From The Sanford Underground Research Facility-SURF: “Sacred Circle Garden design 100% complete”

From The Sanford Underground Research Facility-SURF

June 21, 2022
Erin Lorraine Broberg

SURF’s vision to build a cultural and educational ethnobotanical garden space is now rendered in complete detail.

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Bear Butte, a Lakota sacred site featured in the garden.

Since the inception of the Sacred Circle Garden initiative the vision has been clear: create an ethnobotanical garden honoring the history of the Black Hills, or Paha Sapa or He Sapa, and the connections we all share. Now, this vision is captured in a complete architectural design.

Designworks Inc., a Rapid City landscape architect, completed the 100% design this month, rendering the features of the future Garden in detail.

“This design was created through conversations with tribal elders and our ad hoc committee which included members from across the state of South Dakota. With their input and ideas, we’ve worked with the architect to achieve the 100% design,” said Staci Miller, director of the Sanford Underground Research Facility (SURF) Foundation.

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The Sacred Circle Garden, or Cangleska Wakan, will be located on a hilltop meadow at SURF. Primary features of the Garden include a medicine wheel and native grasses and plants. Located in the heart of the Paha Sapa, or He Sapa, the Garden will highlight four significant areas: Mato Paha (Bear Butte), Mato Tipila (Bear’s Lodge/Devil’s Tower), Hehaka Sapa (Black Elk Peak) and the Mako Sica (Badlands), all sacred sites for the Lakota and other regional tribes.

“As a Lakota, I see strong connections between the Lakota way of understanding the universe and the research being done at SURF,” said Jace DeCory, a member of the planning committee. “I whole-heartedly support the efforts to build the Cangleska Wakan, where Tribal and all people can interact and connect with the Black Hills in a respectful way.”

The Garden will be used as a space for educational and cultural events for k-12 students as well as adults. Miller said potential events could include master gardening, astronomy and stargazing, the history and uses of South Dakota’s native plants, Earth science education and Native American cultural events. “The Garden offers a space to bridge the science that’s happening a mile underground at SURF with the science that Indigenous peoples of the Black Hills have known for centuries,” Miller said.

“This is a keystone project,” said Casey Peterson, ex officio member of the SURF Foundation board of directors and major donor to the initiative. “It’s a demonstration to our local community, to our Indigenous neighbors and to the world that we honor and respect this land. This space will offer a place of connection and cultural exchange for everyone who visits.”

With the complete design in hand, the Garden is one step closer to becoming a reality. Through individual donations, corporate sponsorship, fund-raising events and a campaign offering limited-edition prints, the SURF Foundation has raised $449,771.59 of the $800,000 goal.

Dana Dykhouse, emeritus member of the SURF Foundation board of directors and major donor to the initiative, said he hopes to inspire others to share in the vision for the project.

“For all of us who hold the Black Hills in high esteem, both our Native community and those of us who have come later, the Garden will provide a place to reflect on the history of this region and what it could be in the future,” Dykhouse said.

With the Garden design complete, sharing the vision has become 100% easier. To make a donation to the SURF Foundation or learn more, contact Staci Miller or visit the Sacred Circle Garden webpage.

See the full article here .


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About us: The Sanford Underground Research Facility-SURF in Lead, South Dakota, advances our understanding of the universe by providing laboratory space deep underground, where sensitive physics experiments can be shielded from cosmic radiation. Researchers at the Sanford Lab explore some of the most challenging questions facing 21st century physics, such as the origin of matter, the nature of dark matter and the properties of neutrinos. The facility also hosts experiments in other disciplines—including geology, biology and engineering.

The Sanford Lab is located at the former Homestake gold mine, which was a physics landmark long before being converted into a dedicated science facility. Nuclear chemist Ray Davis earned a share of the Nobel Prize for Physics in 2002 for a solar neutrino experiment he installed 4,850 feet underground in the mine.

Homestake closed in 2003, but the company donated the property to South Dakota in 2006 for use as an underground laboratory. That same year, philanthropist T. Denny Sanford donated $70 million to the project. The South Dakota Legislature also created the South Dakota Science and Technology Authority to operate the lab. The state Legislature has committed more than $40 million in state funds to the project, and South Dakota also obtained a $10 million Community Development Block Grant to help rehabilitate the facility.

In 2007, after the National Science Foundation named Homestake as the preferred site for a proposed national Deep Underground Science and Engineering Laboratory (DUSEL), the South Dakota Science and Technology Authority (SDSTA) began reopening the former gold mine.

In December 2010, the National Science Board decided not to fund further design of DUSEL. However, in 2011 the Department of Energy, through the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, agreed to support ongoing science operations at Sanford Lab, while investigating how to use the underground research facility for other longer-term experiments. The SDSTA, which owns Sanford Lab, continues to operate the facility under that agreement with Berkeley Lab.

The first two major physics experiments at the Sanford Lab are 4,850 feet underground in an area called the Davis Campus, named for the late Ray Davis. The Large Underground Xenon (LUX) experiment is housed in the same cavern excavated for Ray Davis’s experiment in the 1960s.

In October 2013, after an initial run of 80 days, LUX was determined to be the most sensitive detector yet to search for dark matter—a mysterious, yet-to-be-detected substance thought to be the most prevalent matter in the universe. The The U Washington MAJORANA Neutrinoless Double-beta Decay Experiment Demonstrator experiment, also on the 4850 Level, is searching for a rare phenomenon called “neutrinoless double-beta decay” that could reveal whether subatomic particles called neutrinos can be their own antiparticle. Detection of neutrinoless double-beta decay could help determine why matter prevailed over antimatter. The Majorana Demonstrator experiment is adjacent to the original Davis cavern.

The LUX Xenon dark matter detector | Sanford Underground Research Facility mission was to scour the universe for WIMPs, vetoing all other signatures. It would continue to do just that for another three years before it was decommissioned in 2016.

In the midst of the excitement over first results, the LUX collaboration was already casting its gaze forward. Planning for a next-generation dark matter experiment at Sanford Lab was already under way. Named LUX-ZEPLIN (LZ), the next-generation experiment would increase the sensitivity of LUX 100 times.

SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory physicist Tom Shutt, a previous co-spokesperson for LUX, said one goal of the experiment was to figure out how to build an even larger detector.

“LZ will be a thousand times more sensitive than the LUX detector,” Shutt said. “It will just begin to see an irreducible background of neutrinos that may ultimately set the limit to our ability to measure dark matter.”

We celebrate five years of LUX, and look into the steps being taken toward the much larger and far more sensitive experiment.

Another major experiment, the Long Baseline Neutrino Experiment (LBNE)—a collaboration with Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory (Fermilab) and Sanford Lab, is in the preliminary design stages. The project got a major boost last year when Congress approved and the president signed an Omnibus Appropriations bill that will fund LBNE operations through FY 2014. Called the “next frontier of particle physics,” LBNE will follow neutrinos as they travel 800 miles through the earth, from FermiLab in Batavia, Ill., to Sanford Lab.

FNAL DUNE LBNF Caverns at Sanford Lab.

The MAJORANA DEMONSTRATOR will contain 40 kg of germanium; up to 30 kg will be enriched to 86% in 76Ge. The DEMONSTRATOR will be deployed deep underground in an ultra-low-background shielded environment in the Sanford Underground Research Facility (SURF) in Lead, SD. The goal of the DEMONSTRATOR is to determine whether a future 1-tonne experiment can achieve a background goal of one count per tonne-year in a 4-keV region of interest around the 76Ge 0νββ Q-value at 2039 keV. MAJORANA plans to collaborate with Germanium Detector Array (or GERDA) experiment is searching for neutrinoless double beta decay (0νββ) in Ge-76 at the underground Laboratori Nazionali del Gran Sasso (LNGS) for a future tonne-scale 76Ge 0νββ search.

CASPAR is a low-energy particle accelerator that allows researchers to study processes that take place inside collapsing stars.

The scientists are using space in the Sanford Underground Research Facility (SURF) in Lead, South Dakota, to work on a project called the Compact Accelerator System for Performing Astrophysical Research (CASPAR). CASPAR uses a low-energy particle accelerator that will allow researchers to mimic nuclear fusion reactions in stars. If successful, their findings could help complete our picture of how the elements in our universe are built. “Nuclear astrophysics is about what goes on inside the star, not outside of it,” said Dan Robertson, a Notre Dame assistant research professor of astrophysics working on CASPAR. “It is not observational, but experimental. The idea is to reproduce the stellar environment, to reproduce the reactions within a star.”