Cure your cabin fever at the Jay C. Hormel Nature Center

Published 5:30 am Saturday, January 11, 2020

Are you looking for something to do on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon?

Get out to the Jay C. Hormel Nature Center to cure some of that cabin fever! You can test your knowledge of the indoor exhibits with the building scavenger hunts for various ages, or try the one for outdoors. Most Saturdays around 10 a.m. or 3:30 p.m. you can learn about how snakes survive in the winter and maybe even touch a snake. If you’re not into that, you can check out Guka, the barred owl, and Sha and Wiyaka, the red tail hawks, or you can grab a book from the Gordon Lonning Resource room and then sit by the fireplace to relax. The trails are always open; if not for skiing or snowshoeing, you can usually walk them layer up and get outside!

As we roll into mid-January (which is just prior to summer, right?), we’re already planning for summer hiring. Park and Recreation will have many part-time job opportunities for ages high school and older. Openings will include park maintenance; municipal pool lifeguarding, swim lesson instruction, and concession vending/admissions sales; flower watering and flower care; gardening, coaching, and officiating. You can check our city web page at as well for employment openings, as we’ll have them listed there soon.

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Jan. 20 is Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. City offices, which include the nature center Intrepretive Center, will be closed.

Jan. 25 you are welcome to join the Friends of the Jay C. Hormel Nature Center for their annual meeting at 1:30 p.m. in the Ruby Rupner Auditorium.

PTTP kick-off

Paint the Town Pink kick off will be held at Business After Hours at The Hormel Institute on Tuesday, Jan. 14. More information will follow. Some of the events this year will include Fishing for a Cause on Jan. 25, Plunging for Pink on Feb. 1 and the Paint the Rink Pink on Feb. 8.

Public skate dates at Packer Arena

•3:15-4:45 p.m., Saturday

Public times are posted on our Facebook page. Are you planning to have a birthday party or a get-together with your friends and family? You can rent the arena. Call our office at 507-433-1881 for information on availability of times which might suit your event needs.

Riverside Arena game schedule

The Austin Bruins will host the Minot Minotauros at 7:05 p.m. on Jan. 17-18. Support our teams by checking out a game. Remember to get your tickets for the annual Paint the Rink Pink game on Feb. 8.

It’s what’s beneath the surface that counts

Prior to moving to Austin I was blessed to live for 16 years in a home which was situated along a beautiful, clear, 320-acre lake. During that time, my family and I got to spend countless hours in and on the water fishing, swimming, skiing, tubing, knee boarding, boating, etc.

Each of those activities, which required movement on the water to another location of choice required a determination of where we wanted to go and then navigating our craft to where we wanted it to go. It didn’t matter if it was an air mattress, water skis, paddle boat, fishing boat, or our larger boat; we needed to be able to steer. An air mattress, by itself, would be able to go only where the wind took it; however, with hands paddling, sometimes one more than another, we could navigate to where we wanted to go.

The same was true with skis, the paddleboat, and the gasoline-powered boats. We could be pulled or pushed by the aid of a paddle or propeller, but without the aid of a rudder (on the skis or the boats), we were aimlessly moving across the water. Sailboats and ships are similar, but a bit more complex. They operate on the same principle: propulsion (via sail or propeller), navigation (via a rudder), plus keel weight. Keel weight, which is many thousands of pounds in large craft, is that which keeps the boat upright, as the weight below the surface counterbalances the weight above the surface of the water.

People are similar to boats in that what’s beneath the surface is what really counts. We’ve heard the expression that someone is “shallow,” implying that there’s not a lot beneath the surface. Sometimes this is quite evident to those around us. Other times, it’s less obvious. Are we what we profess to be or portray? Do we go to church on the weekend to portray a certain image and then live a life which is contrary to the other 167 hours of the week, justifying the actions based upon popular vote? Or, do we set a course and then navigate those temptations and storms? We’ve all been gifted free will, but it’s up to us to build upon what’s below the surface to guide our will.