Articles tagged with: ecosystem


Some 2018 Highlights

Top: Rapid City Fire Department burns park grasses in the spring.
Middle: Park collects, filters and absorbs stormwater during summer downpour.
Bottom: SD Mines student conducts pollinator research in park.


Fire department hopes to torch park

Fire department hopes to torch park

Plans are in the works to burn some of the grasses and plants in Trinity Eco Prayer Park.

"Fire is nature's way to keep prairies and forests healthy," said Park Director Ken Steinken. "It reduces the amount of old, dead plants making way for new growth. And it puts nutrients back in the soil. "Since our goal is to manage the park in the most natural way possible, we decided to explore using fire as part of the plan to care for the park."

Steinken presented the idea to Battalion Chief Tim Daly who has conducted prescribed burns in or near the city limits for the Rapid City Fire Department. Daly was eager to pursue the idea as a way of helping the public learn that fire is not always destructive and can actually be a beneficial force.

The burn will take place this spring only if favorable weather and plant conditions come together at the same time.


Park Successfully Handles 1.5" Downpour

Park Successfully Handles 1.5

A heavy cloudburst on Aug. 14 flooded the park with storm-water runoff from the parking lots and roofs of the nearby church and Hardee's. Although it might look like a tragedy, it really is a success story of how the park was designed to work. All the water soaked into the ground by the next morning instead of washing into the storm sewer which empties into Rapid Creek. And the park suffered no damage other than some bark mulch that washed into the lawn.


Groundskeeper Needed

Groundskeeper Needed

Groundskeeper gives notice, replacement needed
After two years of faithfully tending the plants, grasses and trees in Trinity Eco Prayer Park, Jesse Schulz has decided he will not be able to continue as park groundskeeper next year. A change in his career has required him to adjust his time commitments.
For the past two years, Jesse has found a way to put in 10 hours a week caring for the park in addition to working a full-time job.
When Jesse began working in the park, he had little knowledge of how to identify native species. But he was eager to learn and developed a masterful understanding of which species to keep in the park and which to get rid of. His conscientious efforts are responsible for the pleasant appearance of the park and his dedication to the park will be greatly missed.
Because he is concerned about the park, he gave plenty of notice that he would not be returning so we could find another person to fill that position. If you know anybody who would be interested in this seasonal part-time job that runs from April through September, contact Ken (605-389-3448) or refer them to


'Solar' mower debuts in park

'Solar' mower debuts in park

This summer mowing in the park is solar-powered. We are using a 20-inch cordless Ryobi lawn mower. The mower is powered by a 40-volt lithium battery. New brushless technology gives the mower “gas-like” power.

The latest addition to the park's solar-powered arsenal of yard care tools, the mower joins the weed whacker and leaf blower.
The chargers for the tools' batteries are located in the shelter storage area where they draw electricity from the solar panels located on the back of the shelter. When the panels generate more power than the park needs, excess electricity goes into the Black Hills Energy power lines.
BHE pays the park a modest fee for the power, which is applied as a credit to the park’s monthly electric bill. As a result the park’s bill is less than $20 per month.
Park Director Ken Steinken chose the mower after reading reviews of cordless mowers. The Ryobi ranked No. 3, but at $299 it was more reasonably priced than the top two mowers.
Since the mower was not available locally, Steinken was worried about how much it would cost to ship the mower to Rapid City. But Ryobi sells the mowers online through, which provides free shipping.
Although the mower is powerful enough to handle tall grass, its one drawback is that the battery run-time is 45 minutes, which may not be enough for larger lawns. The mower does have an on-board storage slot for an additional battery, which can be purchased separately.
Raising money to buy an electric mower was one of the goals of 2016’s year-end Start Strong fund drive. Thanks to those who donated to help buy the mower.