NPS 100th

National Park Service 100th Anniversary

We are blessed in Western South Dakota with the presence of so many National Park Service treasures, and this project celebrates our National Parks’ 100th Anniversary.

During the 2015-2016 school year, students from the Custer School District and Rockyford School visited and learned about our nation’s National Park Service sites. Students from Custer’s 4th and 5th grades visited Jewel Cave National Monument, Mt. Rushmore National Memorial, Badlands National Park and Wind Cave National Park. Custer’s 8th grade students traveled to the Minuteman Missile National Historic Site. Joining Custer’s 4th graders, 4th grade students from Rockyford School on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation toured Badlands National Park and Wind Cave National Park with Custer’s students, lands that are sacred to the Lakota People.

The students worked with songwriters to write songs about “what is in the heart” of the National Park Service sites, wrote narratives about what they learned, took photographs of their visit, worked on art projects related to their sites, and hosted celebrations at the Custer and Rockyford Schools during National Park Service week where the songs, narratives and fruits of their learning were shared with their communities. Students were introduced to the 100 year history of the National Park Service, and worked with facilitators to imagine what the future of our National Park Service might hold for them. The project was sponsored by the Custer Area Arts Council.

Project Partners:

This project has been a collaborative effort between the National Park Service sites in South Dakota, the Custer and Rockyford Schools, songwriters in our region, the Custer Area Arts Council, and several organizations and individuals. A special thank you to:

Our treasured South Dakota National Park Service Sites and their staffs for their cooperation and support:
The Badlands National Park
Wind Cave National Park
Jewel Cave National Monument
Mount Rushmore National Memorial
The Minuteman Missile National Historic Site

A wonderful group of teachers, principals and staff from Custer and Oglala Lakota County School Districts who understand the importance of bringing the community into their schools, and taking their kids into the community:
Mrs. Trandem, Mr. Trandem, Mrs. Blacksmith, Mrs. White, Mrs. Ferguson, Mr. Parsons, Mrs. Hartman, Mr. Arseneault, Mrs. Diedtrich, Mr. Swedlund, Mrs. Hiltunen, Mr. Barrios, Mrs. White, Mrs. Whirlwind Horse, Cindy Heyne, and Jody Tennyson

Our Songwriters:
Marianne Fridell, Mike Linderman, Keith Burden, David Lee Brown, Cory Tomovick and Sequoia Crosswhite.

Our Donors, who made it all possible:
National Park Foundation
Badlands Natural History Association
Museum of the American Bison
Friends of the Badlands
Black Hills Parks & Forests Association
Mount Rushmore History Association
Eastern National
Oswald Family Foundation
Pacer Corporation

Masters of Ceremonies: Blaine Kortemeyer and Barb White

Mr. Arsenault and the Video Custer High School Production Class students

Our sponsor: The Custer Area Arts Council

The Project Coordinators: Judy Baldwin, Linda Fennell, Hank Fridell

And the students of Custer and Rockyford for being great kids!

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