Friday, June 4, 2010

The End....Having an Evening of Fun!!!

We sat around the fire after an excellent meal.  Cobbler filled our tummies and the fun began.  The students wanted "Native American" names to commemorate the experience so they appropriately named each other.  The name given to our "tribe" was "Bringers of the Rain".  To make the dark night even more fun...we wore and played with light stick bracelets.  We even shared our cobbler with our neighboring "tribe" from Minnesota. :) 

Enjoy the pics below!!!

Day 5: Castle Trail, Chillaxing and more rain...

WOOOHOOO...a day of hiking and relaxing before we head home.  The hike was a nice 6 miler through some stunning formations.  Back at camp we relaxed and fixed an nice meal while spending time around the fire and laughing.  The students have had fun and have hopefully learned a bit about plants, geology, "weather", and Native American history.  ~Mr. Perez

Today we went on a hike at Castle Trail, it was incredibly exciting. When we got back to the campsite we decided to go swimming in the pool, it was super exciting. At dinner time, as usual, the rain started again, not so exciting. All in all, the whole trip has been the bees knees and I wish we could stay longer. I'm not so excited about the ride home, but I'll get over it. Sylvia S!

Today we hiked a long trail, called castle trail. For the most part I was in front but towards the end it was Dalton and I; we left everyone behind, way behind(on accident), so we had to wait for like 5 minutes.  Today was the first time we swam at the camps pool, it was cool. Still raining. John C.

Today was a very, very, very exciting, we went on a hike to Castle Trail, which was six miles. After we got done we came back to camp an went swimming most of us stayed at the little kids pool because that water was warmer then the "BIG" kids pool. Then as we got back to camp again we chilled and everything, then once again it started raining so me, Will, and John are staying in the vans again. Schoonover!!

Today was exciting, and the trail was even more exciting. When we returned we went swimming that was only fun but almost exciting. We came back to camp after an exciting walk, an figured out it was going to rain so we took our tent down since our tent door was broke, that was not very exciting. Newport!(EXCITING!!)

Today was a very relaxing day. We went on a six mile hike. The scenery was really beautiful. Along the hike I got to see many new plants that i had never seen before. When we got back, we went swimming. It was really nice after being out in the sun all day. All together this week has been very very exciting. It was filled with beautiful scenery, history, and exciting adventures. I'm very sad that we have to leave tomorrow. Alesha

This trip has been very exciting, i am glad the I got to see so much and learn a lot.  The six mile hike was great there was so much to see it was incredible, although i am having fun here i miss home a little bit.  After our hike we all went swimming and worked on evening out our sunburns from the hike. I will miss it here-Emilee!

I was really excited to go on our hike today.  Near the end of the hike ((which was 6 mi!) really exciting!) I could see the van and was about to cross the rock mounds to get to it, but then I saw the trail markers that told me I wasn't finished yet, so I had to go around the rock mounds, exciting.  Sunburns will fade sooner or later, but I would much rather the pain fade sooner than later.  Going home will not be exciting, I'm going to miss this exciting place.  ~Megan

Our last full day in the Badlands! We began the day with a warming breakfast of oatmeal and dried fruit, got packed and loaded up the vans for the trip to the Castle Trail.  We walked through a variety of landscapes, really almost moonscapes, the formations are so weird I could hardly believe I was in S. Dakota.   We walked over a hill and discovered a movie set and had a chance to chat with the director, a grad student from SD University working on his thesis movie.  They had quite a set up and he told us of the plot line ( a woman dragging her deceased husband through the Badlands to honor his last wish).  That was a cool addition to the odd scenery.   One of my favorite parts of the six-mile hike was what I would call the rock field.  I love rocks and so do several other members of our group and there were just beautiful chunks of agate scattered everywhere for about a mile.   Unfortunately, we can not take any with us, as much as we were tempted.  I saw several rocks that would look great in my garden, but I am very pleased with the piece of granite flecked with feldspar that I got at the Crazy Horse monument.  There was a huge pile of rocks and anyone could take one.  Donation of one dollar requested and our vans came back to camp probably 40 pounds heavier. I have a site in mind for my rock already picked out. Anyway,  we just finished up a great supper and I am looking forward to Perez's famous dutch oven peach cobbler.   As this week began I was wondering how I would like camping with ten teenagers for a week, but I must say,  I have had a grand time, I've seen a great part of the American landscape, and I've had a chance to interact with some great kids outside of the classroom.   I wonder if Packard and Perez need a co-driver next year?  Lyn Schultze

Today we went to do a 6 mile hike and it was really nice. It rained on us a little bit around 8 pm but not much. All the seniors had to danced by the fire just for fun. All in all, it was great.  Fawna

Well the hike today reinforced my "farmers" tan, it was a great hike through the prairie and rock castles.  It has been a great week a great colleagues and great students.  Good company, great scenery and a super good time.  Thanks to allof you who helped us  make this trip possible.... as the week has gone on the kids have opened up and bonded as well as the kids with the adults and vise versa.  Badlands 2010 really ROCKED!!!!  M. Packard

This trip has been alot of fun.  We've done alot of different things and gone to several places to hike and learn about different interesting things.  We hiked 6 miles, climbed steep rock formations, and danced around the fire with glow sticks. I've had so much fun this week and hope i can come back again sometime.  It rained some but also got really hot and now i have two great tan lines. This week was awesome!!!!  Two Tone (Amy G.)

Today was so much fun. We hiked 6 miles then went swimming, saved food from the rain and danced around the fire with glow sticks! The hike was exhausting..I also got burnt. Over all though it was so amazing. Tribal paint and dancing was awesome! Ashley.F.

Day 4: SDSM Geology Museum / Crazy Horse Memorial / Mt. Rushmore

The geology museum was a great visit.  There are many fossils, rocks and minerals from around the world.  We stopped at a park to make a lunch and it RAINED and HAILED....just our luck!  We worked through it and headed over to Crazy Horse.  That is a neat and very educational place to visit.  From there we went to Mt. Rushmore.  The museum is a nice tribute to how it was made and what it symbolizes.  The night lighting program is a great opportunity to learn additional history of our country and is a very patriotic experience. ~Mr. Perez


The Geology museum was really cool, there were so many fossils.  There were some from every time period. Seeing how things evolved was exciting.  The rocks were really cool too, some even glowed in the dark! There were some precious gems and even a little gold.  Mt. Rushmore was not as big as i thought it was but it was still really cool.  Crazy horse was awesome there were so many artifacts and that monument will be huge.-Emilee

We had gone to geology museum, there was a lot of stuff there. Lots of buffalo horns dating back to god knows when, a few marine fossils and a T-Rex head.Then we went to a park to eat lunch, and while in the middle of that it started hailing on us. After that we went to the Crazy Horse memorial site, it was huge. It is going to be stunning when it is completed. Finally, the coup de gras, Mt. Rushmore. That place was amazing, it was very beautiful when it was lit up at night.- John C.

The geology is always interesting, i saw things I didn't notice last year.  When you walk it there are several synamic hanging sea creature fossils that put you in mind of the Loch Ness Monster.  There were several huge pieces of beautiful petrified/mineralized students said that it looked like stained glass. I loved looking  at it ... i could study it for hours  to notice all of its beautiful colors.  Mt Rushmore and Crazy Horse were awesome and I can say that I am tired of the rain , but my field and stream rain coat is working well.   M. Packard

The geological museum was pretty interesting.  I enjoyed the dinosaur fossils more so than the rock fossils but either way I was glad we had stopped.  For lunch we stopped by a area park and wouldn't you know as soon as we started cooking it started raining, but it didn't just rain it also hailed on us! At least we are making some unforgettable memories ha! Crazy Horse was amazing, there was the monument, Native American museum, and they had Native American dancers.  It truly was a learning experience.  We traveled on to Mount Rushmore and that site was breathtaking! We stayed for the lighting experience and I have to say I am glad we did because it gave me goosebumps! It was a good day overall, despite the rain.     Keating

Yesterday was AMAZING! I loved going to the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology's geology museum. They had tons of interesting fossils, minerals, and rocks! Whoever thinks rocks can't be awesome hasn't been here before! Crazy Horse made up for the anxiety of lunch. The shear size was truly amazing. After this we went to Mount Rushmore, which was also amazing but compared to what Crazy Horse will some day be is tiny! Sylvia S!

It was awesome. We went to the Crazy Horse Memorial and saw a lot of Native American clothing, tools that were used to make the monument, jewelry and a lot more. We went to the Geological Museum which had a lot of rocks, minerals and fossils. It was really interesting to see how old each fossil was and to see what type of rocks and minerals they found. Near the end of the day, we went to Mount Rushmore and saw the monument of the four presidents. What was also awesome was when we were about to make lunch, it started to rain on us again.  Fawna

We drove through some amazing country yesterday and visiting both Crazy Horse and Mt. Rushmore were highlights of the day.  Ou've probably heard of our cooking woes in Canyon Creek Park in Rapid City.  Yes,  as soon as we start to cook the rains begin.   But everyone is so agreeable and takes setbacks like this in stride.  I was really impressed last night at the ceremony for soldiers and veterans at Mt, Rushmore.   A thousand people were perfectly quiet while a troop of Girl Scouts from Montana retreated the flag while all the veterans in the audience were arrayed across the stage.  It was patriotic and moving.  What an American place it is.  What a great experience for these students from PHS.  Lyn Schultze

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Day 3: Pine Ridge Indian Reservation & Wall Drug, SD

We visited the Lakota Indian Reservation today....good experience for the group.  After breakfast of pancakes and bacon...yum...we stopped at the Oglala Lakota College and learned a little bit about about their history.  From there we headed up to Wall to visit the historic Wall Drug for a good time and some souvenir shopping.   A nice treat for us was to see free range Bison in the Badlands. 

We weathered a pretty intense storm in the evening.  Right as we were getting ready to eat dinner we were hit pretty hard for about an hour.  Most everything stayed dry, a few tent were damp but we have plenty of smiles and laughs to keep things going. ~Mr. Perez

Today we went to the Oglala Lakota College and also toured the book store. We also went to Indian reservation an visited the visitor center which i must say the video we watched was very depressing. After that we had lunch with the buffalo which was very interesting, after that we visited the Wall Drug stores, it was something new to me since we do not have something like that back in Pittsburg. When we returned back to camp it started to rain an our tent zipper had broke that day so while it is raining we were trying to fix our tent and as we were fixing the door are tent roof caved in because of the rain and we ended up stayin in the vans for the night.

Perez is very cool if i must say. This trip has been a blast, everyone gets along an we all joke around constantly. At the Wall Drug store i bought some blood pills to play a prank on the group but it started raining so that kind of put a damper on the prank. Tomorrow i will play the prank during the camp fire though.

We went to see the Oglala Indian collage today and learned lots, on a much more depressing note we went to the visitors center and had to watch an extremely long movie about how indians often suffer from alcoholism because of what the government did to them. Then, we went to Wall Drug, which is a bunch of stores all linked together, very cool. Then a little later our tent roof caved in due to heavy rains and me and Will had to fix it.

I took some pictures of some bison, I feel like I might have come too close to them because every time I looked at them they were staring me down.  The bison seemed peaceful though, they probably wouldn't have charged me, but I still felt their eyes.  Our troop also traveled to Wall Drug which is in Wall, SD.  In the original Wall Drug there are about ten stores and outside of them there are benches with fiber glass people which I just had to take pictures with.  ~Megan

I was appalled and inspired at the Indian Reservation. We went to Oglala College and some of the Indian history of this area was explained. The poverty and hardship that many of the Indians have suffered and are suffering is incredible but through all of this hardship they still have such a rich and beautiful lifestyle, history, and spirituality. We also visited a campsite that was full of bison and prairie dogs. Seeing these animals in their natural habitat so peaceful and undisturbed was amazing!  ~ Sylvia S!

I think it was really interesting at the Oglala Lakota College because we learned about the history of the Lakota tribe. We learned that they were living in such a poor and harsh life and that they try everything just to survive it. We went to a campsite that had a lot of buffalo and prairie dogs and it was really nice and also very interesting. After lunch, we went to the Wall Drug, which was a whole block of stores that were connected to each other and it looked like a western style town, and went shopping. After we got back to camp, it stormed on us while we were about to have dinner.  Fawna

S=singing in the car
O=Oglala Lakota
U=ultimate quiet game

D=da best
A=a great experience
O=Ohh my gosh! Is that a snake?
T=tribal museums and colleges
A=angular landscape

Gabrielle Murnan

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Day 2: Hiking the Badlands / Finding Fossils

We took the day to hike around the Badlands.  We started out at the visitor center where the students participated in a Junior Ranger program.  Each of them "earned" their Junior Ranger badge!  From there we decided to spend the rest of the day hiking.  We stopped several places and explored the formations and looked for fossils.  After lunch we hiked in the Deer Haven area where there aren't established trails.  The hike was to enjoy the formations but to also look for fossils.  We found numerous fossil fragments, a couple of fossilized tortoise shells and the fossilized jaw of an animal. (see pics above).  The day was long, the weather was great and had a lot of fun!  ~Mr. Perez

Walking around the badlands was pretty cool, down around Deer Haven we would be walking and then someone would shout that they found a fossil, so everyone crowded around to get a good look.  It seemed the farther we walked the more pieces we found. Near the end there was a fragmented turtle shell!-Emilee

We went and looked at the scenery and the landscape. We also went climbing up this very steep and narrow mountain..i felt like i was going to die, it was so scary and hard at some parts. Saw some prairydogs and mule deer. We walked around a lot and saw some fossils and i found a thrown up tapeworm from an animal :) fun. The walking was fun but exhausting at the same time. It got pretty hot but then cooled down fast. The flowers out here are very pretty. The animals thought has to be my favorite part of this trip.  -Ashley.F.

We went on a long hike and looked at a lot of different flowers, plants, saw some different kinds of animals, and found several old turtle shells and other bones.  It was a lot of fun getting to see how big some of the turtle shells were.  It was pretty cold out but got a lot warmer so i burned pretty bad but its worth it. Also Ashley found a tape worm and that was pretty cool. - Amy G.

We were on a long hike and we found some interesting things, we found: fossils, non-fossilized bones, and alien plants that don't belong. We found lots of little jaw bones and lots of really thick chunks of bone, it was all quite interesting. I got one of those little stamp things that you attach to your walking stick that shows which national parks you've been to so that was cool. - John C.

We had a lot of things going on. We went to go looking at cliffs, climbed a little and also went on a hike. We even became junior rangers at the Badlands. On our hike we found a lot of small fossils but a few big ones as well, like a full skull of some kind of small deer and a small piece of a skull, that was the size of a fist, that we couldn't tell where it was from. It rained on us a little by the time we got back, but anyway, the whole day was great.  Fawna

Today we went on a couple of hikes in the Badlands, and I cannot even begin to tell you how breathtaking the views were.  Climbing up the rocks to a higher peak and seeing the vast amount of space they take up is just amazing! Also while we were hiking we were looking for fossils and most of our group were successful.  I on the other hand, mostly just took in the view.      Keating

DAY 1: On the road and ASHFALL FOSSIL BEDS

5:00 AM was early!!  We hit the road and traveled to Ashfall Fossil Beds in Orchard, NE.  The trip to that point was about 525 miles.  We toured the site and then headed off to the Badlands.......we got here at 9:00 PM (mountain time) and had to set up in the dark...but we did it!  Guess what....everyone...most everyone slept well.  ~Mr. Perez

Do you want the good or the bad?  Well I'll tell you the bad first, I'm saving the best for last.  The bad would have to be pitching my tent in the dark, I'd never pitched a tent that was an experience.  The good would be the quietness and the chirping crickets.  Usually my thoughts race before I go to sleep, but I layed down and was stunned...I heard not a peep out of my companions, and the only thing I could focus on was the crickets.  ~Megan

Well, it is my first trip to the Badlands; in fact, I had never even been to Nebraska before.  Yesterday we drove 850+ miles.  Wow, what a long day.  People who say Kansas is flat have never seen Nebraska and South Dakota!  It is beautiful and wide open and BIG, but towns are few and far between.  The excruciatingly long drive is the a chore to get through but Packard and Perez are experts when it comes to organizing people and getting a camp with 8 tents set up in the dark.   It is great being here with the "science nerds" (P & P) who know so much and are so curious about nature, from the lowliest insect to an interesting rock to birds and flowers.   Lyn Schultze 

The drive this year was better with the 2 extra drivers but still long and exhausting. We have more people along this year that in the past two years...eleven students and 4 adults.  At the fossil beds in Ash Falls, we saw a new camel fossil that had been unveiled since last summer and set off from the original 18 rhino, and horse skeletons.  We saw alot of deer on the drive from O'Neill Nebraska to Interior SD.  After a late dinner over the fire, it was a good night sleep and a pretty early morning to really set up camp and make breakfast.  M Packard

I have been looking forward to this trip since last year when they returned.  The drive up here really was not too bad, probably because we had 2 drivers.  I don't mind driving because as we were crossing states there is just so much scenery to take in.  I cannot wait for what tomorrow brings    Keating

Well the drive here was very very long but it was well worth it. The scenery on the way here was amazing. It's a lot different then kansas. I'm excited to see how the week unfolds and see the beautiful badlands up close.  Alesha

It took us a long time to get from Pittsburg, KS to Badlands, SD because we had to stop for gas every time and someone got sick a few times. We had perfect weather on our way up there and we were cramped in the vans. I hope we will have perfect weather tomorrow.    Fawna 

I was superdy duper astounded at the dramatic change in the scenery. For the majority of the way to South Dakota the scenery remained the same but during the last half hour to our campsite ( as the sun was beautiful!) the landscape blew my mind! So far it's been nice and cool and hopefully it stays that way.      Sylvia S!

The drive was agonizing. It took forever it seemed like. I was so tired but couldnt sleep. Me and Amy were like the only kids awake the whole time in our van. The ride was enteresting in some parts..but i just wish it was daylight when we got to the camp. It is so much fun and i can't wait for more adventures!   Ashley.F.

The drive was kinda long and it took forever to get here but its so much fun.  We had great brownies and cookies to eat on the way here and stopped in ashfalls.  That was fun too we got to see lots of skeletons there and learned about ashfalls. I'm having a lot of fun and can't wait til tomarrow.  Amy G.

The drive was really long but it was fun!  One minute everyone was awake and laughing, then the next everyone was asleep.  The stop in Ashfalls was great, hearing about the history and seeing the fossils was awsome. I knew i wanted to do something with history and uncovering the past, but now i definitely know what i what to do, Archaeology.-Emilee

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Almost Time!!

Wow! School is out, summer is on and we are roaring and ready to go!  I thought I would put a couple of links of the places we will visit while on the Badlands 2010 trip.  Visit each link and read about the places before we visit them.

Ashfall Fossil Beds
Badlands National Park
Minuteman Missile Site
Pineridge Indian Reservation (Oglala Lakota College)
Wall Drug
Mt. Rushmore
Crazy Horse Memorial
South Dakota School of Mines Geology Museum
Corn Palace

Saturday, May 15, 2010

T-minus 16 days!

The Pittsburg High School Science Club has worked really hard to make this trip happen!  We have met, made decisions and have a good idea of when, where and how this is going to happen. 

To get to where we are at, we needed to participate in fundraisers and even accepted some very gracious donations.  At this point we haven't properly or formally thanked our supporters but that will come during and after the trip.  WE ARE VERY APPRECIATIVE AND THANKFUL FOR ALL THE SUPPORT!

The adult sponsors that are giving a week of their time for this trip are Mary Packard, Lyn Schultze, Bridgett Keating and myself (Stuart Perez).  We do this because we like it!....and it's really cool to see all these places.

When the trip begins, check back every evening and see the daily student comments and pics.

We depart on Monday May 31st.