As inmates throughout Wyoming continue to send in their letters of important grievances, ideas and other subject matter, I'm composing a letter of praise and gratitude. I applaud those inmates for their fortitude and courage to speak up; however, I feel that sometimes credit needs to be paid where credit is due. At times the Department of Corrections makes new changes and takes new risks that provide us inmates with new opportunities and challenges to not only better ourselves but our community.
One such subject I'd like to shed light on is the "sagebrush prison program" that myself and two other inmates participated in the past year. Along with a handful of volunteers, we were able to plant, grow and take plants back into the community to re-plant in the reclaimed mine and oil fields. This project taught me that hard work and selfless thinking can improve the land in which we live, as well as giving me the opportunity to voice a concern that is prevalent in our community: a sick ecosystem.
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I'd like to thank publicly a few people and organizations that have helped us along through the process. These people treated me like a human being, showed true passion for their jobs and treated this project with compassion and pride.
A huge thank you to the BLM and DEQ, Don Newton Josh Oakleaf, his wife Gina Clingerman, Tina Russel and Dione Mejia for taking the time to oversee this project and show us the correct ways to grow sagebrush (something I never thought I'd be doing).
Thank you to the staff at Wyoming DOC, Mr. Settelmyre and C.O. Johnson for your help. And to the administration for the opportunity and letting us go off-site to re-plant. It was an experience I enjoyed greatly.
Thank you to Cooper McKim of NPR for coming to the Honor Farm and interviewing us.
And to my fellow inmates and friends Drew Moore and Chris Eagleroad for all your help and hard work.
MICHAEL CATT, Wyoming Honor Farm, Riverton