A party for Larry; Nature center friends plan reception for Dolphin

Published 10:16 am Monday, August 8, 2016

The public will soon have a chance to thank Jay C. Hormel Nature Center Director/Naturalist Larry Dolphin for his 28 years and wish him well in retirement.

The Friends of the Jay C. Hormel Nature Center will host a retirement reception for Dolphin from 6 to 8:30 p.m. Friday at Ruby Rupner Auditorium at the nature center, 1304 21st S. NE.

Refreshments and cake will be served, and people can sign a book for Dolphin to share a message or memory.

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“Join us to say thank you and wish Mr. Dolphin well on his next adventures,” the event invite reads.

Dolphin, 64, is retiring Aug. 31 after working more than 28 years at the center.

Dolphin, who grew up in Livingston, Wisconsin, started at the nature center in 1988 and has taught thousands of adults and visiting students since.

“It’s a job that I loved to do,” Dolphin said. “I don’t know what else I would have wanted to do, so I’m very fortunate.”

Last week, city leaders announced the hiring of Luke Reese, who worked as a nature center intern from September 2005 to August 2006 under Dolphin, to take his place.

But Austin Parks & Rec Director Kim Underwood said Dolphin will be difficult to replace.

“He’s a great naturalist/director,” Underwood said. “He’s good to people. He’s good to animals. Luke has big shoes to fill. I think he does, but he knows it.”

Reese starts Aug. 24 and will work about a week with Dolphin.