Science and Storytelling in Badlands National Park

After a day of becoming GLOBE certified and an arthropod seminar at the Discovery Center in Pierre, Tuesday morning we headed out to Badlands National Park.
We met with Education Supervisor Stacy who gave us a quick tour and told us abut the field trips and distance learning that the park provides to anyone. Even other countries! Check out their programs: https://www.nps.gov/badl/learn/education/index.htm. Up next was the fossil talk where we learned about the different species in the different layers of rock which led us right to lunch at the pig dig.
Then we searched for arthropods. I don't think any of us have been so excited about bugs before!
Showing an arthropod to our specialist Amanda.
We set up camp before the rains came in.
At our first water monitoring site. It was very muddy from the above average rainfall and this group of adventurers waited at the top for the samples.
We heard thunder at the water monitoring site and booked it back to camp where we were forced to stay in our cars until a severe thunderstorm passed by.
Then is was a long rainy night in my one man tent. Thankfully I stayed (very) warm and dry, unlike some of my cohort.
Wednesday morning arrived to the campsite being soaked and a change of plans-we headed for Wall and the National Grasslands Visitor Center.
Being a resident of South Dakota, I don't have any photos from that portion. Leaving camp for our explorations we waited on this fella that frequented camp during our stay.
We completed training for the National Geographic Educator Certification and learned about the framework to base our lessons off of. We also learned the next steps into completing the certification. Then we read the stories of the Oceti Sakowin, the native people that inhabit this area of South Dakota.
During the reading, a surreal moment happened. We were visited by a bison who came extremely close. Some of us were more adventurous (or maybe crazy?) than others.
The last day our numbers were fewer for the final hike to the swollen creek. You can see just how much water had passed through this week from the flattened grass.
Each time we headed to or from our sampling site our path changed as well.
We found a fantastic spot with numerous prairie wildflowers that we identified. When we got back to camp, we collected our last bit of water sampling data, then headed our separate ways, excited to incorporate this field experience into our own classrooms. We made connections to other educators and will continue to share ideas with each other as we look towards a global awareness mindset.
Photo credits go to Anne Lewis and Denise Arbach.
Created By
Kaitlyn Pauley

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