Maggie Mullen

Maggie Mullen is a fifth generation Wyomingite, born and raised in Casper. She is currently a Masters candidate in American Studies and will defend her thesis on female body hair in contemporary American culture this May. Before graduate school, she earned her BA in English and French from the University of Wyoming. Maggie enjoys writing, cooking, her bicycle, swimming in rivers and lakes, and most any dog. 

At the Early Care and Education Center at the University of Wyoming, there's a lot of what one would expect to see at a daycare - toys, books, and cubbies for tiny shoes. And that's not all.


Inside Eastridge Shopping Mall in Casper, Wyoming was once a Macy's. And signs of that department store life remain — a lot of mirrors, the old beauty department counter, and what used to be changing rooms to try on the latest fashions. Now, this building is a well-oiled, pandemic-fighting machine, with no customers.


Wyoming Gov. Mark Gordon will remove the statewide mask requirement starting on March 16. In a press release sent out Monday morning, Gordon also announced he would lift all restrictions on bars, restaurants, theaters, and gyms, allowing them to resume normal operations on that same date.

Two Western lawmakers have reintroduced companion bills to establish a federal conservation corps. It would invest $9 billion in a civilian workforce dedicated to public lands, part of a $40 billion package focused on conservation, restoration and rural economies.


The pandemic has caused huge revenue shortfalls in state budgets across the Mountain West and the country, renewing heated debates over taxes. That's true in Wyoming, too, though one tax issue before lawmakers is "still something that, you know, gets whispered about."


Rebecca Travers lives in Casper, Wyo. Until late last year, the 42-year-old had been working at a non-profit that helps volunteer organizations across the state.

About a third of Americans living in rural areas say they probably or definitely would not get a COVID-19 vaccine, according to a recent analysis from the Kaiser Family Foundation.

This week, the northern spotted owl and the monarch butterfly were denied protections under the Endangered Species Act, even though both animals qualify.


When Willow Belden goes holiday shopping she likes to support local businesses. This year, though, it's meant calling stores and asking, "Are you guys wearing masks? But are you really wearing masks? And, like, what else are you doing?"

Back in 2018, the U.S. Geological Survey and several Western states formed the Corridor Mapping Team, a first-of-its-kind collaboration among state and federal wildlife biologists to map ungulate migrations.

Last week, the team published its first volume of maps, which document more than 40 big-game migration routes in Arizona, Idaho, Nevada, Utah and Wyoming.


Vanessa Chavarriaga loves to be outside, whether it's floating down a river in the desert or ice skating on a frozen alpine lake. And when she posts photos of her adventures, she includes information about where exactly she was.


Here's a scenario you may have found yourself in recently: You open up Facebook or Twitter, and someone you know is posting about a conspiracy theory. You wonder, Do I say something? Is there any convincing them otherwise?


This time of year usually means the start of college football. Not this year. Without game days and big crowds of tailgaters, college towns across the Mountain West and beyond look different - and sound a lot different, too.

Skies are hazy across the region thanks to the many wildfires burning in the West, and that smoke is more dangerous during the pandemic. 

Daniel Bear lives in Kenilworth, Utah, a small community of around 200 people between Salt Lake City and Moab. Earlier this year, Bear suffered a woodworking accident that involved his hand and a tablesaw. It was messy.


The first time Mark Ritchie and Leah Hardy laid eyes on their new camper, it was after they'd bought it.

"It was like, 'Oh my God, it's tiny.' Which was great," Ritchie said recently while standing outside their home in Laramie, Wyo. "It made me feel actually more confident dragging it around. Because when I see people with giant trailers, I go, 'Thank God that's not me.'"

As humans around the world have limited their movement during the coronavirus pandemic, some animals appear to be changing their behavior. Biologist Christian Rutz may have seen one small example for himself.

The number of positive COVID-19 cases in Colorado has been trending downward. Meanwhile, other states in the region are on the uptick.


Protesting racism and police brutality is nothing new. But large, sustained turnouts, especially in small, mostly white towns, is something we've not seen before. For many of these protesters, it's their first time demonstrating - ever.

The inaugural #BlackBirdersWeek kicked off on Sunday. The virtual event came about in response to the racist incident in Central Park last week when a white woman called the police after a Black birder asked her to put her dog on a leash.

Cheyenne Frontier Days, the world's largest outdoor rodeo, has been cancelled for the first time in its 124-year history.


Sam Sweney said he started to worry about his dad, Bill, when he didn't hear from him for a few days.

"He hadn't called. It was strange - like I texted him and he didn't text back and usually he's a pretty avid text messenger," he said.

Typically, grizzly bears give birth to single or twin cubs. But Grizzly 399 is not a typical bear. She's given birth to multiple sets of triplets. And this spring, the Yellowstone region's most famous bear showed up in Grand Teton National Park with four cubs by her side.

Many parts of the Mountain West are predicted to have above normal wildfire potential this summer. The coronavirus promises to make fire season abnormal in other ways, too.


You might have seen it on social media - Italians on lockdown stepping out onto their balconies to sing together, or New Yorkers applauding health care workers at the same time each night.

Most states have issued stay-at-home orders to slow the spread of COVID-19. Wyoming and Utah are two of the very few remaining without statewide orders.