Articles tagged with: news


Park Sets Year End Giving Goals

Here's some ways you can get involved with giving

Park Sets Year End Giving Goals
Park sets year-end giving goals
To wrap up 2018 and get ready for the 2019 season at Trinity Eco Prayer Park we are inviting friends of the park to pick one (or more) ways to support the park:
1) Help us find 20 new donors not from Trinity Lutheran Church. Invite a friend or two to make a gift to the park. You could entice them by offering to match their gift up to a certain amount.
2) Raise $1,000 to install a secure donation box in the park
3) Pitch in $2,000 to install a video security system
4) Chip in $3,000 to replace 3 vandalized solar lights
5) Recruit a new groundskeeper (see related article)
6) Find 3 master gardeners to volunteer 5 hours per week April though September 2)
Click HERE to give online.
If you know a potential groundskeeper or master gardener volunteer contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 605-389-3448.

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


Vandals Bash Solar Lights

Vandals Bash Solar Lights

Three of the park's solar-powered path lights were damaged in early March by individuals who apparently used rocks from the park's garden beds. Initial estimates place the cost of the destructive acts at $6,000 to $8,000.

Some time during the night of March 8 one or more persons attacked half of the park's solar-powered path lights. Vandals busted out the light lenses at the top of the posts and shattered the solar collection panels on the sides of the three lights closest to the shelter. “This vandalism took concentrated effort since the damage to each light was extensive and the lights are designed to be ‘vandal resistant,’” said Park Director Ken Steinken. According to manufacturer’s brochures this light design was tested and survived “full attack” with baseball bats.

Since the lights generate and store their own electricity and are not connected to Black Hills Energy power lines, they will not be cheap to replace. Steinken estimates the cost to replace and install the three high-tech lights at $6,000 to $8,000. The park’s $1,000 deductible insurance will help with replacement expenses. “We are looking into installing a 24-hour video security system in the park that would help deter this kind of behavior in the future and assist police in finding vandals,” said Steinken. “Overall the park experiences very little vandalism,” Steinken added. “We are grateful that God watches over the park and has kept it in good condition. And we are thankful for the many park users who respect and care for the park and encourage others to do the same.”

If you'd like to help with the costs of replacing the three damaged lights or make a donation toward installing a video security system, use the "Donate" button on our website!


'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.


Bonnie Raitt picks Trinity Eco Prayer Park for concert cause

Bonnie Raitt picks Trinity Eco Prayer Park for concert cause

For decades Bonnie Raitt, who has been active in the environmental movement since the mid-70s, has worked to leave a legacy of good in communities where she plays. She finds local grassroots non-profit organizations that work on issues of safe and sustainable energy, environmental protection, peace and social justice. She donates a portion of the concert proceeds to the selected organizations.

At nearly every concert, Bonnie sets aside a number of hand-selected seats to benefit local non-profits. And whenever possible Bonnie’s staff works to coordinate the presence of non-profit organizations at Bonnie's concerts so they can share information with concertgoers.

For her Rapid City concert on Saturday, Sept. 9, Bonnie has chosen to support Trinity Eco Prayer Park. She will also be providing space at the concert for the park to have a table to talk with concertgoers about the park’s use of solar power, its sustainable landscape design, low-impact stormwater management and Sustainability Outreach. She has also selected Black Hills Clean Water Alliance to have a display at the concert.


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.


Matching Drive to Pay Off Park

Park looks to raise $90,000

During the community-wide Park Payoff Matching Drive, Trinity Lutheran Foundation will match dollar-for-dollar your gift to pay off the Trinity Eco Prayer Park construction loan of $180,000. About 75 percent of the cost of building the park was raised prior to groundbreaking in 2014.

Give online at If giving by mail make checks payable to TLCEF and mail to 402 Kansas City St, Rapid City, SD 57701. Be sure to put PARK - MATCH on the check memo line to double your gift.



          LEVEL                         AMOUNT                   # NEEDED                          TOTAL

1 – BENEFACTOR                $10,000                             2                                    $20,000

2 – LIBERATOR                     $5,000                              5                                    $25,000

3 – SPONSOR                        $2,500                              7                                   $17,500

4 – STEWARD                         $1,000                           10                                   $10,000

5 – GUARDIAN                         $500                              15                                     $7,500

6 – ADVOCATE                        $250                              22                                     $5,500

7 – CHAMPION                        $100                              45                                     $4,500

106 donors                       $90,000


Trinity Lutheran Foundation match                 + $90,000

      LOAN PAYOFF >>>  $180,000


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.