A Journey Through Time: The Land and People of South Dakota’s Black Hills and Badlands

  • Note: This alumni adventure is cancelled.

  • October 2020

As of July 1, 2020, the South Dakota trip is cancelled.

Questions about this trip?

This trip is planned by Carleton Alumni Relations staff. Contact Alumni Relations at alumni-office@carleton.edu or 1-800-729-2586 with any questions (the phone and email at the top of this page will direct you to our international tour provider, Eos Study Tours).


Explore the Black Hills and Badlands with Mary Savina ’72, Carleton’s Charles L. Denison Professor of Geology and Co-Director of Archaeology. This will be the second Carleton Alumni Adventure to this exciting area, where geological, human, and ecological histories are richly intertwined.

Itinerary

Our adventure will begin at 4:30 p.m. Thursday afternoon in Rapid City, SD with a visit to the Journey Museum and its overview of the geological events that shaped the Black Hills. We’ll also visit the museum’s prehistoric and historic collections to explore the human story of the Western Great Plains—from the perspective of the Lakota people and the Euro-American pioneers who shaped its past to the scientists who now study it.

This introduction will inform our explorations for the remainder of the adventure. Highlights will include:

  • Badlands National Park – “The Oglala Sioux called the forbidding maze of buttes and spires mako sica, land bad. Early French-Canadian trappers also gave the jagged and barren landscape a bad name—les mauvaises terres à traverser, ‘bad lands to cross.’  . . . Wind, water, and time have sculpted a natural masterpiece on the American prairie, and the haunting Badlands inspire a unique awe in hearts not easily impressed. ‘I've been about the world a lot and pretty much over our own country,’ wrote architect Frank Lloyd Wright in 1935, ‘but I was totally unprepared for that revelation called the Dakota Bad Lands... What I saw gave me an indescribable sense of mysterious otherwhere.’ Scott Elder, “Online Extra: Road Trip to the Moon: Badlands National Park”, National Geographic Magazine (April 2004).
  • Thunder Valley Community Development Center – Thunder Valley CDC is located on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota. Their mission is to collaborate with and empower Lakota youth and families to improve the community’s quality of life while honoring the Lakota culture and heritage. We will tour Thunder Valley's 34-acre development and meet with Peter Hill ’00, Director of Interpretation and Engagement of the Lakota Language Initiative.
  • Cheyenne River Bison Ranch – We will stop by for a special visit with Carleton’s friends Dan O’Brien and Jill Maguire, for a close and personal view of their bison herd. Dan, an award-winning author of fiction and nonfiction, will read from his book Buffalo for the Broken Heart: Restoring Life to a Black Hills Ranch (2001) and from The Great Plains: America’s Lingering Wild (2009). He will also lead a discussion of prairie ecology and the challenges facing the Great Plains. Jill, a former restaurant owner, the ranch’s manager, and the culinary consultant for Wild Idea Buffalo Company, will treat us to a barbecue, featuring bison (of course!) as well as other delicious foods.
  • Custer State Park – We will travel through this 71,000-acre park to watch for bison, pronghorn (aka antelope) and bighorn sheep, mule and whitetail deer, burros, coyotes, wild turkeys, elk, mountain goats, and perhaps golden eagles.
  • The Mammoth Site – We will see the fossil bones of Columbian and woolly mammoths in the ground where they were discovered—in a now-dry sinkhole. We’ll also view a state-of-the-art paleontology lab and Ice Age exhibits, including a walk-in mammoth bone hut.
  • Mount Rushmore National Memorial – We will discover why the four presidents were selected, see how the mountain was carved, learn about sculptor Gutzon Borglum and the workers who brought Mount Rushmore to life, and walk the half-mile Presidential Trail that loops along the base of the mountain.

Faculty

Mary Savina ’72 is the Charles L. Denison Professor of Geology and Co-Director of Archaeology. She teaches geomorphology, geology of soils, hydrology, and environmental geology and is active in the Archaeology and Environmental Studies programs. Her professional work centers on geological education and on the archaeology of Greece.

Dan O’Brien has taught creative nonfiction and practical conservation courses at Carleton and was Carleton’s Benedict Distinguished Visiting Professor of Environmental and Technology Studies in 2009. In addition to being an award-winning fiction and non-fiction author, Dan has been a wildlife biologist and rancher for more than 30 years and is one of the most celebrated falconers in America. Dan's experience on the Broken Heart, his first bison ranch, demonstrated that grazing bison rather than cattle improved the land and provided an economically feasible model for local ranchers.

Accommodations:

Hotel Alex Johnson (located in downtown Rapid City).

Pricing

$800.00 per person double occupancy. Single supplement is $250.00.

Price includes
Insight and expertise of Professors Savina and O’Brien
Hotel accommodations for 3 nights and all meals from Thursday dinner through Sunday breakfast
Motorcoach transportation
Admissions to sites
Sales tax

Price does not include
Transportation to/from Rapid City
Gratuities (e.g. hotel staff, motorcoach drivers, and shuttle drivers)
Alcoholic beverages
Personal expenses

Refund Policy

If you need to cancel your attendance, please let us know as soon as possible. As with all our trips, refunds will only be granted if we are able to fill your spot on the trip.


Questions about this trip?

This trip is planned by Carleton Alumni Relations staff. Contact Alumni Relations at alumni-office@carleton.edu or 1-800-729-2586 with any questions (the phone and email at the top of this adventures page will direct you to our international tour provider, Eos Study Tours).