From The Sanford Underground Research Facility-SURF: “Construction of ethnobotanical garden to begin in spring 2023”

From The Sanford Underground Research Facility-SURF

Constance Walter

Garden will host cultural and educational events.

The South Dakota Science and Technology Authority (SDSTA) approved plans to move forward with construction of the ethnobotanical garden. The decision was announced in the Sept. 22 Board meeting. Called Cangleska Wakan, Lakota for Sacred Circle, the garden will be built on a hilltop meadow at Sanford Underground Research Facility (SURF). Construction is expected to begin next spring and conclude in the fall of 2023.

“This is a momentous step forward,” said Casey Peterson, chair of the SDSTA Board and ex officio member of the SURF Foundation Board. “We have been working to make this a reality for over a year and now we can declare success.”

Mike Headley, executive director of the SDSTA and lab director at SURF, said recent private donations and a small loan from the SDSTA put the SURF Foundation in a position to begin construction. The estimated cost of the project is $800,000. With private donations and the SDSTA loan, $615,00 has been raised.

“We are really excited to have reached this phase and look forward to seeing this important project become a reality. The SURF Foundation will continue to raise money, so we carry out the full design of the garden,” Headley said.

Cangleska Wakan will feature a Lakota medicine wheel, native plants and a space for events and quiet reflection. A symbol of unity, good health, well-being, honor, and recognition. The medicine wheel’s four quadrants represent the physical, spiritual, mental, and emotional realms. It also highlights the four seasons, which are represented in black, red, yellow, and white. In contemporary times, the colors also point to the diversity of nations.

Future programming will include explorations of astrophysics, star knowledge, Earth science, ethnobotany, biodiversity, and a range of cultural events for learners of all ages. As SURF welcomes scientific collaborators from around the world, the garden will serve as a gateway to this unique region.

Designworks Inc., a Rapid City landscape architectural firm, designed the garden and RCS Construction will build it. Major donors to the project are Dana Dykhouse and Casey Peterson, both members of the SDSTA and SURF Foundation board, and RCS Construction. The donation from RCS includes a considerable reduction in construction costs.

“Their generosity allows us to begin the work on the Sacred Circle Garden,” Headley said. “We are also grateful to everyone who has contributed. It has made all the difference.”

Dykhouse and Peterson have been champions of the project since its inception in 2015.

“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.

The history of the Black Hills goes back thousands of years and has significant meaning to indigenous people. In 2015, the Sanford Underground Research Facility built the Sanford Lab Homestake Visitor Center to commemorate the city of Lead, South Dakota, and its rich mining history, while highlighting today’s scientific discoveries.

Now, the Sanford Underground Research Facility (SURF) is taking a step to recognize the diversity of the many peoples who have and do call this place home. We are creating an ethnobotanical garden, Cangleska Wakan, to enhance understanding of the Indigenous cultures of the Black Hills, or He Sapa.

The garden will connect visitors with SURF’s underground science through the lens of Native ways of knowing science. The site’s future programming will include explorations of astrophysics, star knowledge, Earth science, ethnobotany, biodiversity and cultural and Native events for learners of all ages.

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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 University of 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.

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.

Compact Accelerator System for Performing Astrophysical Research (CASPAR). Credit: Nick Hubbard.

Compact Accelerator System for Performing Astrophysical Research (CASPAR). Credit: Nick Hubbard.

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.”

SURF- the 3D DAS experiment is studying digital acoustic sensing techniques with a novel, three-dimensional seismic array. The University of Wisconsin-Madison. The Air Force Research Laboratory. Photo by Adam Gomez. The 3D DAS is led by Stanford University and includes industry partners and seven universities.