were involved in early planning at RRS, including former SAREC director Jim Freeburn.

“Working with the neighbors and people interested in the Rogers Research Site was one of the most rewarding experiences of my career with UW,” Freeburn said. “The residents of that area care about their neighbors and the natural resource base in the Laramie Mountains.”

A vegetation mapping survey at RRS, preliminary findings from a ponderosa pine restoration study and pre- and post-fire soils research will be detailed in upcoming bulletins. UW students and their faculty mentors, along with outside collaborators, have been involved in the projects.

For more information about research at RRS and the bulletins, call John Tanaka at 307-766-5130 or email jtanaka@uwyo.edu.

Hello sagebrush birds!

A brown bird, looking but not singing, is perched on a strand of barbed wire.
Sage thrashers, included in the new Thunder Basin Ecology factsheet, incorporate dozens of unique sound fragments into their songs.

A new factsheet on three Thunder Basin bird species gives a quick introduction to inhabitants of the wide-open, wildlife-rich landscapes where the Great Plains meet the sagebrush steppe.

Free from University of Wyoming Extension, Birds of Thunder Basin: Sagebrush Specialists is available at bit.ly/UWEpubs.

The ecology factsheet describes the sage thrasher, Brewer’s sparrow and greater sage-grouse and includes a brief overview of breeding, nesting, migration, and conservation status. Quick ID tips, fun facts and definitions of birding terms round out the introductions.

“Sage thrashers are superb singers,” writes Courtney Duchardt of this sagebrush specialist. “Thrashers are classified as mimids. They incorporate snippets of surrounding noises into their songs, possibly to show potential mates they are familiar with the area and will make good partners.”

Duchardt, a University of Wyoming graduate student in ecology and ecosystem science and management, has spent more than 235 days (and nights) in Thunder Basin camping, photographing and conducting research.

Birds of Thunder Basin: Sagebrush Specialists is the second in a series from University of Wyoming Extension in partnership with the Thunder Basin Research Initiative, area ranchers and energy companies, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, U.S. Forest Service and the Thunder Basin Grasslands Prairie Ecosystem Association.

The factsheet is one of more than 600 guides from UW Extension (see bit.ly/UWEpubs) that help extend skills in cooking, canning, calving, conservation and community change, plus gardening, grazing, cropping, habitat restoration and more. YouTube video series from UW Extension include From the Ground Up, Barnyards and Backyards and Exploring the Nature of Wyoming.

Hatch brings Thomas Jefferson’s revolutionary gardens to Laramie

Gray-haired man, arms crossed, stands smiling beside vegetable garden.
Peter Hatch, retired director of gardens and grounds at Monticello.

Thomas Jefferson’s 57 years of gardening notes, dated 1767 to 1824, guided a modern restoration of his two-acre kitchen garden led by Peter Hatch, director of gardens and grounds at Monticello, now retired.

The 1,000-foot-long garden has been called a living expression of Jefferson’s genius and distinctly American attitudes. Hatch will give a free public presentation, “Thomas Jefferson’s Revolutionary Gardens,” in Laramie, October 12. The talk is 4:30-5:30 p.m. in the auditorium of the Berry Center on the University of Wyoming campus.

Hatch will discuss the history of horticulture from the perspective of the famous scientist and president and discuss some of Jefferson’s hundreds of vegetable varieties, his foundational seed-saving techniques, and the experimentation of his later years.

Copies of Hatch’s book, A Rich Spot of Earth, will be available for signing.

The event is sponsored by the UW College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, the Department of Plant Sciences, and ACRES Student Farm.

For more information, contact Anne Leonard, UW College of Agriculture and Natural Resources coordinator of college affairs, at (307) 766-4134 or aleonard@uwyo.edu.