The winter side of funPublished 7:00pm Saturday, November 3, 2012
Scheduled events or no, there is plenty to do at the Jay C. Hormel Nature Center
With Halloween in the rearview mirror, the Jay C. Hormel Nature Center is preparing for a slate of fall and winter activities. Here’s what it has in store:
Displays galore all fall and winter
Nature Center Executive Director Larry Dolphin is running out of room.
Private donors and Friends of the Hormel Nature Center have provided several new displays, from one on bison, another on matching skulls of different mammals and certain birds with their eggs, and even an energy bike display.
“We’re trying to find room for all this stuff,” Dolphin said.
Dolphin said the bike display — which creates electricity by pedaling a stationary bike — is the Nature Center’s way of promoting energy conservation. It lights either a compact fluorescent or incandescent light bulb, and the participant gets to feel which bulb is more efficient.
Still the most popular displays are the live box snakes and the salamanders, he said.
Enjoy nature all fall and winter
While there aren’t a plethora of scheduled activities in November and December, that doesn’t mean people can’t take a stroll. Dolphin said this time of year at the Nature Center is good for walking and getting exercise, taking photos of the color contrasts, and watching for animals that are active such as deer.
“Things happen that can be fairly spontaneous with the animals,” Dolphin said. “There are different things to be excited about.”
“The Lives of Wolves, Coyotes and Foxes”
7 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 20, Ruby Rupner Auditorium
Dolphin said this free program will be filled with a lot of great information and great pictures of canines that roam Minnesota. Dolphin said Minnesota naturalist and author Stan Tekiela — who studied the animals across the U.S. including stops at Yellowstone National Park — will provide quality information and great entertainment at the same time. While Tekiela has spoken at the Hormel Nature Center before, this is the first time he will make this presentation.
Nov. 29 and Dec. 1 (filled)
While the first Christmas Crafts session won’t start until Nov. 29, it has been filled for months. Dolphin said the class filled up on the first day registration opened on Sept. 7.
“That’s one of those things every year that fills up right away,” Dolphin said.
Dammen Nordic Cross Country Ski Race
Saturday, Jan. 12, 2013
Is it too early to be thinking about snow? The Dammen Nordic Cross Country Ski Race organizers think not, as they’re hoping the race isn’t turned into a run like it was last year because of a lack of the white stuff.
Dolphin said the race, now in its fifth year, has run the gamut of weather conditions. One year there was extremely wet and slushy conditions. Another year it was too fast and icy. One year the snow was perfect, and last year, with absolutely no snow on the ground, they made it into a cross country run. This January, he’s hoping for perfect conditions again.
“We’ll see what happens this year,” he said.
The race is named in honor of Kevin Dammen, who died in a kayaking accident in June 2011. Kevin — who along with his twin brother, Kyle, was a nature enthusiast — organized the first couple races before he passed away.
More information about the race is available at www.hormelnaturecenterskirace.info and skinnyski.com. Those interested can also call Michelle Johannsen at 507-440-0449. Profits for the event go the Kevin Dammen Mentorship Fund.
Friends of the Jay C. Hormel Nature Center annual meeting
2 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 26
While friends of the Hormel Nature Center will talk budgets, nominate board members and approve officers, a former intern will show off his knowledge on bison.
Former intern and Austin native Alex Watson, now a park naturalist with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, will present “Where do the Bison Roam? The Past, Present and Future of Minnesota Bison.”
The presentation will explore the history of bison in the state through first-hand accounts. I’m looking forward to that myself,” Dolphin said.
Take advantage of winter with the lens
Spring, summer and autumn aren’t the only times of year for exciting and captivating photos.
The Jay C. Hormel Nature Center’s John Duren will be holding a winter family photography class on Feb. 9 from 2 to 5 p.m. Those taking part in the class will be on the lookout for animals that include white-tailed deer and red fox.
Cost is $10 per family. There is a limit of five families. After class participants will be able to warm up in the Nature Center’s cabin with s’mores and hot chocolate.
For more information call the Nature Center at 437-7519.
—Eric Johnson, Austin Daily Herald