Good Earth State Park’s efforts to preserve the planet Original

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO)– Earth Day at Good Earth State Park looks a little different this year.

Due to the pandemic, this year Good Earth is celebrating the day with a self guided hike gear toward educating hikers on the importance and ways they can preserve the planet.

Jim Henning, Park Manager at Good Earth State Park says that every year they host an event on Earth Day to try to get people from around the area to come out to the park and appreciate not only Earth Day but the state park as well.

“It’s a family-friendly hike where people can come out, hit the trails and there’s different stations where they can stop and learn with their family about different things that they can do to help be earth-conscious,” Henning said.

Some of the topics discussed throughout the hike include different area companies that are conscious about ways that people can care for the earth, topics like reduce, reuse and recycle, Henning says, as well as why it’s important to pick up litter and other things along those lines.

“We’ve been trying to adapt a lot of things because of COVID,” Henning said. “We still see a lot of people that are very interested in coming to the park and we still want people to continue to come to the park and we want to be interactive with them.”

Henning says their naturalist created a lot of interactive things that are self guided, in order to allow people to come out on their own and social distance from other groups and come learn about the park and enjoy a nice Earth Day activity.

“It’s good practice for everybody, you know, to know why it’s important to care about the earth and why it’s important to pick up after ourselves and be conscious of the things we are throwing in the landfill,” Henning said.

They have held self-guided hikes in the past, Henning says, but they are starting to do a lot more. They’re also starting to get back into doing more of their in-person programming and he says they are going to see that continue through the summer. It will kind of be a hybrid of in-person and self-guided events.

Normally, Good Earth’s Earth Day activities would include guest speakers on site and local businesses would be invited to come and talk about things that they do that are helping to take care of the earth.

Every year, the park also does a park clean-up, which is something that they will still be doing this year. On Saturday, from 10 a.m. to noon people can go to the park and they will hand out garbage bags and they can go throughout the park and clean up any litter they find, Henning says. He advices that participants bring work gloves.

Throughout the year, Good Earth tries to have a couple of service days where they have people come out and help clean up at this park or down at Lake Alvin, Henning says. They are also planning a tree planting event a little later this spring.

Henning encourages people to come out to enjoy the park, visit the exhibit and hike a trail. The visitors center is opened Tuesday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

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