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Badlands Tribal Youth Interns Start Blog

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.

Badlands National Park Education Specialist Julie Johndreau says the blog was a natural next step for interns who are being exposed to career opportunities in the National Park Service.

“With the blog we want to tell the story of what we’re doing,” explains Johndreau. “Individual stories from the interns’ perspective and from our staff mentors. We have some college age and recent college graduates working with the students and mentoring them in different fields. So the blog tells individual personalized stories of each participant and how the larger program fits into the Park Service goals.”

The Tribal Youth Intern Program started two years ago. Santana Chips is from the village of Wanblee, on the Pine Ridge Reservation. This is her first year as an intern. She plans to make her first post about receiving her National Park Service hat – a special moment for anyone hired as an employee.

Credit Courtesy Badlands National Park
Badlands National Park Tribal Youth Intern Santana Chips (center) taking part in Red Shirt Table Overlook garbage removal project.

“It’s like a graduation for the interns,” Santana explains. “The superintendent places the hat on the gonna’ be soon GS One. I was excited ‘cause my parents were there and they were excited for me…happy for me.”

It’s the hope of Julie Johndreau that the interns’ stories will inspire other students to get involved in the program and that similar programs might start in other National Park Service locations.

Link to "“Summer Intern Adventures” blog: