• Badlands formations against the blue sky; photo by Rikk Flohr

    Badlands

    National Park South Dakota

Badlands Tribal Interns Launch Blog

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Date: June 28, 2014
Contact: Julie Johndreau, 605-433-5242

Badlands Tribal Interns Launch Blog

 

BADLANDS NATIONAL PARK, INTERIOR, S.D. — This summer, eight Lakota teens are involved with local parks and their community through Badlands National Park's Tribal Youth Intern Program. In its third full year, the program aims to prepare today's youth for future careers in natural resources, park management, or related fields.

"Programs like these are what we are doing now to help build the tribal national park," said park superintendent Eric Brunnemann. "Students are in leadership roles as they work alongside park paleontologists, biologists, rangers, and engineers. We want them to think about careers and see themselves in NPS careers or other professional positions."

The eight students are from Interior, Wanblee, and Philip, SD. Two teachers from Crazy Horse School serve as day-to-day mentors and project leaders for the interns. Last week, the interns visited Rockyford School summer program, Wall Library, and The Museum of the American Bison to present educational programs. Future outreach includes hosting field trips for the Wall After School Program, Kadoka After School Program, and the Boys and Girls Club. Interns staff the information desks at Ben Reifel, Minuteman Missile, and White River Visitor Centers, and welcome visitors to the Fossil Prep Lab, trails, and overlooks throughout the park. Interns are involved in job-shadowing and outdoor work experiences across a wide range of fields.

In 2012, after six years of public and tribal meetings, NPS and Oglala Sioux Tribe completed a General Management Plan for the operation and management of Badland's South Unit.This plan recognizes that successful park management requires the fullest tribal participation--like the Tribal Youth Intern Program.Tribal involvement brings forth American Indian cultural values and recognizes ancestral tribal ties to park resources.Brunnemann observes, "With the promise of the nation's first tribal national park, increased tribal collaboration at Badlands is happening. Visitors from around the world want to understand Lakota history and its relationship to the badlands."

To learn more, follow the 'Summer Intern Adventures' blog.

The Badlands Tribal Youth Intern Program is made possible through the support of partners including participating schools, Friends of the Badlands, Badlands Natural History Association, and National Park Foundation.

Did You Know?

The white water of Sage Creek

Available water in the badlands is always loaded with sediment. Cloudy and milky white in appearance, the water contains particles that carry a slight charge of electricity. The particles repel each other, instead of settling to the bottom. Early visitors found the water unsuitable for drinking.