Greening Vermillion

PO Box 146

Vermillion, SD 57069


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Plenty of greening has happened in Vermillion over the years, but the first planning meeting for Earth Day 2014 was eye-opening. More than a dozen people representing a wide range of university and community organizations excitedly put together a plan for not just Earth Day, but Earth Week, calling it Earth (Every) Day! People did not just propose ideas—they offered to carry them out. Then, later, they carried them out, as they had promised.


More than 17 activities were held the last week in April, involving hundreds of Austin, Jolley, middle school, high school, and university students, families, businesses, and many other segments of our community. And, at the final event, there was a clear and unanimous call for taking the Earth (Every) Day theme from an abstract concept to an organizational reality. This was the true beginning of Greening Vermillion. 


The nonprofit called Greening Vermillion will work to make Vermillion “the Greenest Town in South Dakota.” Greening will become a reason for people to both visit and make their homes in the area, and Vermillion will become a model for greening all of South Dakota—one that supports the health of its people, environment, and economy through sustainable, enlightened, and creative practices.


Greening Vermillion will help the Vermillion area grow through projects that bring people together to conserve our natural resources. We will bring government agencies, the University of South Dakota (USD) and other community institutions and organizations, businesses and workplaces, and individuals together to create energy-efficient and sustainable practices, programs, regulations for the city of Vermillion and Clay County. 


Greening Vermillion has another goal—to unite the “two Vermillions,” bringing USD and the community surrounding it together to more fully cooperate through community partnerships and joint planning with city and county officials.


Including everyone, staying positive, reconnecting with nature, living simply, understanding that our Earth needs our help, discovering our own creativity, viewing everyone as a leader, living in an open and fair economy, believing in possibilities, being curious, paying attention to everyone’s needs, and connecting with both friends and strangers to make a better Vermillion—and a better world: this is how we think about our town and the people in it. 


Greening Vermillion is all of us! We have helped to...

  • Organize hikes along the Missouri River

  • Develop the canoe/kayak trail along the river

  • Invite speakers to talk about wind and solar energy

  • Host films and discussions on the loss of prairie and other issues

  • Educate local leaders about climate change

  • Teach USD students about sustainable issues and practices

  • Organize a successful week of Earth Days activities in April 2014, 2015, and 2016. 


We are members of the Living River Group of the Sierra Club, educators and students in USD’s Sustainability Program, supporters of the Vermillion Area Arts Council, activists in many local organizations, and working and retired members of the Vermillion community.

Click here to learn more about the team behind Greening Vermillion.