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What's Your Why?

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What’s Your Why? is a powerful way to learn about Wyoming people, Wyoming issues and just great stories we have the opportunity to capture – people’s stories who live in Wyoming and people who visit. We bring these stories to you. And we hope it inspires and ignites the question in all of us. What’s your why? ThinkWY | Wyoming Humanities podcasts are created to capture the stories in and outside of Wyoming to share ideas, perspectives, and insights about the human experience.

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What’s Your Why? is a powerful way to learn about Wyoming people, Wyoming issues and just great stories we have the opportunity to capture – people’s stories who live in Wyoming and people who visit. We bring these stories to you. And we hope it inspires and ignites the question in all of us. What’s your why? ThinkWY | Wyoming Humanities podcasts are created to capture the stories in and outside of Wyoming to share ideas, perspectives, and insights about the human experience.

iTunes Ratings

16 Ratings
Average Ratings
14
1
0
0
1

Keep’em Coming

By DMGJr. - Apr 25 2019
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Incredible series of interviews that really inspires you to go out and become the next big name from Wyoming.

Great podcast

By FreedomPodcasting - Jan 23 2019
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This podcast makes me want to move to Wyoming.

iTunes Ratings

16 Ratings
Average Ratings
14
1
0
0
1

Keep’em Coming

By DMGJr. - Apr 25 2019
Read more
Incredible series of interviews that really inspires you to go out and become the next big name from Wyoming.

Great podcast

By FreedomPodcasting - Jan 23 2019
Read more
This podcast makes me want to move to Wyoming.
Cover image of What's Your Why?

What's Your Why?

Latest release on Jan 13, 2020

Read more

What’s Your Why? is a powerful way to learn about Wyoming people, Wyoming issues and just great stories we have the opportunity to capture – people’s stories who live in Wyoming and people who visit. We bring these stories to you. And we hope it inspires and ignites the question in all of us. What’s your why? ThinkWY | Wyoming Humanities podcasts are created to capture the stories in and outside of Wyoming to share ideas, perspectives, and insights about the human experience.

Rank #1: Bestselling Author Alexandra Fuller: Passion, Purpose and The Way Forward

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Alexandra Fuller wrote a searing memoir about her childhood in Rhodesia as the country struggled to win black majority rule in what is now Zimbabwe, "Don’t Let’s Go to the Dogs Tonight: An African Childhood." While she has not written anything overtly political, she says that everything we do is political from the decision we make to wake up in the morning to the clothes we put on our bodies, to the words we have the courage to speak. Her new novel, "Quiet Until the Thaw", follows the lives of two Oglala Sioux cousins who grow up to take very different paths.

Nov 06 2017

11mins

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Rank #2: Ryan Burke: Addictions Counselor and Endurance Athlete spreading Motivation

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Ryan Burke is an endurance mountaineer and full time addictions therapist who lives in Jackson, Wyoming. He is currently developing The Mindstrength Project which works with athletes and survivors of addiction in risk composure education. He teaches his clients at Curran-Seeley - "...with addiction it’s about getting through the next day and reminding one’s self you have gotten through similar days before and have the strength to do it again." These similarities of what gets him through the mountains and what helps addicts stay clean, are why Burke started the Mind Strength Project, a program that physically and mentally trains athletes and addicts side-by-side.

Jul 27 2018

18mins

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Rank #3: Scotty Ratliff: Serving His Native Community, The Wind River Reservation

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Scotty Ratliff is a member of the Eastern Shoshone tribe on the Wind River Reservation. Scotty grew up on his family’s horse ranch north of Pavilion, Wyoming. He served in the Wyoming State House as a legislator from 1980 to 1992. In 1990 he received the Human Rights Award from the Wyoming Counseling Association.

He co-authored a school textbook with Janet Flynn on “Tribal Government at the Wind River Reservation.” He has also served as a member of the Wyoming State Council on Juvenile Justice. He has served as the President of the Board for the Wyoming Cowboy Hall of Fame and remains on its Board.

Since 2002 he has served as a special assistant to his friend and former colleague U.S. Senator Mike Enzi, advising on issues at the Wind River Reservation. Ratliff continues his service today as a member of the Shoshone Tribal Economic Board, the Wyoming State Board of Education and the National Advisory Council on Indian Education.

May 28 2019

15mins

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Rank #4: Zenka: Augmented Reality Artist Challenging us to Embrace Change and New Technology

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Challenging us to embrace change and the new technology of our time.

Jul 18 2017

22mins

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Rank #5: Dr. Devra Davis: Wake Up! Cell Phones Are Not Toys For Young Children

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Dr. Devra Davis founded non-profit Environmental Health Trust in 2007 in Teton County, Wyoming to provide basic research and education about environmental health hazards and promote constructive policies locally, nationally and internationally. She has also authored more than 200 publications in books and journals ranging from the Lancet and Journal of the American Medical Association to Scientific American and the New York Times and has written blogs in Freakonomics, Huffington Post, Physicians for Social Responsibility, MomsRising, Oxford University Press and elsewhere. An award-winning scientist and writer, Davis’ work has appeared in more than a dozen languages. (Photo: Courtesy of US Embassy Bogota)

Nov 13 2018

29mins

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Rank #6: Nicholas Kristof & Sheryl WuDunn: YES, Kindness Does Exist, Cultures can Change and You can Help!

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New York Times reporters and Pulitzer Prize winners Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn share their journey through Africa and Asia to meet the extraordinary women struggling there and how we can learn from others to make a difference. They have written best-selling books: China Wakes: The Struggle for the Soul of a Rising Power, Thunder from the East: Portrait of a Rising Asia, Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide

Dec 04 2017

12mins

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Rank #7: Alia Ali: Peace… this is what it's all about, isn't it? Or is it war? Or is it power?

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Alia Ali (Austria, 1985) is a Yemeni-Bosnian-American multi-media artist. Having traveled to sixty-three countries, lived in seven and grown up among five languages, her most comfortable mode of communication is through image and multi-sensory mediums. Her extensive travels have led her to process the world through interactive experiences. As a child of two linguists, Alia believes that the interpretation of verbal and written language has dis-served particular communities and presents more of a threat than a means of understanding.

Mar 05 2018

35mins

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Rank #8: Author Craig Johnson: Stepping out of his Comfort Zone to Create, Write and Explore the West

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Just do it! Author Craig Johnson steps out of his comfort zone to create, write and explore the West.

Jul 18 2017

16mins

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Rank #9: Peter Aguero: Storyteller and Educator who Believes that Everyone has a Story to tell

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Peter Aguero was born and raised in the wilds of South Jersey. He is a Moth Grandslam Champion, host of Moth Storylams and an instructor for the Mothshop Community Program. He is also the lead singer of The BTK Band, NYC's Hardest-Drinking Improvised Storytelling Rock Band. Peter loves his Mom.

Jan 24 2018

15mins

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Rank #10: Mike Sullivan: Former Wyoming Governor who Embodies the Spirit of the West

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Former Wyoming Gov. Mike Sullivan and U.S Ambassador to Ireland talks civility in politics and how a Democratic governor can serve two terms as governor in a Republican state. Sullivan was a key participant in the 1998 peace accord in Northern Ireland and named the 2016 Citizen of the West.

Aug 07 2017

10mins

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Rank #11: Nona Yehia: Vertical Farming, Greenhouses and Community Impact

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In 2009, Nona started work on Vertical Harvest of Jackson Hole. Following her passion for local food and experiences growing up with a brother with developmental disabilities, Nona conceived of a three story hydroponic greenhouse that employs people with developmental disabilities while producing local food for the community year round. In 2016 Vertical Harvest opened its doors as a 'for profit business with a non profit soul'. This flagship project embodies Nona’s efforts to pursue projects that are able to have a profound impact on communities based on architectural, economic and social innovation. Nona is uniquely positioned in the vertical farming sphere as she is at once a practicing Architect, the Co-Founder, part owner, and CEO of a cutting edge greenhouse, Vertical Harvest of Jackson Hole. This combination has cultivated expertise in both the design and implementation of innovative systems and programs that position Vertical Harvest to be a model for communities around the globe.

Feb 08 2019

21mins

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Rank #12: Sally N. MacNichol Ph.D: Spreading Awareness of Violence and how Teen Dating Violence is on the Rise!

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Sally N. MacNichol Ph.D, is Co-Executive Director of CONNECT, a New York City nonprofit organization dedicated to preventing interpersonal violence and promoting gender justice. She has been an antiviolence activist, advocate and educator for over three decades, counseling victims of domestic violence, designing and facilitating empowerment groups for survivors, working with men who batter and abuse, and training hundreds of staff from child welfare programs and community based organizations across New York City’s five boroughs. “We have to address this this issue – interpersonal violence - we live in a pretty abusive society - we tolerate a lot of violence - we love violence in many ways. We should strive to be a peacemakers to live a nonviolent life. I'm really committed to that. I think that we need to change our relationship to violence and it starts in our homes.”

Apr 24 2018

21mins

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Rank #13: Dusty Nichols and Bo Elledge: Passion, Artistry and whats behind Writing a Song and hearing the Music?

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Canyon Kids is the creation of Dusty Nichols and Bo Elledge. Forged on the banks of the Snake River, with an unwavering love of the American West, Canyon Kids are students of Americana, rock, and folk, but also pioneers of something entirely new. And NOW they are the new music for the What’s Your Why podcast. The music is from their song Out Where The West Begins. Listen to their journey and story and love for Wyoming!

Sep 05 2018

25mins

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Rank #14: Sierra Ferris and Jacoby Hereford: Native American Students Using their Education for the Reservation

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Two Native American Students from the Wind River Reservation are sharing their journey to continue their education at Central Wyoming College in Riverton, Wyoming. They are both members of the Eastern Shoshone Tribe. They speak of their desire and passion to help others achieve their dreams and goals on the reservation. They also discuss breaking down the barriers and stereotypes that Native American people experience. 

“I feel like there's a lot of Indian kids that need that someone to talk. I think that I could be one of those people that they're just comfortable because I'm a Native American myself  and we’ve been through the same thing.” Sierra Ferris

Apr 30 2019

15mins

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Rank #15: Author Nanci Turner Steveson: Keeping Your Dreams Alive and Staying Focused

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Nanci Turner Steveson writes for middle grade readers and is an active member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. One of Nanci’s greatest ambitions is to work with kids and inspire them to become two-fisted readers, like herself, and allow their own creativity to soar through the beauty of creative writing. Nanci is dedicated to getting books into the hands of homeless people, especially in shelters that house children, through her Literacy for Hope Project.

May 03 2018

19mins

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Rank #16: Taylor Rees: Seeking the Deeper meaning and giving "voice" to Indigenous peoples in her Films

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Taylor Rees, is a filmmaker and photojournalist. She is driven by an insatiable curiosity to explore and tell the stories beneath the surface. Her work in environmental and humanitarian issues brings new perspectives and deeper public understanding to challenging topics such as climate change, indigenous food systems, land use and water. For example, Indigenous people and their cultures have been the subject of many films, television programs, and documentaries. For Indigenous people, the experience has been mixed. The film-making process can be exploitative. Films can unwittingly exploit Indigenous communities and Indigenous knowledge with little or no consultation with Indigenous people, and without any benefits to Indigenous communities. She seeks to give them a "voice."

Jan 10 2019

15mins

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Rank #17: Filmmaker Jennifer Tennican: Disability, Diversity And Inclusion

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"Hearts of Glass" documents the early beginnings of Vertical Harvest and its employees with disabilities. Vertical Harvest is one of the world’s only multi-story hydroponic greenhouses, provides year-round produce in a rural mountain town and meaningful employment to community members with disabilities. Jennifer Tennican describes her new documentary film as a once-in-a-lifetime story about innovation and possibility. “That story includes community members with disabilities.” “Over the course of the film, in an organic way, I hope viewers get to know several of the greenhouse employees with disabilities. Viewers can experience firsthand the impact of employment and inclusion.”

Mar 05 2019

18mins

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Rank #18: Juan Felipe Herrera: How his Poetry forces us to Confront Society and its Paradoxes

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Juan Felipe Herrera is the first Mexican American appointed as the 21st United States Poet Laureate. Herrera grew up in California as the son to migrant farm-workers. His childhood as the son of Mexican immigrants strongly shaped much of his work and he began loving poetry by singing about the Mexican Revolution with his mother. He has spent his life crossing borders, erasing boundaries and expanding the many voices that illuminate our larger American identity. Herrera was educated at UCLA and Stanford University. In addition to publishing more than a dozen collections of poetry, Herrera has written short stories, young adult novels, and children’s literature.

Nov 21 2017

16mins

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Rank #19: Paul-Gordon Chandler: The Art of Building Bridges Between The East and The West

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Paul-Gordon Chandler is an author, interfaith advocate, art curator, social entrepreneur and US Episcopal priest. Having grown up in Senegal, West Africa, he has lived and worked extensively in the Middle East and North Africa in leadership roles within faith-based publishing, ecumenical relief and development agencies and the Episcopal Church Based now out of the Chicago area, he is the Founder and President of CARAVAN, an international peace-building non-profit/NGO that uses the arts to build bridges between the creeds and cultures of the Middle East and West. He is also a Canon at All Saints’ Cathedral, Cairo, Egypt and has authored four non-fiction books in the fields of Christian-Muslim relations, Global Christianity and the Middle East.

Feb 15 2018

21mins

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Rank #20: Tori Sanders: Winning, Losing and the Power of Playing Games

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"This game can't create world peace but my goal is to create a classroom environment where everyone feels heard" Tory Victoria (Tory)Sanders is a game designer who believes that history can and must be harnessed to inform sustainable policy into the future. Ms. Sanders has a BA in Comparative Politics, and a MA in Peace Education from the UN’s University for Peace in San Jose, Costa Rica. She has worked as a migrant fruit-picker in New Zealand, she’s studied Astanga Yoga in Mysore, South India, and she’s walked through a minefield in Laos. Strangely, none of these activities prepared her for raising two boys. Ms. Sanders lives in Jackson, Wyoming with her husband, AJ, and their two sons.

Jun 06 2018

15mins

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Ashleigh Chapman: Ending Exploitation, Protecting The Vulnerable

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Ashleigh S. Chapman, JD dedicated her life to ending exploitation and protecting vulnerable populations as a child, when her family first began caring for children in need.  She has worked solely on these issues for the past 18+ years professionally and travels extensively to strengthen the movement.  Her passion and focus areas are in helping to reform systems of care, strengthening community collaborations, increasing multi-sector engagement, and building the solutions needed to increase the impact of all justice advocates in the field.

Prior to founding the AFRJ (https://engagetogether.com/), Ashleigh served as the co-founder and Director of the Center for Global Justice at Regent University School of Law in Virginia; the Director of a non-profit serving thousands of at-risk youth in Tennessee; a Children's Pastor; and a Court Appointed Special Advocate for children in foster care.

Ashleigh is a licensed attorney in the state of Virginia. She graduated Magna Cum Laude with her Juris Doctorate from Regent University School of Law, receiving the school’s Most Outstanding Graduate award, and Summa Cum Laude with her B.S. from Tennessee Technological University.

Jan 13 2020

23mins

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Dr. Reverend Debra Haffner: Religion, Sexuality and Parenting

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The Reverend Debra W. Haffner is executive director of the Religious Institute, a multifaith, nonprofit organization dedicated to sexual health, education and justice. An ordained Unitarian Universalist minister, she is an endorsed community minister with the Unitarian Church in Westport, CT. Rev. Haffner was the chief executive officer of SIECUS, the Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States, from 1988 through May 2000. Under her leadership, SIECUS tripled in staff size, increased its annual budget revenues more than six-fold, and opened professional offices in New York and Washington, DC. During her tenure at SIECUS, she created the Religious Declaration on Sexual Morality, Justice, and Healing; the National Coalition to Support Sexuality Education; the Commission on Adolescent Sexual Health; and the Guidelines for Comprehensive Sexuality Education, Kindergarten – Grade Twelve.

Rev. Haffner is the author of From Diapers to Dating: A Parent’s Guide to Raising Sexually Healthy ChildrenBeyond the Big Talk: Every Parent’s Guide to Raising Sexually Healthy Teens; and What Every 21st Century Parent Needs to Know: Facing Today's Challenges with Wisdom and Heart. She has also authored or co-authored numerous faith-based guides for congregation and clergy on sexuality issues.

Oct 15 2019

16mins

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The Afterlife of German Coal Mining And The Future Of Green Jobs

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This interview is part of the Global Speaker Series. A podcast partnership between the Wyoming Humanities (ThinkWY.org) and the Jackson Hole Center for Global Affairs (www.jhcga.org).  With the goal of educating and inspiring listeners, the series interviews global thought leaders on relevant issues impacting Wyoming and the world such as the future of energy, the impacts of climate change, trends in business and entrepreneurship, foreign policy, issues impacting global coal communities, and more. 

Jürgen Kretschmann , German economist and university president discusses the future of coal energy in Germany. Born and raised in Gelsenkirchen, Jürgen Kretschmann completed his education in business administration in AachenBochum and Dortmund, he was awarded a doctoral degree in Economics in Göttingen. His post doctorate research followed at the RWTH Aachen University in 1998, specializing in geo-resources and materials science.

Kretschmann held various management positions at Ruhrkohle AG. RAG AG, formerly Ruhrkohle AG, is the largest German coal mining corporation. The company headquarters are in Essen in the Ruhr area. The company was founded on 27 November 1968, consolidating several coalmining corporations into the Ruhrkohle AG.Jürgen served as personal advisor to the Deputy Chairman of the Executive Board and Labour Director of the RAG.

In 2001, he joined RAG BILDUNG GmbH as a member of the management board. Since 2006, he is chairperson of the management board of DMT-Gesellschaft für Lehre und Bildung GmbH and president of the Technische Hochschule Georg Agricola University in Bochum. DMT-Gesellschaft für Lehre und Bildung mbH (DMT-LB), based in Bochum, is a collective association of the German coal industry and acts as the funding organization of Deutsches Bergbau-Museum Bochum (German Mining Museum) .

Kretschmann is a member of numerous national and international professional bodies, currently (2018/19) President of the Society of Mining Professors – Societät der Bergbaukunde.[1][2] He is also a member of the National Academy of Mining Sciences of Kazakhstan[3] and a member of the Section Mining-Metallurgy of the International Academy of Ecology, Man and Nature Protection Science in Russia.

Here is a sampling of some of the questions we asked Jürgen:

  • Wyoming is the U.S.’s largest producer of coal and in recent years has been on the frontline in grappling with the changing economics of coal.  At one time the Ruhr region that you come from in Germany, was one of Europe’s leading coal producing regions.  Why did mines in Germany close and what was the government response?
  • What are Germany’s current climate goals?  Does Germany plan to continue to use coal as part of its energy mix into the future?
  • What are the main differences between Germany and the US in dealing with these public policy challenges – for example the loss of jobs in coal mining?
  • On the energy front – here in Wyoming there has been a big push to lead the nation in carbon capture technologies.  Are there similar efforts underway in Germany?

Sep 24 2019

15mins

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Mark Jenkins: Explorer And Writer Of The Most Dangerous And Difficult

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As a foreign correspondent for the past 30 years, Mark Jenkins has explored the most remote, difficult and dangerous places on the planet. He will do whatever it takes to get the story. On assignment in Afghanistan, he was arrested by the Tajik KGB and interrogated for a week. On assignment in Burma, he was arrested by the military junta multiple times. On assignment in eastern Congo, he was captured by the murderous Hutu guerillas. Yvon Chouinard, founder of Patagonia, says “Mark Jenkins purposefully goes out and taunts the gods. How he gets away with it is probably why he’s had 30 to 40 arrests---and no convictions.”  Learn more about his adventures at www.MarkJenkins.net

A world-renowned explorer, critically acclaimed author and  international journalist, for the last decade Jenkins has covered the globe for National Geographic Magazine. Among hundreds of stories, he has written about landmines in Cambodia, mountain gorillas in Africa, the loss of koalas in Australia, global warming in Greenland, ethnic cleansing in Burma and climbing Mt. Everest.

Aug 28 2019

22mins

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Lars Hallstrom: Coal Communities and Economic Diversification

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Welcome to the Global Speaker Series. a podcast partnership between the Wyoming Humanities and the Jackson Hole Center for Global Affairs (www.jhcga.org).

Lars Hallstrom is a political scientist by training, with a long-standing combination of teaching and research interests in comparative politics, environmental policy, environmental health, public health and natural resource management. He is the first Director of the Alberta Centre for Sustainable Rural Communities, University of Alberta (ACSRC) since 2009.

They have conducted over 40 projects related to rural sustainability in Alberta and Canada (based largely in 3 priority areas: environmental sustainability (water), social sustainability (aging and youth), and institutional sustainability (rural/municipal planning, policy and governance). They have also partnered with researchers, research networks and rural development organizations (such as the Canadian Rural Revitalization Foundation) around the world.

In addition to rurally-focused work, he continues to work with different teams of researchers in Canada, the USA and the EU on environmental policy and planning issues such as water and watershed management, municipal planning and governance, regionalization, innovation and most recently the possibility of a new/alternative pedagogy for sustainability. 

Jun 25 2019

21mins

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Marlin Spoonhunter: Tribal Pride, Empowerment And Education On The Reservation

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“Education will help our people; children, grandchildren for our future, even our adults,” Marlin Spoonhunter, Arapahoe Tribal Leader 

He is president of the Wind River Tribal College. Realizing that it was a cultural shock for many native students to attend colleges away from the reservation, tribal colleges started to form around 1972 in the United States to meet the needs of their community.

Spoonhunter said that native students who go to a community college are more likely to continue their education to earn a bachelor's degree.

“Education is a good thing for our native people,” he said. Spoonhunter, who was a first generation student, was taught at a young age the importance of education by his uncle. As Spoonhunter got older the academic goal got higher. From being told to earn a high school diploma to a bachelor’s degree to a master's degree; his uncle continued to raise the bar on Spoonhunter’s education.

“I was reminded that I needed that education so we need to remind our students,” Spoonhunter said. After Spoonhunter completed his degree he knew he needed to come back to help his people."

Jun 19 2019

22mins

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Lukas Haynes: Strategies For Promoting Bipartisan Solutions To Climate Change

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Welcome to the Global Speaker Series. a podcast partnership between the Wyoming Humanities Council and the Jackson Hole Center for Global Affairs (www.jhcga.org).

Lukas Haynes is a member of the Center for Climate and Security’s Advisory Board, and Executive Director of the David Rockefeller Fund. Previously, he was Vice President of the Mertz Gilmore Foundation where he was responsible since 2006 for a philanthropic strategy to mitigate the risks of global warming, invest in low-income New York City communities, and protect human rights. He is also an adjunct associate professor of global affairs and philanthropy at New York University. He was previously New York director of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and program officer for international peace and security.

The Global Speaker Series is a podcast partnership between the Wyoming Humanities Council and the Jackson Hole Center for Global Affairs (www.jhcga.org).  With the goal of educating and inspiring listeners, the series interviews global thought leaders on relevant issues impacting Wyoming and the world such as the future of energy, the impacts of climate change, trends in business and entrepreneurship, foreign policy, issues impacting global coal communities, and more.  Each interview also illuminates each interviewees personal journey as part of their work and passion for what they do.

Jun 04 2019

18mins

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Scotty Ratliff: Serving His Native Community, The Wind River Reservation

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Scotty Ratliff is a member of the Eastern Shoshone tribe on the Wind River Reservation. Scotty grew up on his family’s horse ranch north of Pavilion, Wyoming. He served in the Wyoming State House as a legislator from 1980 to 1992. In 1990 he received the Human Rights Award from the Wyoming Counseling Association.

He co-authored a school textbook with Janet Flynn on “Tribal Government at the Wind River Reservation.” He has also served as a member of the Wyoming State Council on Juvenile Justice. He has served as the President of the Board for the Wyoming Cowboy Hall of Fame and remains on its Board.

Since 2002 he has served as a special assistant to his friend and former colleague U.S. Senator Mike Enzi, advising on issues at the Wind River Reservation. Ratliff continues his service today as a member of the Shoshone Tribal Economic Board, the Wyoming State Board of Education and the National Advisory Council on Indian Education.

May 28 2019

15mins

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Sierra Ferris and Jacoby Hereford: Native American Students Using their Education for the Reservation

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Two Native American Students from the Wind River Reservation are sharing their journey to continue their education at Central Wyoming College in Riverton, Wyoming. They are both members of the Eastern Shoshone Tribe. They speak of their desire and passion to help others achieve their dreams and goals on the reservation. They also discuss breaking down the barriers and stereotypes that Native American people experience. 

“I feel like there's a lot of Indian kids that need that someone to talk. I think that I could be one of those people that they're just comfortable because I'm a Native American myself  and we’ve been through the same thing.” Sierra Ferris

Apr 30 2019

15mins

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Dr. Tarissa Spoonhunter: Cultural Pride and Education on the Reservation

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Dr. Tarissa Spoonhunter, professor of American Indian Studies at Central Wyoming College, is focused on sharing Native knowledge in order to increase understanding and build relationships—something that resides deep in her roots growing up on the Blackfeet Indian Reservation.

Her Nation Building classes introduce Federal Indian law and policy classes to help American Indians learn about contemporary issues that they are facing today in subject areas of treaty rights, national forest, national parks, and traditional ecological rights.

At age nine, Spoonhunter was given the name Medicine Beaver Woman by her people, a name she remembers feeling came with a great deal of responsibility. Spoonhunter carried that responsibility throughout her life accomplishments. She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in anthropology from the University of Montana and a Master of Arts and a Ph.D. in American Indian Studies from the University of Arizona. She earned awards from the National Science Foundation, published numerous research papers and has presented at national conferences.

According to the Chronicle of Higher Education, Native American scholars only earned 0.3 percent of doctorate degrees. Spoonhunter feels that receiving recognition for an award from a national organization such as the Emerging Scholar will encourage fellow Native Americans to pursue doctoral degrees in the future.

"Education is key to the sharing of knowledge. We share knowledge not saying that our way is the best way, but to build bridges, to share and come to an agreement. A lot of times the natives have been consulted by the Park Service for management of animals but rarely are they given a seat at the table, that's one of the issues for instance…” - Tarissa Spoonhunter.

Apr 12 2019

24mins

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Willard Gould: Returning To Our Native Tongue

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Willard Gould grew up on the Wind River Reservation. He is former member of the Northern Arapahoe Business Council and a member of the Northern Arapahoe Language Commission. His work has been in substance abuse counseling, domestic violence and family services. 

“This journey has been wonderful, to see that people can change especially my people who have had problems identifying themselves with outside world and the obstacles that lead them to a dysfunctional way of life.”  “It can be rewarding and on the other side of the spectrum it can be heartbreaking.” 

The reteaching of the Arapahoe language to his tribe has become his passion. He wants to instill in the young people the pride of knowing their language and culture.

In 2015, the Arapahoe Language Commission discovered there were only 150 native speakers of their language left on the reservation. His hope is to be instrumental in the preservation and teaching of the Arapahoe language.

Mar 21 2019

16mins

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Eastern Shoshone Tribal Leader Ivan Posey: Born To Lead On The Reservation

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What does it mean to be a citizen of an American Indian tribe and the history behind it? What does Blood Quantum mean to tribal citizens of the Wind River Reservation?Tune in and listen to Ivan talk about his experiences while growing up on the Wind River Reservation in Wyoming. Ivan has been a member of the Eastern Shoshone Business Council and is the Tribal Education Coordinator for Central Wyoming College.

Mar 12 2019

13mins

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Filmmaker Jennifer Tennican: Disability, Diversity And Inclusion

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"Hearts of Glass" documents the early beginnings of Vertical Harvest and its employees with disabilities. Vertical Harvest is one of the world’s only multi-story hydroponic greenhouses, provides year-round produce in a rural mountain town and meaningful employment to community members with disabilities. Jennifer Tennican describes her new documentary film as a once-in-a-lifetime story about innovation and possibility. “That story includes community members with disabilities.” “Over the course of the film, in an organic way, I hope viewers get to know several of the greenhouse employees with disabilities. Viewers can experience firsthand the impact of employment and inclusion.”

Mar 05 2019

18mins

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Nona Yehia: Vertical Farming, Greenhouses and Community Impact

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In 2009, Nona started work on Vertical Harvest of Jackson Hole. Following her passion for local food and experiences growing up with a brother with developmental disabilities, Nona conceived of a three story hydroponic greenhouse that employs people with developmental disabilities while producing local food for the community year round. In 2016 Vertical Harvest opened its doors as a 'for profit business with a non profit soul'. This flagship project embodies Nona’s efforts to pursue projects that are able to have a profound impact on communities based on architectural, economic and social innovation. Nona is uniquely positioned in the vertical farming sphere as she is at once a practicing Architect, the Co-Founder, part owner, and CEO of a cutting edge greenhouse, Vertical Harvest of Jackson Hole. This combination has cultivated expertise in both the design and implementation of innovative systems and programs that position Vertical Harvest to be a model for communities around the globe.

Feb 08 2019

21mins

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Chris Duncan: A Moral Responsibility to Amputees

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"Watching individuals, adventurous daring intrepid individuals, go through life without limb function, spoke to me of a huge moral need to restore their function." Chris Duncan Dr Chris Duncan's research is focused on the restoration of movement and sensation for amputees through the development of advanced neuroprosthetic's that can tap into and communicate with the nerves and muscles. Photo courtesy of TEDxJacksonHole/Christie Quinn Producer

Jan 24 2019

15mins

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Taylor Rees: Seeking the Deeper meaning and giving "voice" to Indigenous peoples in her Films

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Taylor Rees, is a filmmaker and photojournalist. She is driven by an insatiable curiosity to explore and tell the stories beneath the surface. Her work in environmental and humanitarian issues brings new perspectives and deeper public understanding to challenging topics such as climate change, indigenous food systems, land use and water. For example, Indigenous people and their cultures have been the subject of many films, television programs, and documentaries. For Indigenous people, the experience has been mixed. The film-making process can be exploitative. Films can unwittingly exploit Indigenous communities and Indigenous knowledge with little or no consultation with Indigenous people, and without any benefits to Indigenous communities. She seeks to give them a "voice."

Jan 10 2019

15mins

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Slam Poet Kealoha: The Story Of Everything

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Kealoha is the first Poet Laureate of Hawaii and the first poet to perform at a Hawaii governor’s inauguration. He is an internationally acclaimed poet and storyteller who has performed throughout the world from the White House to ‘Iolani Palace. His latest work "The Story of Everything" is a creation story (in epic poem format) that traces our origins from the big bang to now using science, poetry, storytelling, movement, music, visual art, and chanting. Based on multiple knowledge systems. It explores the question “Where do we come from?” He is of multi-ethnic heritage with Hawaiian, Chinese, and Caucasian descent. With a degree in Nuclear Engineering from MIT in 1999

Dec 12 2018

18mins

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Dr. Devra Davis: Wake Up! Cell Phones Are Not Toys For Young Children

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Dr. Devra Davis founded non-profit Environmental Health Trust in 2007 in Teton County, Wyoming to provide basic research and education about environmental health hazards and promote constructive policies locally, nationally and internationally. She has also authored more than 200 publications in books and journals ranging from the Lancet and Journal of the American Medical Association to Scientific American and the New York Times and has written blogs in Freakonomics, Huffington Post, Physicians for Social Responsibility, MomsRising, Oxford University Press and elsewhere. An award-winning scientist and writer, Davis’ work has appeared in more than a dozen languages. (Photo: Courtesy of US Embassy Bogota)

Nov 13 2018

29mins

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NEH Chairman Jon Peede: I'm in the business of curiosity

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Jon Parrish Peede, the new chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), is a native of Mississippi who moved to Washington D.C. 15 years ago when President George W. Bush appointed him to a position at the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA). Founded in 1965, NEH is an independent grant-making institution of the U.S. government dedicated to supporting research, education, preservation, and public programs in the humanities. Peede was born and raised in Brandon. Since his father was a surgeon and his mother was director of medical records, he loved medicine during his youth and went to Vanderbilt University to prepare for a medical career. During high school, he interned at Rankin General Hospital in the surgery ward. During college, he worked for a summer at the VA Hospital in Jackson and worked part-time at the nephrology lab at Vanderbilt during the school year. But he eventually decided that his calling was to a writer and editor, not a doctor. "I come back to this wonderful quote from Zora Neale Hurston and she was asked about research and she said it's formalized curiosity and so a lot of times I say to people at the end of the day I'm in the business of curiosity." 

Nov 01 2018

20mins

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Ali Milburn: From dumpster diver to a life mission on food waste education and distribution

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Ali Milburn moved to Jackson in 2012 and soon found herself climbing into local grocery store dumpsters looking for edible food. Day after day she returned to the dump, finding high-quality, fresh produce, day old bread, outdated dairy and other food items that had been discarded. After a few months, Ali became overwhelmed with the amount of waste she encountered in the trash, so she set out to find a better use for all the food.

Oct 26 2018

24mins

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iTunes Ratings

16 Ratings
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Keep’em Coming

By DMGJr. - Apr 25 2019
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Incredible series of interviews that really inspires you to go out and become the next big name from Wyoming.

Great podcast

By FreedomPodcasting - Jan 23 2019
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This podcast makes me want to move to Wyoming.