By Kristan Krogman
Altman Studeny from Plankinton was in White River Monday morning where he collected close to three gallons of soil at the Museum. The soil collection is part of a project Studeny has come up with to celebrate South Dakota’s 125th anniversary.
Known as Grow: 66/125, Studeny’s project aims to collect soil samples from all 66 counties in the state and mix them all together as one. Once the soil has been mixed, it will be divided again and repotted. A Bur oak tree will be planted in each bucket and then delivered to each of the 66 sites where soil was originally collected.
Sudeny enlisted the help of local conservation districts to recommend sites for the soil collection and eventual planting of the tree. Studeny asked that sites be of significance in or near the county seat, sites that were important to the community and where future care of the tree would be ensured. The backyard of the Museum seemed an ideal choice for Mellette County and Studeny passed through Monday for the soil collection. Between June 7 and June 22, he will be collecting samples in each of the 66 counties of South Dakota.
Once the trees are planted Studeny has arranged for them to be displayed at the Governor’s Grove on the grounds of the State Capitol in Pierre where folks are invited to stop by and visit the display. They will remain on the grounds of the Capitol between July 19 and August 24.
Following the display, the trees will be returned to each of the holes where the original samples were taken, this time with their own mix of the combined soil that symbolically brings all of South Dakota together. “There they will grow tall, healthy, and thanks only to the combined efforts of hard-working people across the whole of South Dakota in communities large and small,” said Studeny in a release “to greet each anniversary of statehood yet to come.”