Sinks Canyon Center Dirt

Get the dirt on what’s happening at CWC’s Sinks Canyon Center! Sinks Canyon Center Dirt are blog posts brought to you by our students living at SCC! Check out what they have been up to and follow along here!


Earlier this spring, students living at the CWC Sinks Canyon Center started an effort to revitalize our modest garden and greenhouse. Originally based around the Outdoor Education degree practicum, two students, Aspen Kentzel and myself, Gregory Skidmore, formed a plan with CWC staff with the intention of setting into motion a model for small scale agriculture for our region and a platform for future environmental initiatives at the SCC campus.

Since the middle of June, a new hand has joined us in our efforts. Kara Colovich, a University of Montana alumnus, is a welcome addition to our little team. As summer is in full swing, we have made some headway in developing systems and habits for tending to our crops and other components that are vital to our success.

Planting began in late May. We’ve chosen an assortment of vegetables and fruit and have high hopes that we’ll have a decent yield in the late summer and fall. Check out our pictures and watch us grow!


Approved Funding allows CWC building enhancements

The Wyoming Community College Commission has endorsed and the state Legislature has approved Level II funding for Central Wyoming College. Earlier this year CWC proposed for funding for two facilities: a Jackson Outreach construction and a new agriculture and animal science facility.

The approved funding will allow CWC to hire an architect to design the facilities; once the design and estimated costs are completed the college will then go through another approval process for Level III funding for the construction of the approved facilities, said Ron Granger, vice president for administrative services.

The approved Level II funding is from the legislature’s contingency funds which are left over from last year’s budget which the legislature can then allocate. The approval amount for the Jackson Center is $240,000 and $325,000 for a new agriculture and animal science building.

“Currently, the state construction management group is preparing to release a request for proposal for architectural firms to submit bids,” CWC President Cris Valdez said.

“A master plan for construction and renovation for CWC was started about three years ago,” Granger said. “If we receive the approval for Level III funding the earliest start date would be January 2017. We have two years to use the funds after it has been approved.”

The funding will allow the hire of an architect to get a schematic design and an estimated cost of the construction of each building. The implementation of the new buildings comes from the CWC’s 2012 master plan of expanding or renovating the buildings on campus.

The new Jackson facility will address community needs of a trained workforce with the hospitality, culinary and nursing programs. It will also create entrepreneurial opportunities; meeting the demands of a thriving Teton County. The facility will allow for a professional culinary teaching kitchen, classrooms, labs for health science programs such as nursing, expanded computer labs and office space for faculty and staff. Currently, some programs do not have adequate computer labs for students and are sharing science labs with local k12 schools.

“The completion of the facility will help boost our student success,” Granger said.

The proposed improvements from the 2012 master plan for the new agriculture and animal science building would include a new location closer to main campus. This new building would include locker rooms, classrooms, and offices. An indoor and outdoor arena with the proper stands and parking for spectators as well as a concessions and a ticket booth are also included. The new building would also provide the adequate barns, pens and stalls needed for livestock along with a farrier room and up-to-date technology for the offices and classrooms.

The master plan also includes renovations or expansions to several other buildings on campus including administration wing, main hall, Robert A. Peck Arts Center, Pro-Tech and more. The improvement on student life would include main hall, a one stop shop and expanding a student center.

Some of the plans have already been approved and are in the construction stages. The Lander Center is currently being constructed and is projected to be completed this fall. Renovations to the administrative wing have been approved and are currently in the process of receiving bids for the construction process.

“We are excited to determine how these expansions and new spaces can enhance services in both Fremont and Teton Counties,” President Valdez said. “As we have engaged with community leaders and elected officials in these counties, I have witnessed not only the need but also a significant level of support and commitment to see the two projects to completion.”

CWC rodeo team promises new talent

Central Wyoming College rodeo team will have a talented lineup for this year’s season. Rodeo coach Drew Schrock has been busy recruiting new members for the team and this year many of them have been National High School Finals qualifiers.

More than ten will be incoming freshman this year and will join the team this fall making a total of 30 rodeo team members. Nineteen are from Wyoming and five are from Fremont County. The five are all return athletes; Piper Naylon, Brooke Hursh, Shana Lyons, Alex Bone and Danny Huxtable are all coming back for their second, third and fourth year of eligibility.

During Wyoming’s high school finals rodeo, Brady Thurston of Lance Creek qualified for Nationals in saddle bronc and steer wrestling; placing second in both events and is an alternate in the tie-down roping. Thurston also won the all-around title. Teigen Finnerty of Wheatland won the reserve all-around; placing second behind Thurston. Finnerty also placed third in the steer wrestling and fourth in the tie down roping.

“As a coach, we are all going for the all-around athletes. A kid who can be in multiple events and do well is good for the team,” Schrock said. “We have a pretty solid team coming in this fall and I look forward to working with all of them.”

Jaden Burnett of Farson is an alternate in team roping for Nationals. Tanner Butner of Pinedale competed in Idaho and was state champion in saddle bronc and Casey Hale from Wash., qualified in team roping; both will be going to Nationals this July. The NHSFR will be in Rock Springs; starting July 12.

Coming back to the team for his last year of eligibility is saddle bronc rider, Colton Miller, who took home the championship buckle at the Pro Rodeo Cowboys Association rodeo in Abbyville, Kan., May 16. Miller competed for CWC his freshman and sophomore year and during that time was regional champion both years. After his sophomore year, Miller transferred to Tarleton State University in Stephenville, Texas. While there, he received his associate’s degree; he will pursue an additional degree while attending CWC. The National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association’s eligibility for students to rodeo is four years at junior colleges.

Steer wrestler, Coltin Hill will also be returning to CWC after transferring to another college to compete with the team. Last year he qualified for the College National Finals Rodeo and was unable to compete after a knee injury.

“It is neat to have both of them coming back to compete with us,” Schrock said. “Colton Miller will continue to attend PRCA rodeos if he is running for the National Finals Rodeo so it will be a wild fall for him competing at the collegiate level and the pro level.”

“It speaks highly of the program and I’m excited to have that type of leadership and talent coming back on the team,” Schrock said.

Guenther receives Preserve Wyoming Award

Central Wyoming College professor, Todd Guenther, received a Preserve Wyoming Award from the State Historic Preservation office at the 2015 Preserve Wyoming conference in Laramie this past week.

Preserve Wyoming awards are given to those who contribute to the preservation of the history of Wyoming. Guenther, director of Western American studies and professor of anthropology, history and museum studies, was awarded this honor based on his development of CWC’s Western American studies program. This program utilizes an interdisciplinary approach to explore the history, prehistory, anthropology and geography of the people who have lived near or crossed the Continental Divide at South Pass in the central Rocky Mountains.

“I’m very honored to have Todd representing CWC at these types of events,” said Mark Nordeen, dean of liberal arts at CWC. “His program is certainly “second to none” and Todd continues to demonstrate the rewards of genuinely putting student learning at the forefront. His hard work pays huge dividends for our students.”

Guenther is an archaeologist and a former curator at South Pass City and the Pioneer Museum in Lander. In addition, he is an award winning author of articles about Wyoming and regional history.

In a congratulatory letter, Senator Enzi wrote “Your love for our state’s heritage not only inspired you, it challenged you to make a difference. And you have. With your efforts you are helping this and future generations to understand how their world has been shaped and influenced by pioneers who came in pursuit of a dream.”

Guenther is a dedicated professor, who provides his students with hands-on opportunities to work at archaeological digs. Recently, students presented intensive research projects done alongside Guenther at this year’s statewide Wyoming Archaeological Society conference. One of the projects utilized human osteology, archeology, ethnohistory and facial reconstruction techniques to identify skeletal remains of a late 1800s Native American female found near Dubois.

“That’s what’s so cool about this program,” Guenther said. “While student are here, they get to experience doing things that other students only read about in textbooks.”

CWC hosts safety symposium for officers

Central Wyoming College’s Rural Justice Training Center, Fremont County School District and the Lander and Riverton Police Departments hosted the School Safety Symposium June 17-19. The Wyoming School Resource Officers Association and Wyoming D.A.R.E. put this conference on for law enforcement and educators throughout Wyoming and the surrounding states. This year more than 50 people attended the conference.

The event had six guest speakers during the course of three days which covered topics in D.A.R.E, tactical training and room entry, current drug trends and why kids are getting sicker quicker.

“All the speakers were very interesting and had high energy,” said Chuck Carr, CWC’s director of campus security. Four of Carr’s student interns attended the conference; learning procedures on building searches, focuses on mental health, drug and alcohol and more. The students also presented the flag at the start of the conference.

“I wanted them to have the opportunity to see what a law enforcement conference was like and to be around people that are in the career they are pursuing with their degrees,” Carr said. “School officers have a different mentality than most law enforcement; they are more community oriented and like to build relationships with students and work with them.”

“The speakers were upbeat and had so much knowledge it was overwhelming,” said Bridgette McGinness, CWC student intern. “It definitely showed me what I wanted to go into and I would like to work at a police department.”

The students also attended a simunitions course where they experienced real life scenarios. The School Resource Officers had the training for the interns and other participants. Each scenario was a different situation where attendees had roles as either cops or the perpetrator. Each scenario had two, three or four person teams of cops which were given a quick synopsis of the situation and then the teams entered the scene as if it were an actual situation. Team members were coached throughout the scenario but if a mistake was made, they were shot with a simunition round; a non-lethal round made of detergent based water soluble marking compound.

“It was awesome to work with cops and gave me a better direction on a career path,” said Billy Yaracz, CWC student intern. “It made me want to do it even more.”

“Next year the conference will be in Cheyenne and we hope to have a great turn out,” said Cody Myers, school resource officer. “This was our sixth conference and the fourth one CWC has hosted.”

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