Encouraging Responisble Development Today - For Tomorrow

Organization Information:

Organization Name:
Powder River Basin Resource Council
City & State:
Organization Website:
Organization's Mission Statement

The conservation of Wyoming’s unique land, minerals, water and clean air consistent with the responsible use of these resources to sustain the livelihood of present and future generations and to preserve and enrich our agricultural heritage and rural lifestyle. To empower individuals through community organizing and leadership development to raise a coherent and effective voice in decisions that will impact their lifestyle. 

Submission Information

Impact Essay

Powder River Basin Resource Council, is a citizen based membership organization dedicated to a civil society and to the stewardship of Wyoming’s human and natural resources. Started in 1973 by rural landowners of Northeast Wyoming attempting to protect their land, water and air from the ravages of coal strip mining, Powder River currently has members throughout Wyoming and several other states. Powder River  is also affiliated with four grassroots citizen groups across Wyoming. Among our accomplishments:      A major contributor to the passage of the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act of 1977.     Enabled landowners to negotiate the protection of their rights concerning coalbed methane development, pipe line and railroad right of ways.     Protected pristine areas such as the Dry Fork of the Little Big Horn River and Fortification Creek.     Continued to monitor  status of coal mine reclamation and  construction of coal fired power plants.     Prevented the expansion of confined animal feeding operations (CAFO’s),  in Wyoming through the passage of state regulations and local ordinances.  In 2008, Powder River received from Tech Soup the 2003 versions of Word, Power Point, Excel, Publisher and Outlook. Examples follow of how using these programs in an integrated manner have led to increased conservation successes.  Protection of the Fortification Area Fortification Creek is a very rough, but fragile ecosystem in the middle of the Powder River Basin targeted for energy development. The greater Fortification Area is an ecological stronghold for many species in the Powder River Basin.  Rich biological diversity abounds.  Mule deer, antelope, grouse, reptiles and small mammals, over 200 species of birds, turkey, bobcats, and mountain lion all populate the area. In addition, a thriving elk herd inhabits the area. In order to protect the area our staff developed a research, education and outreach campaign using Tech Soup donated Microsoft programs. With Power Point, presentations have been developed showing the uniqueness of the area and exhibited at several venues throughout the area. With heightened awareness due to these activities citizens and other environmental groups became excited about the issue. Staff used Outlook calendar to schedule meetings which helped coordinate an effective protection campaign. As a result of public attention to the issue, the Bureau of Land Management has reopened the government controlled land in that area for a second look and is formulating new guidelines considering phased energy development in order to lessen the negative impacts on the ecosystem. The speed of this successful turn-about was helped immensely by having these easy-to-use Microsoft programs available for use.   Passage of Sheridan Outdoor Lighting Starry Skies Ordinance  Sheridan Area Resource Council (SARC) is a local affiliate of Powder River. Their recent successful campaign was maximized through use of  donated Tech Soup technology. SARC is located in Sheridan, Wyoming, a beautiful town located near the Bighorn Mountain range. Its rapid growth over the past 10 years has been accelerated due to nearby energy development. The growth has been affecting the beauty of the night sky as lighting has obscured the once lovely starlit nights.  SARC decided that a city ordinance was needed to allow lighting to provide safety to citizens but would not hide the starry skies. The Starry Skies Campaign was launched with a brochure developed with Publisher that was printed and distributed throughout the city. The brochure helped SARC members rally citizens to attend town council meetings. An outdoor lighting educational presentation was developed using Power Point and presented to the city council and other venues, greatly aiding the passage of the ordinance through three readings to become an official Sheridan City law. The brochure design and ordinance have been shared with several communities in Wyoming seeking similar protections.  The donated software is used by all of our staff and even members. Word is an extremely valuable tool and the most prevalently used. It  has helped to democratize our work and aids in collaboration. Although fiscally a small organization, we have two offices and over a thousand members in Wyoming who want to participate and Word, with it track changes function, has allowed members and established committees to greatly increase their participation affording more valuable input to our efforts. Sharing documents in their developmental stages, allowing more direct input from our members has increased our participation, democratized our work, and produced  higher quality output materials.    Power Point is also an extremely important tool for our work. It has allowed us to develop presentations in very short time, to alter those presentations to make them more audience specific. This has freed up time for the staff to directly address our issues. Presentations are easy to store and ready for use immediately or with minor changes that would have taken hours or days back in the slide projector era. Staff can now easily help each other in developing and reviewing the presentations which has lead to better overall educational campaigns  Excel is used in financial tracking, water sampling reports, electronic timesheets, etc.  It makes life so much easier for all of us as we use the information generated by the Excel program to provide us with much of the information needed when writing reports to funding agencies. We also maintain our media list to whom we send press releases and other information.. We just copy/paste the emails into outlook and outlook automatically formats them. Publisher, besides what was mentioned above is used all the time by staff. Our Annual Report, Letterhead, business cards, raffle tickets, and informational brochures  are all products of Publisher.  Our productions using Publisher are now more professional but not so slick that we lose our ‘grassroots’ identity. If we need a publication printed professionally, printers accept our outlines in Publisher format without issue. This flexibility is one of the great assets that Publisher has given our organization.  Outlook of course is the greatest communication invention since the telephone. Our members and staff are in continual communication which again has enhanced the value of our work and made it so much more productive.  It used to take days and even weeks to have people agree on meeting times, which now, using the calendar function, are scheduled within hours. Having a far flung rural membership, Outlook is indeed probably one of our most valuable assets directly after the staff. Enhanced member communication  has meant that campaign planning is a shared task. Outlook has reduced our  reaction time to changing current events where member and Board input is necessary, has made a major positive change in our work and helped make us a major player in our issue areas.

Submission Category
Optimize Mission Delivery