Earth Day is April 22nd and each year members of the South Dakota National Guard do something to help local communities.
This year the project is called Operation Lend–a–Hand.
It all began after a group of national guardsmen noticed one park still suffering from last October’s blizzard. On Monday, guardsmen and women joined about 50 volunteers to help clean up along the creek in Jackson Park still damaged by the blizzard.
Scott Anderson, park maintenance supervisor, said that members of the National Guard would ride their bike along the creek and noticed the extent of the damage. That’s when they approached him about the project.
"They wanted to do a project for Earth Day that would be beneficial to Rapid City and they thought Jackson Park would be a good place to start," Anderson said.
Emily Beck, environmental compliance program manager for the South Dakota National Guard, said they wanted to do something that was sustainable and would continue for decades.
"Every year the National Guard does something to focus on Earth Day. This time we tried to get out of our box a little and come over across the creek and help the city," Beck said.
Volunteers also planted two trees at Old Storybrook Island.
There will be other clean–up efforts going on around Rapid City later this week.
Anderson said he hopes the city can team up with the National Guard in the future for more projects.