Photo by JT Thomas

Colorado writer Craig Childs travels to some of the world’s most desolate and challenging places and reflects on the millions of years of change on Earth. In his latest book, Apocalyptic Planet: Field Guide to the Everending Earth, Childs goes from the driest deserts of Chile to the drowned land bridge of the Bering Sea to understand what could be next.

South Dakota Missouri River Tourism

According to a recent survey sponsored by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Forest Service, birding ranks as the 15th most popular outdoor recreational activity in the country. And the interest in birding is expected to grow over the next 50 years. Spring is perhaps the most exciting time for birders as they welcome the return of their feathered friends after a long winter.

NPS Asks Public To "Find Your Park"

Apr 20, 2015
Courtesy Badlands National Park

The National Park Service is asking members of the public to participate in a nationwide educational program called “Find Your Park”. As SDPB’s Jim Kent reports, the goal is for visitors to find and their favorite park and then share their stories on-line at the FindYourPark.com site.

Four years ago researchers in Antarctica completed drilling a nearly 11,000 foot column of ice. It's the second deepest ice core ever drilled and the longest ever done by U.S. scientists. Some of the ice is up to 100,000 years old. Researchers have been studying the gas bubbles trapped in the ancient polar ice to get answers to key questions about past climate changes.

Innovation: Research On Oilseeds As New Cash Crop

Apr 10, 2015
South Dakota State University

SDSU Research Professor Dr. William Gibbons  says oil seeds are a new major crop that can be grown in South Dakota.  The seeds can be pressed and used as biofuel in diesel engines and even in jet airplanes.  Current research shows the crop can work well in rotation with wheat and can benefit the environment.

Gibbons specializes in industrial microbiology at South Dakota State University.  He also serves as the Director of the South Dakota Oilseed Initiative.  The group of scientists study the possible use of oil seeds as a fuel source and possible crop for this region.

Northern Long Eared Threatened Listing

Apr 6, 2015
Dr. Kristen Page / Biology Dept, Wheaton College

The Northern Long Eared Bat is now listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act. 

The US Fish and Wildlife Service is hoping to protect the bats from further harm from White Nose Syndrome—it’s a fungus that has decimated the population in some states.

SDSU Extension

A new $5 million drainage water management research project is exploring the economic and environmental benefits, as well as costs, of on-farm water storage. The project is investigating practices that can reduce crop losses from increasing drought and can improve water quality from drained farmland.

SDSU Extension Water Management Engineer Chris Hay is among researchers from seven other Land Grant universities participating in the project funded by the USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture. Chris Hay joined Dakota Midday and discussed the water research project.

John O'Neill

With temperatures in the 70s early this week and tulips popping up, it's starting to feel like spring throughout South Dakota.

Norm Evers of Norm's Greenhouse and Nursery joined Dakota Midday and answered listener questions about watering trees, caring for fig trees, planting cherry trees and repairing brown patches in lawns.

Jon Stahl

As the self-described “world’s first stand-up economist,” Yoram Bauman has made a career out of economics humor,  performing his act in comedy clubs, professional conferences and colleges. He's also the co-author of three cartoon textbooks: The Cartoon Introduction to Microeconomics, The Cartoon Introduction to Macroeconomics and The Cartoon Introduction to Climate Change.

SDSU Extension

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Climate Prediction Center has released its seasonal drought outlook. For April through June, forecasters expect drier than average conditions for the eastern edge of South Dakota. The latest weekly U.S. drought monitor map released on Thursday shows 82 percent of the state as either abnormally dry or in moderate drought conditions.

Photo by Jay Adkins

Kristen Iversen’s book, Full Body Burden: Growing Up in the Nuclear Shadow of Rocky Flats, is part memoir and part investigation. She grew up in the 1960s and 70s near the Rocky Flats nuclear weapons factory. Her father was a lawyer and her mother a housewife. She and her brother and two sisters had dogs and horses and played outdoors in what seemed like an idyllic landscape. 

Vandana Shiva is an internationally-known advocate for sustainable agriculture. She argues that biodiversity produces more nutrition and health per acre, thus addressing hunger, malnutrition, and poverty on a global scale.

The Delhi-based activist challenges the safety of genetically modified seeds, claiming they also harm the environment, are more costly and leave local farmers deep in debt as well as dependent on suppliers. She's the author of more than 20 books, including Making Peace with the Earth.

Temperatures are expected to reach into the 60s over most of South Dakota today. Wednesday could see highs creeping into the 70s in some spots. Current weather conditions have led to a very high fire danger in the Black Hills area. A Fire Weather Watch has been issued for Wednesday for areas south of I-90 and west of the Missouri River. South Dakota fire meteorologist Darren Clabo joined Dakota Midday and discussed the current fire danger across the state and what March conditions could mean for the summer fire season.


During tough winters, hungry deer often eat hay and other stored livestock feed. South Dakota State University researchers are currently exploring fall cover crops that will attract deer and provide nutrient-rich winter forage. Preliminary results show that turnips and radishes are the top two choices followed by peas.

The research project is in its final year and focuses on eastern South Dakota. It’s funded by a three-year grant from the Federal Aid to Wildlife Restoration, administered by the South Dakota Department of Game, Fish and Parks.

Secret Science Act Irks Some Scientists

Dec 1, 2014

Congress is considering two bills that deal with how the EPA uses science to base its policy decisions.   Those backing the bills say it addresses an increase transparency and accountability over the agency that has overstepped its bounds.

But critics call the bills a thinly veiled attempt to change the science the EPA uses to base its decisions.  They say the legislation undermines scientific integrity and opens the door for polluters to stop or slow the regulation process.

A Call To Shut Down The EPA In The US Senate Race

Oct 27, 2014
Amy Varland

For U.S. Senate candidate and former Governor Mike Rounds the EPA has gone too far.  

Rounds and many others say the Environmental Protection Agency is an example of oversized federal government abusing its power and meddling too much in the livelihoods of people in South Dakota.
Rounds has spoken publically about eliminating the EPA, often to the cheers of those gathered in the crowd.
SDPB’s Charles Michael Ray asks what it would really mean if the EPA went away in South Dakota.

Dick Fort is an environmental activist who has been called the caretaker of Spearfish Canyon. He’s also a painter, sculptor composer, teacher, cross-country skier, fly fisherman, World War Two code breaker and winemaker. He was born in Mitchell in 1922 and was a professor of humanities at Chicago City college for 28 years. He is well known for his efforts to protect the beauty of the Black Hills as the founder of ACTion for the Environment.

Kealey Bultena SDPB

David O’Hara grew up in the Catskill Mountains of New York, home to some of the most famous trout fishing streams in the world. Today he’s a philosophy professor at Augustana College in Sioux Falls, but when he gets the chance, he goes back to fish the familiar streams of his youth.

Badlands Tribal Youth Interns Start Blog

Jul 29, 2014
Courtesy Badlands National Park

Members of Badlands National Park’s Tribal Youth Intern Program now have their own way to communicate with the public. The “Summer Intern Adventures” blog on the Badlands website allows the Native American high school students to share their thoughts about what they experience in the park on a daily basis.

“Reflections on Fossils”, “Environmental Stewardship” and comments from an “Aspiring Paleontologist” are just a few of the topics discussed on the “Summer Intern Adventures” blog.

Courtesy Badlands National Park

A series of public meetings scheduled to discuss bison management on the South Unit of Badlands National Park that were canceled by the park superintendent are not completely off the agenda.

Eric Brunnemann called off the meetings after getting feedback from Bureau of Indian Affairs and Oglala Sioux tribal officials that tribal members were confusing the topic of bison management with the topic of national park designation.

Managing Bison In The Badlands South Unit

May 16, 2014
Courtesy Badlands National Park

Transfer of Badlands National Park’s South Unit management to the Oglala Sioux Tribe has been an ongoing process since 2006. Plans for a series of public meetings on bison management in that area, and the sudden cancelation of those meetings, has raised red flags among tribal members as well as the South Dakota Stockgrowers Association. Their joint concerns center on the intentions of the National Park Service and the Oglala Sioux tribe toward landowners and those who lease land near the South Unit.

Wind Cave Prescribed Burn Postponed

May 8, 2014
Courtesy Wind Cave National Park

The nearly 22-hundred acre prescribed burn planned for this spring in the southwestern corner of Wind Cave National Park has been postponed.

Park spokesperson Tom Farrell says the window of opportunity for proper burn conditions was lost.

Courtesy Badlands National Park

A series of meetings scheduled to discuss bison management on the South Unit of Badlands National Park were recently cancelled without prior notice to the public. The sudden decision by the National Park Service to move from public discussions of the topic to written and electronic comments has caused concern among Native and non-Native ranchers alike. 

You don’t have to wait until college to learn about sustainability. An 8-year-old Sioux Falls girl is starting the green movement early by selling tomato plants in milk cartons.

Courtesy Wind Cave National Park

Wind Cave National Park personnel are planning to conduct a prescribed burn this Sunday.

The area set to be torched is substantial – but safety precautions are in place and extra firefighters have been called in to assist with keeping the flames under control.

Wind Cave National Park encompasses about 33,000 acres just north of the small Black Hills town of Hot Springs.

Assisted by 50 firefighters from as far away as Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks, Wind Cave personnel will torch 2,199 acres in what’s being designated as the Cold Brook Prescribed Fire.

Author Frances Moore Lappe Speaks At USD

Apr 22, 2014

Author Frances Moore Lappe says that Living Democracy is an enlivening culture in which the values of inclusion, fairness and mutual accountability show up in a wide range of human relationships.  She's speaking at 7:00 p.m.

Talk About Hydraulic Fracturing In Brookings

Mar 31, 2014

Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, is a method of extracting natural gas and oil out of shale rock in the ground. It's been in development for a few decades, but only recently has become technologically feasible. Fracking fueled the oil boom in North Dakota and has boosted U.S. oil output to a twenty-five year high and pushed the country closer to energy independence. But fracking has also created fears and worries over water contamination and environmental destruction.

Lakota Water Restoration Group Goes Global

Feb 26, 2014
Courtesy Mni

 A grass roots water restoration group on the Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation has been named as a Global Affiliate of Village Earth. The Colorado-based non-profit helps reconnect communities to resources around the world.

It’s been two years since Candace Ducheneaux began organizing members of the Swiftbird community to start the process of restoring water to their land.

WHS Founder Vows To Fight Uranium Mining

Feb 10, 2014
Courtesy Black Hills Wild Horse Sanctuary

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s recent report on a request to mine uranium in the Black Hills isn’t going over well with Native Americans and non-Natives alike.  The report concludes there are no environmental concerns, but possible water contamination remains an issue for many.

The NRC’s final supplemental environmental impact statement supports Powertech Corporation to mine uranium.  The report says there are quote - “no environmental impacts that would preclude licensing”.

Wild Horses Stand Together In Cold Weather

Jan 8, 2014
Courtesy Black Hills Wild Horse Sanctuary

As temperatures plunged across South Dakota, ranchers kept an eye on their cattle and pet owners were advised to keep their best friends warm. Near Hot Springs, we checked in at the Black Hills Wild Horse Sanctuary to see how the mustang herd faired in the sub-zero cold and snow that hit the area.

The Black Hills Wild Horse Sanctuary has been caring for wild mustangs for 25 years. The current herd ranges between five and six hundred horses that run across a 13,000-acre spread of privately-owned land.