Tuesday, June 9, 2015

June 8 - Rapid City to Sturgis

SDARL Class VIII has made it to the Black Hills!  Monday morning we made our way here coming from all directions.  It was good to see everyone in the group! Two months have passed by since we met last, but the number of acres that have been planted and cows that have calved and worked since then makes it seem longer. 

The Outdoor Campus was our first destination.  It is a facility operated by the Wildlife Division of Game, Fish, and Parks.  The facility exists to educate the public about ecosystems and wildlife, including fish or bird identification and how to “kill it, clean it, and eat it.”  We received a tour of the facility which sits on 32 acres in Rapid City.  At the facility, an average of 14,000 adults and children take a course through the facility and almost 100,000 visit the facility a year. 

After lunch we headed to the University Center of Rapid City for a joint meeting with SDARL Alumni.  Our speaker was Bruce Vincent, a third generation logger from Libby, Montana.  Bruce shared the struggle that the logging industry went through as they battled activist groups and public perception of their industry.  Responsible logging is key to proper forest management, though the activist conservation groups and celebrities who have effectively driven the logging companies to move over seas, have painted the industry as destroyers of the forests.  Bruce shared the mistakes that the industry made when engaging with activists in the pasts, as well as the lessons they learned about how to effectively share your message with the public.  It was an excellent presentation, with a profound message. 

In the evening we held a banquet with class members, alumni, and guests.  Several from the class spoke about their experiences thus far with SDARL.
~Jared Knock, reporter

The Outdoor Campus offers activities for children of all ages to learn about wildlife and the environmental stewardship.

Eric and Amy enjoyed the tour of the 32-acre Outdoor Campus.

Wildlife habitat exhibits highlight this section of the campus.

Bruce Vincent from Libby, Montana, offered suggestions in taking a leadership role in our industry, reminding us that "the world is run by those who show up."