South Dakota Grassland Coalition

By Mary A. Scott 

The 2018 Rosebud Area Youth and Adult Range Workshops were held on Tuesday, July 31st in a pasture near Rosebud, SD.  Attendees in the Adult Workshop started out the morning with the Tabletop Rainfall Simulator showing runoff and infiltration from different samples of local native range plant communitiesThe continuous season long grazed sample had more runoff and less infiltration than the sample with a rest rotation management.  The participants were able to see firsthand the importance of the 5 key soil health principals that result in higher water infiltration rates which means more water stored in the soil, less runoff, and more biomass above ground. They walked through the pasture to learn more about plant identification along with medicinal and cultural uses.  Discussion included how to calculate AUM’s (Animal Unit Month) and stocking rates, measure forage production and monitor pasture usage during the grazing season to avoid overuse of the rangelands.  The grazing stick was demonstrated as a tool to help determine forage production and carrying capacity.  Instructors also stressed the need for developing a drought plan so one is ready when the actual drought occurs.  The participants in attendance were from Todd and Mellette Counties, including local owners and operators of land along with school teachers and Rosebud Sioux Tribe and BIA staff. 

Participating youth from the Mission Boys & Girls Club and local 4-H Clubs started off the afternoon learning the differences between a forb, grass and shrub as well as the medicinal and cultural uses for each of the given species.  Chokecherries, Indian Breadroot or “timpsila” and jerky made from venison and chokecherries were available for the youth to try; however, the samples of dandelion, chokecherry and rose hip jellies on traditional frybread was the most popular.  It was a very educational opportunity for these youth to learn more about the importance of the plants to the Lakota people and culture.  The workshop provided an excellent learning environment for children to physically be on the land learning about the diversity of plants that make up the prairie.

Many of the attendees were appreciative of the opportunity to learn more about the rangeland, including soil health and plants.  “I’m so glad I came as it was very interesting, and I learned so much!”, commented Bonnie Krogman. 

These workshops were coordinated through a partnership of the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and SDSU Extension.  NRCS staff included Mary Scott, Tribal Liaison and Cody Kartak, Soil Conservationist along with SDSU Extension staff Ron Frederick, 4-H Youth Program Advisor; Sean Kelly, Range Management Field Specialist; Jimmy Doyle, Natural Resources Extension Field Specialist; Rachel Lindvall, Community Development Field Specialist; and volunteer, Deanna Eagle Feather.  A special thanks to the Rosebud Tribal Ranch for use of the land, Midwest Fertilizer and Seed of Kilgore, NE for sponsoring the lunch and the South Dakota Grassland Coalition for providing workshop materials.

Kinship with the land is an important aspect of Lakota Culture, the organizers of the workshop hope to continue this annual educational opportunity for many years to come.

Photo 1 – 2018 Range Workshop crew that coordinated and shared their knowledge (l-r):  Rachel Lindvall, Deanna Eagle Feather, Cody Kartak, Sean Kelly, Jimmy Doyle, Mark Lindvall, Mary Scott and Ron Fredericks.


Photo 2 – Sean Kelly, SDSU Extension Service, giving plant identification illustration to the youth.

Photo 3 – Youth participants testing the dandelion, chokecherry and rose hip jellies on traditional frybread was very popular.

Description: SDSU-ExtLogo_signature_test

Alexander “Sandy” Smart, Ph.D.
Rangeland Management Extension Specialist / Professor
Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) Coordinator for South Dakota
Undergraduate Range Science Program Leader
Department of Natural Resource Management
South Dakota State University
1097 North Campus Drive
Brookings, SD 57007
office phone 605-688-4017

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