Best of the West: A plan to keep ranches running; latest wildfire updates; hot water in Hawai’i crater

The Western Governors' Association keeps you updated on news of the West. Here are the western stories for the week starting Aug. 5, 2019 that you don't want to miss. (Photo: Quivira Coalition)

The American farmer is getting older and, increasingly, their children don't want to take over the farm -- or ranch.

The work of the Quivira Coalition is addressing that trend. The Colorado Sun reports on the coalition of ranchers and environmentalists that has developed an apprenticeship program to identify young people who want to work on western ranches.

The Sun story notes: “Through apprenticeships, the Quivira Coalition, a group of ranchers and environmentalists working to shape the future of agriculture in the West, is hoping to solve a problem facing the nation’s aging farmers and ranchers: there aren’t enough young people to pass the work on to.”

“Basically, all of the people who feed everybody are going to be dead soon, and we have not been training that next generation,” said rancher Julie Sullivan.  “As a society, we have not invested in who’s going to feed us all.”

Read the story and then learn how the first workshop for WGA’s new Chairman’s initiative, Reimagining the Rural West, will address innovation in agriculture.

Hot Water in Hawai’i: Scientists have discovered that a pond of water inside a Hawaii crater is being heated by the Kilauea volcano. The U.S. Geological Survey reports the water in Kilauea volcano's Halemaumau crater, the former home of a lava lake, is about 158 degrees Fahrenheit. While this is the first time in recorded history the presence of water in the crater has been confirmed, scientists say an eruption is not imminent. Read more.

Wildfire Update:  The Milepost 97 wildfire, the largest in Oregon, is 65% contained and winding down. But wildfire teams remain on alert for thunderstorms expected to bring lightning and possible wildfire starts across the state. The Williams Flat wildfire on the Colville Indian Reservation in eastern Washington has burned more than 25,000 acres and led to evacuations; it was only 25% contained as of mid-week.

'Ruff' work: Zebra and quagga mussels can devastate an ecosystem. Yellowstone National Park is doing everything it can to keep them out, and that includes harnessing the power of a dog's snout. Learn about Barley the border collie, Tobias the yellow lab and their efforts through Working Dogs for Conservation. Not to be outdone, Washington has enlisted the skills of Puddles, a Jack Russel-terrier mix.

Where you from? Out West, it means something to be a “local.” The Montana Free Press recently decided to find out just how many Montana residents were actually born in The Treasure State. The results may surprise you. Speaking of locals, this Casper Star Tribune story (40 more clues that you might be from Wyoming) made us smile and realize that many of the 'clues' might apply to other western states. See how you grade out!

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