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Sustainable Spring Break Journal 2006

This is Carleton's second annual Sustainable Spring Break trip. Our purpose is to experience firsthand some of the exciting work being done toward creating a sustainable future on the Great Plains. We will be visiting two organic farms, Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, and one buffalo ranch on our trip. Trip participants are junior Mark Luterra, French language associate Lucie Bravard, junior AJ Reiter, and freshman Jose de la Torre.

  • Crazy Horse monument

    March 23: Black Hills

    March 27, 2006

    We're not typically early risers, but today we were up at 6:30 a.m. to help Gervais feed protein blocks to the neighbor's buffalo herd. We learned about life cycles, herd interactions, and the sheer stubbornness of an animal so large that thee adults have no natural predators. We tried to move them with a pickup truck, but they simply avoided the truck and returned to their placid grass-munching.

  • March 21-22: Pine Ridge and Buffalo Gap

    March 24, 2006

    The snow finally let up today . Since all we've seen of Pine Ridge so far is the inside of Peter's cabin, we decided to hold of for one more day and try to see a bit of the reservation now that the snow has cleared enough to drive.Our first stop for the day was Wounded Knee, the site of the last major conflict between the U.S. government and the Lakota.

  • Basil's buffalos

    March 20: More Pine Ridge

    March 22, 2006

    Third day in Pine Ridge. We are stuck in the snowstorm and so far our only experience with native issues is what Peter and Mandy tell us. We are white people staying with white people talking about Lakota people. It's a weird sensation. I hope we can meet more Lakota people tomorrow if the snow finally stops.

  • March 18-19: Pine Ridge Indian Reservation

    March 22, 2006

    Despite our desire to sleep in, we roused ourselves at seven and were heading west by 8:30 a.m. We knew that a major winter storm was taking aim at western South Dakota with 8 to 15 inches of snow and strong winds, so we stopped as little as possible on our eight-hour drive. The filtered sunlight yielded to clouds at Sioux Falls, and by the time we crossed the Missouri River, dark clouds were rolling overhead.

  • March 17: Earthrise Farm

    March 22, 2006

    We arrived at Earth Rise Farm on Friday at noon. Earth Rise Farm is a 240-acre organic farm that is part of the Center for Earth Spirituality and Rural Ministry, which is in turn a ministry of the School Sisters of Notre Dame. The farm is located near Madison, Minnesota, in the western part of the state. After arriving, we unpacked our bags and moved them into the farm's yurt (a sort of Mongolian circular mobile house). We then had lunch with the farm's manager, Sisters Kathleen and Annette Fernholz sisters of the School Sisters of Notre Dame (SSND).

  • Sustainable spring break students

    March 16: Minneapolis

    March 17, 2006

    "We're having trouble fitting everything," was the first thing Mark told me as I approached the car in the snowstorm. After some creative repacking, however, we left Carleton and hit the radio as we turned onto highway 19 at 8:30.

  • Buffalo Gap horse

    March 24: Black Hills, continued

    Lucie: At 9 a.m.I'm still in bed, feeling sore muscles from our horseback riding the previous day. But soon it's time to drive to Rapid City, about 30 miles away. The road is slow, first part mud and snow, then gravel, and then we finally hit the asphalt highway. Mark, our Minnesota driver, is sitting in the passenger seat teaching our California native, AJ how to drive up the muddy driveway and the dirt road. We park in downtown Rapid City in front of Prairie Edge, an expensive, but beautiful store that sells art of the Lakota, such as buffalo skulls and robes, beadwork and quillwork, bags and pouches, jewelry, books and music (