BROOKINGS — The 36th annual South Dakota Rangeland Days and 15th annual Soils Days will be held June 18 & 19, 2019 in Redfield, S.D.

Hosted by SDSU Extension, Spink Conservation District, Natural Resources Conservation Service and South Dakota section of the Society of Range Management.

Pre-registration is due by June 4, 2019. During Rangeland Days, youth will learn about rangeland through management activities designed for a variety of age groups and expertise, from 8 years old through adult.

“Starting with plant morphology and identification on up to judging habitat suitability for cattle or grouse, everyone attending Rangeland Days is sure to gain new knowledge from participating,” said David Ollila, SDSU Extension sheep field specialist and program coordinator.

Soil Days provides learning activities designed for youth 14 to 18 years of age.

“Student will learn how to evaluate the physical properties of soil which include: soil texture, depth, erosion, slope, and stoniness,” Ollila said. “This information will help participants interpret permeability of water and air through the soil, surface run off and other factors which limit the soil’s production potential.”

Using this new-found knowledge, students will determine the land’s capability class which, in turn, allows them to make recommended conservation treatments using vegetative and mechanical erosion controls.

Additionally, students will learn how to assess a building location for potential issues that would occur when developing a homesite.

Apply hands-on learning

After a day of active learning youth participating in Rangeland or Soils Days will have the opportunity to measure how much they have learned by participating in contests.

“Again, these are designed specifically for their age level and expertise,” Ollila said.

Competition will be offered for individuals and teams for all age groups.

Continuing education credits provided

Even adults can participate. Adults attending the Soil Days or Rangeland Days portion of the event can receive 1 undergraduate or graduate credit for participating in the entire program and completing additional requirements found in the syllabus. A copy of the syllabus can be mailed out prior to the event.

Youth also have the opportunity to expand their leadership skills and rangeland management understanding by participating in student talks and development of educational displays.

  • Student displays: Youth are encouraged to enter a tabletop display on any range-related topic.

Examples include: wildlife, food and habitat dis-plays, a grazing plan for your ranch, etc. Plant collections will be judged as a separate category and will be eligible for a special award. Plant collections will NOT count toward the Top Hand Award.

  • Student Talks: Talks may be presented on any aspect of range management or about any range resource. Visual aids are required; Power Point preferred. Scout and Go Getter presentations should be more scientific than a revised 4-H demonstration.

Time limits are: New Rangers 2-8 minutes, Wranglers 3-8 minutes, Scouts and Go Getters 5-8 minutes.

Competition & awards

Plaques will be presented to the first-place individual in each event in each age division, and medallions to the first through third-placing contestants in each event in each division.

  • Soils Top Hand: The overall top scoring youth will receive a silver buckle.
  • Rangeland Days Top Hand: The overall top scoring youth in each division will receive a silver belt buckle. Scores in the judging competition (40%), Student talks (35%), and displays (25%) will all count toward the award. Participation in all three events is required to be eligible.
  • Scout/Go-Getter Student Talk: The Top Scout or Go Getter from South Dakota may be given the opportunity to present his/her talk at the 2020 International Society for Range Management meeting in Denver, Colorado in February 2020.
  • Range & Soils Team Competition: Teams may consist of three or four members from the county 4-H program or FFA Chapter. New Ranger and Wrangler teams will receive certificates. The top Go-Getter Range team & the top Soils team in 4-H will represent South Dakota at the National Land & Range Judging Contest held in Oklahoma City, OK in May 2020.

All team members must be current 4-H members and will not graduate before May 2020.

Registration details

To help cover costs, there is a $30 registration fee. To register, visit extension.sdstate.edu/events and search by Rangeland/Soils Days. For more details or a copy of the pre-registration brochure contact Dave Ollila at David.Ollila@sdstate.edu. Dave Ollila can also be reached at the Rapid City Regional Extension Center at 605-394-1722.

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