Our Opinion: Guka an example of connecting to nature

Published 5:57 pm Tuesday, December 13, 2022

Guka, the barred owl who has been part of the Jay C. Hormel Nature Center’s educational programming for years, always drew people’s attention each time they came to the Nature Center.

It makes his recent passing that much more significant when you consider how important he was to the overall scheme of what the center hopes to accomplish — introducing people to nature.

Guka and the other educational birds at the center provide a bridge to nature for people. They are a living connection that brings nature to vibrant life each time they are introduced to people.

At the same time, the birds and animals at the Nature Center touch people’s life. Naturally, that includes Nature Center staff, but it also includes people outside of the Nature Center.

Perhaps you remember Charlie Penkava, who was inspired enough to do her own fundraiser for the Minnesota Raptor Center because of the profound affect Guka had on the girl.

It should never be underestimated as to what these kinds of interactions can mean to people. It may be something so simple as just five minutes observing the birds through their enclosures or maybe a live interaction where you get to see the animal out in the open. Either way, these kinds of connections can open an entirely new world to somebody and might well change their lives for the better.