A Legacy for Parkers Prairie and Beyond

When Dr. Peter Whelan and I started this trip in 2003, we certainly never thought beyond pulling it off that first year! Now in its 15th year, the South Dakota Field Investigations Trip has become a legacy, particularly for Peter, who passed away, due to a stroke, shortly before the 2004 trip, but also for Parkers Prairie students and the community. But what else has the trip yielded?

Jackie (Doroff) Finck, PPHS 2009, is now a geologist with Terracon, in Fargo, North Dakota, in part because of the inspiration of the trip. Numerous numbers of our university students, who served as teaching assistants, have gone on to become science teachers. Two of them, Patrick Schuette, and Kelsie (Meyers) Biebighauser, first became student teachers in my classroom. Mike and Sally Nestor heard about the trip mostly through former students at the annual waffle feed. When Jim passed away in 2013, the family designated all of his memorials to the 8th grade trip. A parent, who hasn’t had a child on the trip in over 6 years, yearly makes a large cash contribution to the trip. Most importantly, the trip has yielded close to 800 Parkers Prairie students who have enjoyed the outdoors, worked together, learned some Earth Science, and learned that they can learn! The pages below, saved from a student journal, perhaps sum up these 15 years the best!

student journal - last day reflections