Village Earth

Join an Eco-Tour this Summer with Oglala Sioux Parks and Recreation Administration


This summer, the Oglala Sioux Parks and Recreation Administration (OSPRA) on the Pine Ridge Reservation is hosting an eco-tour. Here’s a blurb from their site. To learn more go to: http://www.osprabuffalokeepers.com/news.html

Silence from deep within the Oglala Sioux Tribe’s South Unit of the Badlands National Park and the Tribe’s buffalo pastures will be a centerpiece of new Eco-tours being offered by the Oglala Sioux Parks and Recreation Authority.  Visitors who take the newly established eco-tours will have opportunity to feel majestic dominance of buffalo as they graze in the buffalo pastures.“We want visitors to understand buffalo are our relatives and not just a resource for consumption,” says Monica Terkildsen, one of the eco-tour coordinators.  “We want visitors to hear pines blowing in the wind and taste the nutty earth taste of timpsila and understand the connection of plants to our survival.” OSPRA is targeting tourists who are looking for adventure—people who will stay for a length of time, are physically fit and want to hike into the interior of places—not just drive the edge of Oglala Lakota lands.  The Eco-tour visitor will be a person who wants to learn the cultural perspective of wild life and natural resources. OSPRA has long had facilities for offering eco-tours that include hunting tours, cabins and a property purchased and set up in an apartment-style setting.  OSPRA offers knowledge of wildlife, natural resources and unique cultural understandings that bring all the pieces of a top flight eco-experience together in a four day outing. Cultural interpretations will give visitors Lakota perspectives on natural resource use and Oglala Lakota philosophy and belief. Environmental integrity brought about by the Eco-tours will establish connections to wildlife and natural resources within context of a preservation plan.  “We want to develop a sustainable project that educates and shares,” says Terkildsen, “We want visitors to feel our strength and understand how we continue to survive.” Since the 1980’s ecotourism has been on the rise and considered essential by environmentalists to survival of landscapes relatively untouched by human intrusion. OSPRA’s eco-tours came into being after Senior Biologist Dr. Trudy Ecoffey experienced an eco-tour trip to Namibia, a country in southern Africa that has the Atlantic ocean as it’s western border.  After that experience she worked with the World Wildlife Fund and other professionals to develop the idea of an eco-tour on the Pine Ridge Reservation.

Upcoming Courses in the Village Earth/CSU Online Certificate Program in Community-Based Development

Fall I Session

GSLL 1518 – Community-Based Food Systems

During this five week course, you will learn about various approaches to building community-based food systems and movements for food justice around the world. Together, we will evaluate successful efforts at food system relocalization and the protection of community food resources, as well as the factors that threaten these efforts.

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Summer II Session

GSLL 1501 – Approaches to Community Development

This course provides a framework for community development based on a participatory, bottom-up, multi-sector model. Various approaches have been used in community development with varying degrees of success. One approach that has consistently demonstrated effectiveness is the Village Earth model based on participatory practices.

Through personal and structural empowerment, the objectives of economic well-being, environmental sustainability, and socio-cultural vitalization can be met. By looking at an overview of the entire development process and using case studies, this course will prepare participants to work in the field of community development and illuminate how all of the development efforts fit together to support the overall goal of sustainability.

Upon completion of this course participants will be able to:

Compare different development approaches and evaluate their effectiveness.
Understand the basic principles that underlie sustainable development.
Incorporate participatory practices into community development activities
Design a development project based on the Village Earth model
Who should take this course? This course is suited for people who are interested in community development and work or plan to work in this field. This includes people working or volunteering at NGOs, NPOs, governmental organizations, without border organizations, or missionary organizations. In addition, people involved in funding community development projects benefit from this course.

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