A new direction, back to our natural roots

A new direction, back to our natural roots.
Yankton – A community focused on nature and all things “natural, healthy and green”.
By: Heather Hinners
Yankton is a family oriented community nestled along the natural landscapes of the Missouri River with
deep roots in living off of the land and preserving God’s natural beauty.
I myself grew up along the Missouri River, 150 yds. away up in Montana. I know what that experience
has done for me as an adult in giving me a deep sense of appreciation for nature and all things natural,
healthy and green. In today’s society as we watch what is happening to the world around us through
the use of chemicals in the things we eat, clean with, produce and are exposed to constantly in our
everyday lives, we are quickly creating a world in which you cannot help but be exposed to toxicity
everywhere you go. I believe it is time that we start to plan for our children’s future. Let’s take the
damage that our generation has done and begin to restore a love for natural beauty by teaching and
educating the young, middle aged and old to live and work together to build a “greener” and more
chemical free community. This could take on multiple levels in which we support the community
members at the personal, family, and community level to build a strong foundation that will be a leading
example for many communities to come.
Here is a beginning list with examples of some ways this could be done (projects that the community can
work together to support and make happen)
Build Natural Playgrounds – (Huge focus on younger generation and making this a community they are
proud of invested in and will want to come back to with families of their own some day.)
Encourage a connection to the land, active play, imagination.
Recycled playgrounds
Encourage creativity, arts, imagination, reduction of waste, group participation.
Community gardens ran by schools or other groups through the support of local ag individuals and
Encourage healthy eating, connection to nature, local produce, work ethic.
Opportunities through your garbage companies to donate still useable items. Have a set place where
these are gathered and then set times when these items are open for the taking to the public.
Encourage and promote people doing diy environmentally friendly projects to sell. Provide
opportunities for “green fairs” where people can free of charge share their ideas, sell their products or
items. Could also be a time that the reusable items free store would be open. If reuse store gets too
crowded, have inventive/creativity events in which groups can compete to create an invention based on
a theme, problem or free for all…
Increase opportunities for alternate routes of transporation (biking, walking, etc.)
Create a bike friendly town with safe bike parking, bike paths, incentives for biking or
Increased opportunities for individuals and their families on a monthly to weekly basis (planned by
community groups or committee) to experience nature. Year round. Free opportunities by community
Try-it activities could include nature walks, fishing, sledding, ice-fishing, camping,
scavengerhunt, boating, biking, geo-caching, snow-shoeing, bird watching, archery ,
painting nature, fire pit nights, campfire cooking, etc.
Free frequent opportunities for families to learn about how to make food from natural healthy food
items that are easy for individuals and families to quickly create. Have community cooking nights where
families bring an item that they made from scratch or where local restaurants pitch in to teach a cooking
skill and make it a traveling supper between restaurants and at each place a different course is taught
and served that leads to healthy eating habits and cooking from natural ingredients.
Sponsor regular opportunities for people to participate in healthy living opportunities that require little
to no ongoing work, just initial setup and advertising.
Walking Wednesdays – If the weather is above 65 degrees all who are interested meet at
____ to go for a walk or run to ____. If inclement weather or below 65 degrees have an
alternate site that will be open to walk or gather in. Could have a different destination in
mind each time like place for a beverage or dessert item. Encouraging support of local
businesses also.
Outdoor game night Mondays – If weather is above 65 degrees families and friends bring
their outdoor games and meet at the park. If inclement weather meet at a community area
for board games.
Float the river Saturdays 1st and 3rd Saturday of each month if above 65 degree we will meet
at ______. Have available kayaks/canoes and life jackets for those without a boat and float
to _______ point for a picnic. Get Kayaks & Canoes & life jackets funded through outdoor
education scholarship.
Educational opportunities to teach individuals about what toxins/chemicals they are exposed to on a
daily basis to build awareness of the problems.
Educational opportunities to teach individuals what steps they can take to begin to reduce
this exposure (foods, health care products, cleaning products)
Have make and take opportunities for families to make own products.
Invite chemical free companies to do presentations on healthy chemical free living.
Helps individuals make their own educated decisions about what they want their family to
be exposed to.
Encourage green companies to bring their business to your town and educate your community about
their product. Give incentives for green building, green businesses and more through grants and free
advertising opportunities.
Go bag free townwide.
Actively seek out companies or organizations that would enhance the town of Yankton and
support a positive move toward the goal.
Continue growing a more sustainable community. Research other communities.
Apply for grants to support “green” projects (playgrounds, healthy eating, community gardens, green
building, etc.)
Be a leading community in setting an example by preserving the land and health of your families for the
next generation. This will no bring a great deal of positive attention to the town of Yankton and will set
a standard for other communities to follow. It will make a difference in the lives of children, families
and the community. Taking this step as a community truly shows how much you care about the citizens
you are there to support.
Respectfully Submitted by:
Heather Hinners – Educator
Sioux Falls, SD 605-366-0610