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Sustaining Bird Habitats & Rural Communities
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Ron Nichols

Dakota Grasslands–Where Good Things Grow

The South Dakota Grassland Coalition (SDGC) launched a new public service and education campaign designed to help protect and improve the health and function of native grasslands, North America’s most threatened ecosystem. 

The campaign, Dakota Grasslands – Where Good Things Grow, is produced by SDGC, in partnership with USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service, the South Dakota Association of Conservation Districts and the South Dakota Soil Health Coalition. The non-profit SDGC recently received funding through a USDA-NRCS cooperative grant to develop television and radio public service ads, a dedicated website and educational resources describing the many environmental, ecological and economic benefits of healthy grasslands, as well as highlighting the on-going threats to Dakota’s native grasslands.

A survey conducted of South Dakota registered voters in 2023 by Selzer & Company showed strong, bi-partisan support for protecting and enhancing grasslands,” said Brett Nix, SDGC board chairman. “But the results also revealed that while the respondents have some general knowledge of the functions and benefits of grasslands, more education is needed, along with the identification of clear actions interested citizens can take to help ensure the health and preservation of Dakota grasslands. This education campaign aims to address those issues.”

The television spots, filmed in South Dakota by Emmy-nominated filmmakers Joe and Charlie Dickie, feature some of the state’s ranching families who, through their soil health-focused management practices, are working to protect and improve the health of Dakota’s grasslands.

“Thanks to the interest of several local television stations in the Sioux Falls and Rapid City markets, we’re confident these ads and other planned campaign activities will raise public awareness regarding the importance of grassland ecosystems and will help generate support for programs and activities to encourage farmers, ranchers and state and local officials to develop programs and policies that preserve and restore the health of Dakota grasslands,” Nix said.

Visitors to the Where Good Things Grow website can order free publications including a 20-page booklet for homeowners, Healthy Soil at Home and a children’s coloring book, Space Explorers and the Great Grasslands Treasure, which is designed to help children recognize and understand key grassland benefits and ecosystem functions.

To view the TV PSAs and to learn more about the Dakota Grasslands: Where Good Things Grow campaign, visit