By Sage Sutcliffe

Top Montana News Stories

1. Cooperative Decomposition: Recycling In Its Truest Form (Annie Mealey / Field Notes – Montana Natural History Center)

Originally broadcast in March of 2022, this Field Notes piece for the Montana Natural History Center aired again this week on MTPR. Written in the Field Notes Writing Workshop, the piece is beautifully detailed, although the mental images of insect-ridden, bloated, decomposing animals may not be.

The author writes: “Next time you are out hiking and come across a dead animal, think about the cooperation needed to decompose the body, and how that animal’s death benefits countless other organisms. Nature has so much to teach us.”

2. BLM explores utility-scale solar in Montana (Amanda Eggert / Montana Free Press)

J-School alumna Amanda Eggert (’09) reports on the possibility for some of Montana’s eight million acres of BLM land to be developed for large solar projects. The project has sparked controversy among Montanans with competing ideas of how BLM land should be utilized.

3. Bill banning vaccinated blood donations would ‘decimate’ blood supply, opponents say (Nicole Girten / Daily Montanan)

“House Bill 645 would ban individuals who received the COVID-19 vaccine from donating blood, making it a misdemeanor with a $500 fine to donate or accept blood from vaccinated donors,” writes Girten. It’s a heavy topic, but Girten weaves the story (and, you guessed it: conflicting viewpoints) together for an easy read.

4. ‘Buffalo take care of us’: First Blackfeet buffalo hunt open to all was a success (Nora Mabie / Lee Enterprises)

Indigenous communities reporter Nora Mabie reports on a bison hunt raffle led by the Blackfeet Nation and Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks.

“…The hunt represented new efforts to build trust with outside communities and organizations. It symbolized a new phase in the tribe’s bison management strategy and, above all, it affirmed the ways in which bison continue to help Native communities thrive,” writes Mabie.

Accompanying photos by J-School grad Thom Bridge illustrate the first raffle winner’s bison harvesting process.

Top Environment and Science News Stories

1. Chemical Concerns of the Ohio Train Disaster (Bobby Bascomb / Living on Earth)

The toxic train derailment that turned East Palestine, Ohio into an environmental disaster zone is still making headlines weeks later. To get the story, Bascomb speaks with an Ohioan reporter with Ideastream Public Media regarding the present and future impacts to East Palestinians and nearby residents. Bascomb also reached out to the train company at fault, Norfolk Southern, and a local resident for their comments.

2. Your Brain Could Be Controlling How Sick You Get—And How You Recover (Diana Kwon / Nature Magazine)

Diana Kwon’s lede makes this science-heavy story sound intriguing from the get-go: “Hundreds of scientists around the world are looking for ways to treat heart attacks. But few started where Hedva Haykin has: in the brain.”

Informed by science, the intrigue continues throughout Kwon’s carefully narrated story, which alludes to the possibility that optimism may keep you healthier.

Top Student/Alumni Story

1. UM student’s wolf parasite study getting national attention (Najifa Farhat / Montana Kaimin)

Before moving to the U.S. last August, Najifa Farhat worked as a journalist for two years on the environment and climate change beat in her home country of Bangladesh. She will graduate from UM’s environmental journalism master’s program in ’24. In her piece for the Montana Kaimin, Farhat interviews another UM student, whose research on wolves recently made national news.

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