BLM Logo
Casper and Lander Field Offices
Release Date: 10/06/11
Contacts: Sarah Beckwith, 307-347-5207    
  Lesley Collins, 307-261-7603    

Wind River Reservation Youth / BLM Benefit From Summer Employment

Students from the Wind River Indian Reservation took away positive experiences and made much-needed contributions to public lands when they spent the summer working for the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) on projects in the Casper and Lander field office areas.

The Wind River Reservation crew (kneeling l to r: Steve Monroe, Don Clifford, Jeryd Leonard and Cole Littleshield) and staff from the Casper and Lander field offices.

Steve Monroe, Cole Littleshield and Don Clifford learn how to 
use a prism to take tree plots with BLM Forester Cindy Allen.

Recreation Technician Nick Carter shows Cole Littleshield how to stretch and splice a barbed wire fence.
The students were hired under the Student Temporary Employment Program (STEP) which provides federal employment opportunities to students. STEP benefits both the agencies and the employed students. Agencies can discover first-hand the abilities of a potential employee, while students enjoy meaningful employment and flexible work schedules and assignments.

High school juniors Don Clifford, Jeryd Leonard, Cole Littleshield and Steve Monroe from Wyoming Indian, Arapahoe and St. Stephens High Schools completed many projects including riparian fence construction and repair, dispersed campsite clean-up, old mine shaft protective fencing construction and seed collection for the national Seeds of Success (SOS) program.

“The Wind River Indian Reservation is bordered on all four sides by either BLM or U.S. Forest Service lands, however very few Native American students know what we do and the opportunities available to them,” said BLM Lander Assistant Field Manager Rubel Vigil. “Our goal was to provide positive employment and learning opportunities for these students while making improvements to public lands.”

Fence exclosures, like those the crew repaired along the Platte River near Casper and around Sage Hens Springs near Jeffery City, protect and restore riparian areas and important spring sources that provide water to wildlife, livestock, and wild horses. In addition, several of the repaired exclosures were developed to provide hikers along the Continental Divide National Scenic Trail with clean, reliable water sources for filtering.

The contribution that the crew made this summer to SOS will benefit local restoration and wildlife habitat improvement projects in the future. SOS stores native plant seeds in seed banks across the nation and in the Millennium Seed Bank in the United Kingdom in an effort to preserve genetic diversity and for use in the restoration of disturbed areas.

“The willingness and enthusiasm of these young men was contagious,” said BLM Forester Cindy Allen. “Not only did we enjoy working with them, but we learned from them. They shared many aspects of their culture and lives with us.”

The students also experienced what it was like to live and work away from home. The Rim Campground on Muddy Mountain served as home base for the crew as they practiced life skills like cooking and cleaning, and learned to live and work together as a team.

In addition to completing important public lands projects, the crew was exposed to the roles and responsibilities of a federal natural resource agency and future employment opportunities available to them. BLM resource specialists provided an important educational component with each of the projects so the students would gain critical knowledge to assist them in their future education and employment pursuits. From their work they gained first-hand experience in forestry, wildlife and wildlife habitats, local history and stewardship of public lands.

By the end of their tours with the BLM, all four of the students reported that they had positive experiences overall and, if given the opportunity, would work for the BLM or a natural resource agency in the future.

The BLM manages more than 245 million acres of public land, the most of any Federal agency. This land, known as the National System of Public Lands, is primarily located in 12 Western states, including Alaska. The BLM also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. The BLM's mission is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of America’s public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations. In Fiscal Year 2015, the BLM generated $4.1 billion in receipts from activities occurring on public lands.

Casper and Lander Field Offices   2987 Prospector Drive      Casper, WY 82604            1335 Main Street      Lander, WY 82520  

Last updated: 10-06-2011