Welcome to Thunder Basin invites visitors to linger

Sagebrush in foreground, Rochelle Hills in background with large cumulus clouds in pale blue sky.
The Thunder Basin grassland includes state, federal, and privately owned lands on the eastern edge of the Powder River Basin.

A new guide to Thunder Basin supplies a quick orientation for anyone who wants to learn more about the wide-open, wildlife-rich landscapes where the Great Plains meet the sagebrush steppe.

Free from University of Wyoming Extension, Welcome to Thunder Basin is available at bit.ly/UWEpubs.

In four pages and 19 photos, Welcome to Thunder Basin supplies a view of the ecology, wildlife, public lands history, land use and research in the area of northeast Wyoming that includes Thunder Basin National Grassland.

“The grassland doesn’t always make life in the field easy,” writes Courtney Duchardt in Welcome to Thunder Basin. A University of Wyoming graduate student in ecology and ecosystem science and management, Duchardt has spent more than 235 days (and nights) in Thunder Basin camping, photographing and conducting research.

The factsheet is the first 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.

“This landscape is a patchwork,” writes Duchardt. “It’s a place where…wildlife and cattle coexist and where ranchers, researchers and energy executives share the goals of learning what the grassland has to teach…”

Welcome to Thunder Basin is one of more than 600 how-to guides from UW Extension (see bit.ly/UWEpubs) that help extend skills in cooking, canning, calving, estate planning and community change, plus gardening, grazing, pruning, 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.

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 bit.ly/MediationWY.

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 kichapman@uintacounty.com.

Are you ready for Real Food?

Real Food logo with hand-drawn look, second O in FOOD is pattern of fruits, vegetables.


UW Extension invites Niobrara and Converse county residents to make their own tortillas, granola, meatballs, and other recipes during the Real Food five-week healthy eating and cooking program in Lusk and Douglas.


The free series starts Tuesday April 18 at the Niobrara County Fairgrounds. Classes are 5:30-7:30 p.m. every week through May 16.


The free series starts Wednesday April 19 at the Douglas campus of Eastern Wyoming College. Classes are 5:30-7:30 p.m. every week through May 17.


Participants learn nutrition basics and what healthy eating really means, said Denise Smith, UW Extension nutrition and food safety educator. The goal is to get started preparing and eating more fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains and local meat and eggs, she said.


Activities cover these and other “Real Food” topics:

  • distinguishing whole foods from processed
  • decoding ingredient lists and embracing nutrition labels
  • avoiding untrue packaging claims
  • planning menus and keeping within a budget.


The program is sponsored by the John P. “Jack” Ellbogen Foundation. For more information, contact Smith at (307) 334-3534 or desmith@uwyo.edu.


Wild West Gardening helps gardeners, sellers gain ground

Stylish advertisement for event shows the words Wild West Gardening surrounded by roses in a caligraphy-like design. All is white on a dark blue background.

The Wild West Gardening Conference Saturday and Sunday April 22-23 at Laramie County Community College in Cheyenne is for anyone who wants to be a better gardener or sell what they grow.


“This conference is meant to challenge, inspire, motivate and take participants to the next level of gardening success,” said Catherine Wissner, UW Extension horticulturist. It is for everyone from beginners and backyard and community gardeners to small acreage growers and farmers market gardeners, she said.


The $90 conference fee includes dinner, breaks and two lunches. To learn more about Wild West Gardening, special hotel rates and registration, go to bit.ly/wildwest-gardening.


The event features local, regional and national presenters in concurrent sessions and is hosted by the Laramie County Master Gardeners and the University of Wyoming Laramie County Extension office.


Keynote speaker Neil Diboll of Prairie Nursery in Wisconsin champions prairie plants, trees and shrubs and wetland plants in contemporary landscapes. He emphasizes their value to native bees and Monarch butterflies and advocates for genetic diversity of plant breeding stock.


Five hands-on workshops get participants started with specialty crops and culinary, decorative and craft products. Workshops are Get Your Lavender On; Garlic Gourmet; Microgreens; Medicinal Teas and Tonics; and Flower Projects. An additional $25 materials fee is payable directly to workshop leaders.


Demonstrations of hot water bath canning, pressure canning and steam bath canning are aimed at helping gardeners take advantage of recent food freedom and cottage food laws that make it easier to sell their products.


For those wishing to produce fermented products such as beer, wine and whiskey, the Wyoming liquor commissioner reveals the ins and outs of in-state and out-of-state sales.


Conference activities include a Saturday afternoon tour of the Paul Smith Children’s Garden at the Cheyenne Botanic Gardens.


For more information, contact Wissner at 307-63­3-4383 or cwissner@uwyo.edu.

Wyoming Bee College is back, bigger

Hand-drawn illustration of beehive, clover and bee, plus text about event on tan background.
This year’s event is bigger, said Catherine Wissner, UW Extension educator. National and regional experts present five concurrent tracks on Saturday and four concurrent tracks on Sunday geared toward every level of beekeeper, wanna-bee, gardener and pollinator advocate.

For a “degree in bees,” University of Wyoming Extension offers 2017 Wyoming Bee College Saturday and Sunday, March 18-19 at Laramie County Community College in Cheyenne.

The $75 conference fee includes a dinner and two lunches. There is no charge for Bee Buddies ages 7 to 15 accompanied by an adult. To learn more about Wyoming Bee College, special hotel rates and registration, go to bit.ly/BeeCollege.

Speakers and workshop leaders bring current research on pollinators, long-time beekeeping experience and expertise on conservation and habitat development. Participants learn best management practices and how to build their business through new products, certification and food safety. New or aspiring beekeepers get hands-on demonstrations of the basics.

Author and “Bee Culture Magazine” contributor James E Tew is the keynote speaker both days. “He is truly a beekeeper with his boots on the ground,” said Catherine Wissner, UW Extension educator. “His knowledge is research-based and practical, plus he brings beekeeping humor, tips, wisdom and stories from the hive,” she said.

Author and beekeeping expert Les Crowder teaches a half-day course on top bar beekeeping, which is a low-cost, high wax yield system that mimics a hollow log.

The Denver Butterfly Pavilion presents classes on butterflies, native bees and habitat development and how to help them and native bees.

For more information, contact Wissner, the “dean” of Wyoming Bee College, at 307-63­3-4383 or cwissner@uwyo.edu.