Home River As COVID-19 Declines, River Appreciation Day Returns | Local News

As COVID-19 Declines, River Appreciation Day Returns | Local News


After COVID-19 anchored the event last year, people who have attended the Annual River Appreciation Day for over a decade now were happy to return the Missouri River near Clay County Park to offer a day of learning.

This fall’s event, which took place on September 14, was unique. River Appreciation Day has traditionally been designed for grade six students in Clay County schools. This year, high school students also participated.

Topics ranged from science, including lessons on how groundwater moves through soil near rivers, to art, with Norma Wilson’s poetry camp, to the role of the Missouri River as Native tribes who lived along its canal formed relationships with the white settlers.

“We’re talking about our relationship; how we became friends many years ago and how we work together to learn more about each other and our cultures and the differences in how we were brought up and how we can combine them, ”said Rich Boyd, originally from the Rosebud Reservation. but now calls Vermillion home.

Boyd and Steve Miller, a pastor from Vermillion, occupied one of the many stations set up in the Clay County Park area to teach students about different river related topics.

“We’ve been friends – Lakota and Christian – together for 25 years and we help students look at the river and the land,” Miller said, “and how different traditions and cultures come together to work together and help care for land and river, ”Miller said.

“Our main message is that we are all connected,” Boyd said. “We’re parents to each other and that’s what we try to relate to students.

River Appreciation Day began 14 years ago after Grace Freeman of Vermillion was inspired by an event held in Montana when she lived there.

A similar weeklong activity was held at the Missouri River and 4,000 fourth graders participated.

There weren’t nearly 4,000 students in Missouri near Vermillion on Sept. 14, but the Clay County Park area was busier than it was during previous Day Appreciation Day events. river.

“This year we decided to have all the schools here at the same time, so we have 150 students here right now,” Freeman said. “It works; I’m already getting feedback from schools that they like it.

Since the COVID-19 pandemic is still ongoing despite additional protections for vaccines this year, special mitigation measures have been taken this year to keep students safe.

Traditionally, for example, Appreciation Day always ended with a great lesson in Native American songs and percussion that brought all the students together. This year, a little lesson in Lakota and drums was presented.

“Everything works,” she said. “This is the first time we’ve done something like this, so it’s been a bit of a touch-and-take off, but everyone seems to like it,” Freeman said.

SHU students and several community volunteers helped make the day run smoothly.


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