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Contact: Tom Farrell, 605-745-1130
WIND CAVE NATIONAL PARK, SD – Songs written by students with the help of professional songwriters highlight events planned in Black Hills area parks for National Park Week, April 16 through April 24.
South Dakota's National Park Treasurers: Through the Voices of Our Youth will premier this year’s honorees, area parks, Tuesday, April 19, at 6 p.m. with a program at the Custer High School Theatre. There will be similar program presented on Thursday, April 21, at 4 p.m. at the Rockyford Elementary School in Porcupine, on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation.
Fourth grade students from Rockyford School worked with Native American songwriter and performer Mr. Sequoia Crosswhite to write an original piece of music about “what is in the heart of the park” for the Badlands and Wind Cave National Parks. Songwriters Marianne Fridell, Mike Linderman, Keith Burden, David Lee Brown and Cory Tomovick worked with Custer’s 4th, 5th and 8th grade students to write songs about Jewel Cave National Monument, Mount Rushmore National Memorial, Minuteman Missile National Historic Site, Badlands National Park, and Wind Cave National Park. A short video of the student’s visit to each park unit will be shown followed by students reading a narrative about their park visit and then the premier of that park’s song.
A recording, photos, video and narrative from the project will be posted at http://www.elderswisdomchildrenssongsouthdakota.com/. Student artwork and photographs from their National Park Service experience will be on display for the month of April at the Custer County Courthouse, sponsored by the Custer Area Arts Council.
“We’re very excited about the Through the Voices of Youth project and look forward to the upcoming premiers,” said Wind Cave Superintendent Vidal Dávila. “We’d like to thank Hank Fridell and the Elders’ Wisdom, Children’s Song South Dakota for their invaluable help on this project.”
On April 16, National Park Week begins at Badlands with “Meet a Ranger” from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Ben Reifel Visitor Center. Visitors can interact with park staff and discover through a variety of activities what is involved in day-to-day operations and learn what it takes to manage this quarter of a million acre park. Visitors can also explore the values of our national parks and help create an art project produced by Artist in Residence Judy Thompson. Jr Ranger activities will be offered throughout the day.
There will be free cave tours at Jewel and Wind Caves and free entrance at Badlands National Park during National Park Week.
With the assistance of the Friends of Wind Cave National Park and the Hot Springs Middle School, the winner of the “Find Your Park Video Contest” will be announced Wednesday, April 20, at 10:50 in the Hot Springs’ Middle School Band Room. Students of Ms. March’s Tech Strategies class, as part of their curriculum, filmed and edited short videos centered around the theme of “Find Your Park.” The winning entry will be posted on Wind Cave’s YouTube and Facebook sites.
Jewel Cave National Monument is conducting a special on-site Junior Ranger Day on Saturday, April 16, at 10 a.m. This is followed by a Junior Ranger Day event at the Journey Museum in Rapid City on Sunday, April 17, at 4 p.m. Participants will learn the basics of how to map and survey a cave. When completed, participants will receive a special Centennial Junior Ranger badge.
On Sunday, April 17, the Journey Museum is providing internet access for those families that wish to register for the Every Kid In a Park Program. Starting this past fall, all kids in the fourth grade have had access to their very own Every Kid in a Park pass at www.everykidinapark.gov. This pass provides free access to national parks, national forests, and national wildlife refuges.
Additionally, during National Park Week, Mount Rushmore National Memorial will be hosting a series of Facebook posts celebrating baseball and its significance at Mount Rushmore. This summer the Memorial will be presenting a series of special interpretive programs including a Naturalization Ceremony June 16, hosting a special "National Parks in Quilts" display in July, and celebrating the hundredth birthday of the National Park Service on August 25 with a birthday cake and a surprise.