2011 Small Newspaper


Christine Peterson, Kerry Huller and Wes Watson of Wyoming’s Casper Star-Tribune won for a series on the shrinking glaciers in the Wind River Range and the possible impacts locally. “Kudos to the Casper Star-Tribune for devoting energy and ink to explaining the science right in its readers’ back yards,” said judge Nancy Shute, a freelance science writer and contributor to NPR.

Peterson and her colleagues looked at the work of local Wyoming scientists who have been studying the glacier ecosystem of the Wind River Range, including how microbes have been adapting to climate changes in the high-altitude environment, the concerns of ranchers who worry that receding glaciers will decrease late-season water flow in the streams they use to irrigate, and the possible impact of glacier melt and altered ecosystems on the region’s blue-ribbon fisheries and game herds. Peterson, who said she was honored to receive the award, noted that “very little is known about the Wind River glaciers compared to many other glacial complexes, mostly because of their remote location.” She and photographer Kerry Huller joined two Wyoming scientists who have trudged up the mountains for decades to keep an eye on the glaciers and study the likely impact on their retreat.