SOUTH DAKOTA – While thousands of bikers are making their way to the Black Hills of South Dakota for the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, nearby the Pine Ridge Reservation is enjoying a different event.
The Oglala Lakota Nation Wacipi Rodeo Fair is held in August each year in Pine Ridge, South Dakota. The event draws in thousands from local communities and all over the world. With “Service First” in mind, Badlands National Park, Wind Cave National Park, National Grasslands Visitor Center and the Black Hills National Forest worked together at a shared booth to provide youth engagement activities, employment opportunity information and information about local public lands.
Over the three-day event, hundreds of booth visitors stopped by and enjoyed the fun youth activities and learned about opportunities found on federally managed lands. The Black Hills National Forest focused on career opportunities and youth engagement, providing information on how to start a career with the USDA Forest Service and upcoming seasonal hiring opportunities. The National Grasslands Visitor Center taught visitors about the importance of the grassland ecosystem, created awareness for the nation’s 21 National Grasslands and promoted Smokey Bear’s 75th birthday with an appearance by Smokey!
The event was a positive experience that helped foster community engagement between local tribes, the USDA Forest Service and National Park Service. It also provided the opportunity for the Agency to establish identity for “who we are” and “what we do.” These types of events also give prospective employees the opportunity to play an active role in the management of a national forest or grassland.