Saturday, June 27, 2009

Day 6: Coming Home!

We are pulling out at 7:30 and heading home today. We are going to stop and look at Lake Chamberlin and in Mitchell to see the Corn Palace. If all goes well, we will make it home sometime between 8:00-10:00 PM.

We want to thank everyone who read about/watched our trip. It's great to know there are supporters. The kids really liked the comments!!!

---Mr. Perez

Well, it has been a wonderful trip. A great group of kids. It's always nice when the group bonds together as they go through the experiences of the week. I think that several students found a peaceful with nature and allowed themselves to be away from cell phones and music and just take-in the beauty of nature. As the week pressed on I enjoyed seeing the students relax and absorb the surroundings. I really think each student opened up and had a wonderful time. I know I certainly did.

--- M. Packard (junior palentology)

Friday, June 26, 2009

Day 5: 5-Mile Hike and Lakota Visitor Center...

Will Newport--- I worked on my tan today, trying to even it out. No success on the back of my thighs luckily everyone had their sunglasses. We went hiking and it started out pretty fun out in the morning because I was the alpha-male. And i felt like the leader of the pack. I was able to do the laundry because our tent fell down and broke now i feel homeless, living in the van down by white river

Kristina Willis--- Our hike today was really fun we were able to see much of the landscape of the badlands. When we were done hiking I was still wanting more but we came back and went swimming which felt amazing after being outside for awhile. The Lakota Tribe that we visited was really down to earth and showed us a side of history that we don't get learn in school. Wish i could stay another week!

Gabby Murnan--- Spectacular hike+ yummy food+ Lakota Tribe=Good day.

Fawna Harris--Today was hot and tiring for some people. We went to do a 5 mile hike and we learned about the Sioux tribe (also known as the Lakota tribe). It was a little bit better in the afternoon and we had fun swimming after the hike. All in all, we had a good day.

Emily Fite---We went on the 5 mile hike today. It was SOO hot and very exoshting. Overall I have loved this trip a lot!!! I am ready to go home though. :)

Ashley Finkbeiner--- The five mile hike was fun until the end. It was so hot in the end everyone was tired. Then we had to fit all 11 people in one van no fun. we almost saw a tornado touch down it was kinda kool. We also saw a double rainbow. The week was fun but I'm glad to be going home.

Devin Schulze--- Ha! Got a great a tan after our 5 mile hike, unfortunately I'm white where the backpack stripes were at. The food we had today was delicious, hope I get to cook something good when I get back to Pittsburg.

The kids don't know it...but the hike is to wear them out!!! HAHAHA! No...really they had a great time and did an awesome job. This has been a great group to work with and bring on this trip. They have had so much fun and we all have learned a little bit more about each other. Our visit to the Lakota Center was an eye opener for the kids. In fact, it was a history lesson they never get to hear. It seems that history is sometimes very one-sided and this time they got to hear the other side. They are now more aware of the history of this particular nation, the Lakota, and the history of their existence. The kids were also made aware of the hardships they currently have and levels of poverty that exist in this part of the country. We had an experience today that will probably stay with them for a while. On our drive there, we passed through a very small town. On our way through the town we drove by an individual that was laying in the ditch, not moving. I quickly pulled over to assist and found the person to be unconscious but breathing. Another car pulled over and called the police. The police came and said this particular person does this all the time. I helped get the person into the police car and they were being taken to jail in Rapid City. The officer told me it happens a lot here and told me not to be too surprised to see it again if we passed through. The Lakota really make an effort to educate people and have built a very successful college that offers many types of degrees. This is their way of building up their economy and trying to make many needed changes.
Our time here has been great. The kids have had their fun, and are now ready to come home!

---Mr. Perez

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Day4: Minute Man Missile Site...and HOT weather!

Fawna Harris--Today was OK. We went to Minute Man Missile Site, then we went to look for sheep, which we saw several. We also went climbing. It was hot earlier, but eventually cooled down a little.

Emily Fite--- The MMMS was way cool! It was really neat to see how it worked and everything. The weather was so hot today though!!! I thought i was going to have a heat stroke or something haha so we went to the pool. Overall today was fantastic!!!

M Packard -- The MMMS waspretty cool. We got to go underground to the controllers capsule. and to the actual missile silo. Hearing about the circumstances from 1963 to 1993 when the 150 silos were open made us really contemplate the current situation with North Korea.
We drove tothe "Pinnacle Overlook" we sat and soaked in the beauty of the landscape and I enjoyed watching 9 baby big horn sheep play together...chasing each other and hopping around.

Aside from the heat and rain was pretty cool. The missile site was really educational and hit home with memories of the Cold War Era. The kids made a great dinner of spaghetti and I cooked a cobbler to finish the night out......Tomorrow we hike.
---Mr. Perez

Day 3: Wall Drug, Crazy Horse, SDSM Geology Museum and Mt. Rushmore!!!

It was a very long day! We started the day with stopping by the BL NP visitor center to log our fossil finds.....they were out of forms so we have to go back. We went on to Wall, SD to visit the historic Wall Drug. There are all kinds of things to see and the kids enjoyed shopping. is always on the minds of young we went looking for a park to stop at...couldn't find one, so we ate in the parking lot of a church.

From there we drove to Rapid City and toured the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology, Geology Museum. It was AWESOME!!! We will post pics later today....everyone is still sleeping as I post this. The museum had many, many types of rocks, minerals and fossils. It was an exceptional treat for this trip.

We decided since we had a bit of extra time to go ahead and visit Crazy Horse. It was neat and the kids learned a little bit about Native American history and culture. Too bad it isn't more complete.

When we arrived at Mt. Rushmore, we ate in the parking lot with a great backdrop of the faces of Rushmore. Once in the park, the kids hiked the trail, visited the museum and watched the night show presentation. It was very patriotic and moving.

Our trip home was filled with conversation, laughter, coffee and an arrival time of 1:00 AM..... but it was worth it.

---Mr. Perez

Fawna Harris--Yesterday was great. We went to a lot of places and saw a lot of things. It was really nice to see Mount Rushmore at the end of the day and it was great to see the Crazy Horse Memorial.

Mike Hula- Well... Yesterday was our longest day yet. We didn't make it home to real late, and than woke up early. We're a bunch of troopers. I'm having a great time, but I'm begining to develop the homesick blues.

M. Packard-- The geology museum was really neat. Rocks, gems, and some unique fossils of prehistoric plants and animals. It was a great exhibit of area and world palentology finds. Crazy Horse memorial was new for us this year. The emence size of the memorial is unbelievable. mt Rushmore would fit on Crazy Horse's head. It was neat.

Emily Fite--- I really liked to geo. museum. Crazy Horse was awesome! I'm going to come back when it is finished. I have had such a good time on this trip. :)

Devin Schulze--- I cant believe the size of some of the fossils at the Geology museum, they were monsterous. I hope they finish the Crazy Horse monument before I die, that is going to be one of the things I want to see before the end of my life. I've already achieved one goal, and that was seeing Mt. Rushmore. Glad I'm not sitting at home bored. Ha ha ha. >:P

Gabby Murnan--- Awesome!

Kristina Willis--- We went to the Geology museum and it was awesome they had so many fossils and minerals that I hadent seen before. Crazy Horse was masive, they said the heads of Mt. Rushmore would fit in the head of Crazy Horse which is almost unbelievable. I really want to go back and see it when it is complete. Mt. Rushmore was beautiful we were able to take a trail to the bottom of the mountain and get a close up few and we were able to stay and watch the night show which was pretty cool. Im having so much fun cant wait for today to start!

william newport--- This will be the a good day to run up and down the hill in the badlands.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Day 2: Hiking, fossils, swimming and smores

A group picture at a scenic overlook. Windy at the top, moments later the camera and tripod blew over and hit the ground.

Emily Fite--- It was so hot when we were hiking today but it was so fun and I can't wait for the 5 mile hike on Friday. We also found a lot of fossils and when we got back we went swimming :). And the smores were amazing!!!

Fawna Harris---Today was really fun. We went climbing and visited the White Cliffs, which were really windy. We aslo saw a lot of animals like prairie dogs, birds, etc.

Gabby Murnan---Who knew that you could get the plague from a prairie dog or detonate a bomb with a cell phone? Not us!

Mike Hula: Well I assume you've read most of the responses. I just wanna say how much fun I'm having and how much respect I have for these people. Not only have we all come together as a big family, we never get tired of eachother. Everyday is full of suspense, and excitement. Keep reading, and we'll keep you updated. We miss you all, But we're having one of the greatest adventure's of a life, and it's an honor to be allowed to tag along.

Ashley Finkbeiner---Today was so much fun. I love seeing the different animals. Finding the fossils was so cool. I was excited when i found an animal jaw. The hike was fun to. Tomorrow is going to be fun to...Mnt.Rushmore. Yay!!!

Devin Schulze--- Wow, gotta love all the cliffs here. I love it up here, has to be the 2nd best state I've been to. Our days have been full of exciment and Yellow clover. Can't wait till tomorrow.

Kristina Willis--- Today we had a blast! We went out and got to explore throughout the different landscapes and saw such amazing scenery it was beautiful. Everyone got a little burnt but besides that all is well, the pool felt great after a long day in the desert. Going to Mt. Rushmore tomorow cant wait!

Today was a great day of exploring! Fossils and hiking...doesn't get any better. Tomorrow off to Wall Drug, South Dakota School of Mines, and Mt. Rushmore!!! ---Mr. Perez

I felt like Louis leakey discovering Lucy!

Last year we when we did some free range hiking we discovered two fossils from an arm bone from around the elbow. We only were able to document our find with photos, we knew it is prohibited to take or remove any fossils from the badlands, but you are able to log your find withthe National Park office here at the Badlands. Well, this year we were prepared. We were armed with our GPS to record the location of any fossils. It didn't take long, we found pieces of vertebrates from animals and pieces of long bones and a good femur joint. Then Ashley Finkbeiner discovered several bones grouped together. We couldn't tell if it was a hand or foot or what and then upon closer examination we saw them...the the dark fossilized teeth and the canine tooth or fang. Then I found a sweet set of jawbone and teeth. We took our GPS coordinates and wrote a short description and will be filing the information withthe park office so they can send some people out to investigate.

About the Louis Leakey comment...I think I am the only one here old enough to have watched the National Geographic program on TV when I was young. It in part is what made me want to be an I am a junior paleontologist.

As for the heavy rain we had last night...the best think about rain is that it washes away the dirt and uncovers the fossils.
Ms Packard

When we go camping, it will rain.

Fawna Harris---We thought that it would be 10% chance of rain, but the weather we had this morning proved us wrong. Odd thing, though, it didn't last very long.

Emily Fite--- It rained a lot last night. It seems like it rains everywhere that we go. Other than that I am having a great time. I miss my puppy though :(

Mike Hula: Well you obviously now know that it rained. So I'll be interesting and talk about food. We made hott doggs and Hamboogers...

Gabby Murnan---Having oodles of fun; can't wait to see the rest of the Badlands!

Devin Schulze--- I hate when it rains on a camping trip. At least it was during the night and we didnt have to cancel anything

Kristina Willis--- Rained way too much last night. Going hiking today and cant wait to see all the landscape and wildlife.

When they say it was STORMING. There was a nice lightning show and lots of rain. All went away this morning and it is hot and sunny here at 8:30 AM. We are off to the visitor center and then for some "free-range" hiking. ---Mr. Perez

Devin Schulze--- Still hate the rain. Not a good feeling when you put your tent under a tree during a lightning storm.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Day 1 - We made it to Badlands National Park!

Today we left and it was 5 in the morning way before the sun rose. Driving for about 15 hours we arrived at the Badlands it was very pretty to see and amazed all of us.----Kristina Willis

I can not wait to sleep at night ---william newport

No sleep and a car full of goober's. It was a fun 15 hour drive. I hope we sing again on the car ride back. --- Devin Schulze

So far, it was fun and I think the rest of the trip would be too.---Fawna Harris

It has been a long day even though I slept most of the way here but its been exciting also. Cant wait for tomorrow :)---Emily Fite

Drive was long, kids were great, camp is set up and dinner done. Ashfall was exciting and different this time. We will post some pics tomorrow. It will be a cool night...we will all sleep well! --- Mr. Perez

Sunday, June 21, 2009

9 hrs and counting...

The vans are loaded and ready to go! We leave from PHS at 5:00 AM and will make our way to Ashfall Fossil Beds State Historic Park in Royal, NE.

If you want, take a look at their site:

In case you have any questions, you can comment on any of the links or contact us at: or

Look for our first official post Monday night (June 22).

---Mr. Perez

Monday, June 15, 2009

When the page loads...

If the the pics don't load on the first try, hit the refresh button. Sometimes it loads up the first time and others....well you know.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

T - minus 8 and counting...

The group will load our vans on Sunday, June 21 and leave Monday morning June 22 at about 5:00 AM.
Check back each day (June 22-27) to see what the group is experiencing!
There will be pics and video each day!

---Mr. Perez