Third Annual Badlands Youth Camp Fosters Cultural Exchange
Contact: Julie Johndreau, 605-433-5242
BADLANDS NATIONAL PARK, INTERIOR, S.D. — During the week of March 17, students from three schools—Red Cloud Indian School in Pine Ridge, S.D., Crazy Horse School in Wanblee, SD, and The Calhoun School in New York City—will all participate in a youth camp at Badlands National Park. The students’ learning is supported by their teachers, park rangers, scientists, and visiting artists. The purpose is to create meaningful connections with diverse youth that could encourage them to pursue careers in related disciplines.
Involving local Lakota students is particularly important to the future of the Badlands South Unit, as it is poised to become the nation’s first tribal national park. Badlands Superintendent Eric Brunnemann stated “By bringing these young people to the park today, we are not only growing the future leaders of what may become the first tribal national park, but also inspiring the next generation of scientists and leaders.”
The program emphasizes the arts as a method to learn topics in science such as observation skills, patterns, and natural form and function. The students will use mixed-media nature journalsto record thoughts and memories as well as sketches. Journals and photos will be used to share what they have learned when they return home.
Also for the third year in a row, students will be mentored by park volunteer and Artist-in-Residence Jessica L. Bryant, a watercolor painter. Bryant has been instrumental in developing the youth camp experience over the past three years. She will continue to lead the students in creating mixed-media nature journals and exploring the park. Bryant’s exhibit, “Beyond Boundaries: Visions from the South Unit of Badlands National Park,” is on display at The Dahl Arts Center through May 3.
The Youth Camp represents a partnership between National Park Service, the participating schools, Friends of the Badlands, Badlands Natural History Association, and National Park Foundation.
Did You Know?
Badlands National Park maintains an open backcountry policy for exploration of its rugged landscape. While the park has no formal backcountry permit or reservation system, hikers are advised to stop at the Ben Reifel Visitor Center for planning assistance, safety tips, directions, and regulations.