Summer Internships Open!

College students – do you want a FUN, PAID and excellent internship this summer? We’ve got so many choices for you!

To apply, go here!

big-bassNaturalist – Job ID 7502 – 5 Openings – Naturalist interns will assist education staff with programming needs at The Outdoor Campus. The position will serve group and community programs, ranging from preschool to adult classes. Program topics include, but are not limited to, hunting, fishing, camping, hiking, and other outdoor skills, and South Dakota animals and plants. Interns assist with programs developed and scheduled by the program coordinators or volunteer instructors, develop future programs for the public, and work at the information desk to meet programming and customer service needs. Candidate must enjoy working with children and adults, and enjoy spending time outdoors. Training is provided.

p1120310Outreach Naturalist – Job ID 7507 – 2 Openings – Outreach naturalist intern will assist staff with programming needs during outreach events in 20 counties of southeast South Dakota, and programs at The Outdoor Campus. Interns will serve programs from preschool to adult age. Program topics include, but are not limited to, camping, hunting, fishing, cooking, South Dakota animals, and plants. Interns will assist with programs developed and scheduled by coordinators, develop future programs, and meet customer service needs. Candidate must enjoy working with all ages, spending time outdoors, and eager to learn. Training provided.

2013_08_03_9999_966Public Relations – Job ID 7629 – 1 Opening – Public relations intern will assist with media releases, advertising creation and purchasing, event planning and promotion, photography, social media management, magazine writing and editing, contracting professional photographers and videographers, script writing and greeting visitors and publics on-site and at a variety of booths and events. Some evening and weekend work will be required.

img_7518Volunteer Coordinator – Job ID 7680 – 1 Opening – Assist the volunteer coordinator in recruiting new volunteers and retaining current volunteers. This includes: interviewing, training, and completing orientation with potential volunteers. Position also assists in creating a monthly volunteer newsletter and various volunteer appreciation projects and events.

2015_08_01_9999_377Horticulture – Job ID 7748 – 1 Opening – Have some fun in the sun at The Outdoor Campus in Sioux Falls maintaining our 6000 square foot butterfly garden, nature playscape and bird viewing area. In addition, assistance will be required with some weekend duties and special programming.




Raccoons Aplenty

0026:122816:22F:0000:CAMERA1:7E[075:1282]G[064:0x007f]When we talk about urban wildlife in Sioux Falls, raccoons are always one of topics. They turn over our trash cans, leave crazy trails in the snow and just general wreak havoc with our domestic pets. They’re everywhere!

This week we caught at least seven on our trail cam, eating from a deer carcass. The masked faces and ringed tails are cute as can be, but can there be too many? Yes.

Male raccoons are what scientists call “polygynous,” meaning the breed with more than one female. Females can have litters of one to seven kits. Young raccoons usually stay with their mothers until the following spring.

2107:122716:23F:0000:CAMERA1:7E[076:1228]G[064:0x007f]Raccoons don’t hibernate – that’s why we’re seeing them this time of year. When there is heavy snow, they may become dormant, but generally they’re out and about, scavenging for food.

Speaking of food, the curious and intelligent mammals will search for food day and night. Brad Baumgartner, regional wildlife manager for Game, Fish and Parks, said one of the best ways to keep raccoons out of your yard is to not feed domestic animals outside. “For people who feed cats outside, we suggest a single pedestal table for the food. The cats can jump up there, but the raccoons can’t.” He also suggests covering egress windows and window wells and making sure skirting on trailers is correctly installed.

Common raccoons are found all over South Dakota. Keep an eye out for the masked mammals next time you’re taking a walk through the neighborhood at night.



Where Are They Now? Clint Whitley

clintClint Whitley

  • 30 years old
  • Intern from May 2008 – August 2012
  • I’m teach high school science in Parachute, CO

No, one memory sticks in my mind as working at The Outdoor Campus has still been the best job I have ever had.  The now staff or even old interns that I worked with are now lifelong friends (for some reason I still talk to Klawitter and Klotzbach every so often). When I look at the picture I sent for this, even the hat I’m wearing came from a POMA convention TOC hosted and Derek and I got to meet some big names in the hunting industry.  That was a great TOC day. 

I remember my time at TOC everytime I throw on an old t-shirt that Thea got us. Other great memories I have are planning for Outdoor university and other big events.  I will always remember the great sense of community that was established between biologists, naturalists and other educators/staff and volunteers. 

Far too many things happened in my 4 years at TOC to share but one big thing I take with me is that TOC taught me that education is the route for me I was not interested in education until I started teaching young and junior naturalist programs.  Now i’m in my 5th year of teaching and finding success there as I was just awarded the teacher of the year for the last school year.  If you really want to here some good stories I’m sure there will be plenty of reminiscing over a lunch at pizza ranch the next time I’m in town.  

More Women Enjoying Archery Hunting

archeryby Keith Winterstein

In 2010, there were 840 women 18 years and older who purchased archery deer licenses in South Daokta. Thirty six percent of these (305 women) were in the 18-35 year old demographic. In 2015, there were 1,070 women 18 years and older who purchased archery deer licenses. Fifty four percent of these (583 women) were in the 18-35 year old demographic. The numbers don’t lie. More and more young women are interested in becoming archery deer hunters.


What Joyce Taught Me About Nature


by Thea Miller Ryan

I was one of those horse crazy kids. Every tree in my backyard was a barrel, a pole or the finish line on a horse race track. If I wasn’t riding my pretend horses, I was a horse, thundering through the back alley of my Rapid City home.

One day, I remember “whoaing” my horse next to a big Aspen in my backyard. There was a bug there about the size of my head. It was fuzzy, red and white striped and had huge wings with half moons on them. I wasn’t sure if I should scream or dismount my invisible appaloosa and become a scientist. That’s when the screen door opened into our backyard and this really pretty lady came out on our patio with my mom and dad.

“Look at that!” she pointed into the tree where I stood. “Do you know what that’s called?” She was so pretty, standing there in a blue skirt with her golden yellow hair. I wasn’t sure someone so pretty could know what that scary bug was.

“No,” I squeaked out, still uncertain if I was afraid.

“It’s called a cecropia. See the moons on its wings?”

I looked at my dad. He nodded. “This is our friend Joyce.”

“Hi,” I mumbled, knowing if should have shaken her hand and introduced myself. All I wanted to do was go inside and look in the encyclopedia and see if she was right. “What letter does it start with?”

“C,” she said.

Joyce Hazeltine stayed at our house in Rapid City a few times during her first campaign for Secretary of State. When we moved to Pierre a year later, my mom went to work for her in her Secretary of the Senate office. Since school was so close to the capitol, I would go sit in the senate gallery after school and watch the proceedings. One day I even drew a picture of some of the things I heard Joyce say, like “hog house,” and “smoke out,” illustrating the terms with pig-looking legislators with big cigarettes in their mouths. I showed her and the next day my drawing circulated on the floor of the senate. Joyce pointed up to me in the senate gallery each time a senator burst out in laughter.

A cercropeia caterpillar
A cecropia caterpillar

She and her husband had a café in downtown Pierre: The Liberty Café. Her daughter was a skate guard at the roller rink. She won the Secretary of State election and didn’t mind if I hung out in the lobby of her office, doing my homework while I waited for my mom or dad to get off work. I seriously thought the Hazeltines were the coolest family on the planet.

It’s been a long time since I saw Joyce, but now I do see cecropia moths a lot with my job. Every time I do, I think back to that day when that really pretty lady told me about the big bug in my backyard. Was it the one thing that got me interested in working in this field? It might have been.

Rest in peace, Joyce. I learned so much from you – starting with the letter “c.”