Nature center event raises funds for Alzheimer’s

Published 10:14 am Thursday, August 4, 2016

The Jay C. Hormel Nature Center is continuing a tradition of raising money and awareness about Alzheimer’s, all while carrying on the legacy of The Rev. Don Dienes.

The nature center will host a concert with Pat and Donna Surface with the Boundary Water Boys and Marina Whight along with a special Nature Play this Saturday as part of an annual event started in Dienes’ honor.

“He was a great guy, and a lot of people knew him,” Director/Naturalist Larry Dolphin said. “Just a wonderful human being. So we’re honoring him, but continuing to create this awareness of Alzheimer’s through him and others who might have it.”

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The annual Alzheimer’s event will feature three free concerts in Ruby Rupner Auditorium: a 10 a.m. senior special, a 1 p.m. family concert and a 7 p.m. evening concert, with the evening show likely being the longest.

“We’d just like to see a good turnout,” Dolphin said.

Pat Surface and his award-winning backup musicians, the Boundary Water Boys and Donna Surface, a performance artist in sign language, are returning after playing nature center’s annual Alzheimer’s fundraiser a few years ago.

The performance will include stories, humor, and singalongs to classic songs, including favorites from John Denver, The Beatles, Bob Dylan, James Taylor, Simon & Garfunkel, The Eagles, and more.

Dolphin said the group will perform a mix of their own music and pop songs.

“It’s a very relaxing and engaging type music,” he said.

The Surfaces formed the Spiritwood “Forget Me Not” Foundation in honor of Donna’s father after he died of complications to Alzheimer’s.

Freewill donations will be accepted for Alzheimer’s research. All proceeds from Saturday will be split between Mayo Clinic for Alzheimer’s research and Spiritwood, and Dolphin said each received about $1,000 last time the group performed in Austin.

The day will also feature a special Nature Play, which is typically held on Thursdays, with archery, canning and kayaking, and a pond scoop from 1 to 4 p.m. and then dragon and butterfly netting at 2:30 p.m.

The Friends of the Jay C. Hormel Nature Center, which is bringing in the band, first put on a benefit a few years ago after Deines died of Alzheimer’s. Dolphin knows of many other friends and nature center supporters who have been effected by Alzheimer’s as well.

Nature center staff prefers people attending RSVP ahead of time by contacting or 507-437-7519 or by stopping into the Interpretive Center.