Kayaking with Scott Hanna

During the many events going on over the Water Festival, attendees will get the chance to test their kayaking skills. Scott Hanna, the Rock Gym coordinator at Albert Lea Public Schools Community Education Environmental Learning Center, will provide instruction at the Jay C. Hormel Nature Center pond.

After meeting Executive Director Larry Dolphin, Hanna became involved with the nature center, providing different equipment for some events. Eventually, Dolphin and Hanna discussed water activities.

“I had suggested they try out kayaking, [which is] totally different than canoeing,” Hanna said.

He and Albert Lea’s learning center will provide kayaks and paddles, as well as the instruction for the day. Hanna said it costs around $1,300 to $1,400 for a kayak and paddles, so the learning center and the Jay C. Hormel Nature Center were able to work out a system to use the equipment while also letting people know what the learning center has to offer.

“[We hope to] expose the community to kayaking as an outdoor activity,” Hanna said. “We in turn get to expose people to activities in Albert Lea.”

After partnering with the nature center last year went well, Hanna was happy to do it again this year. The partnership is cost effective, and allows both the nature center and the learning center to keep costs down and still present opportunities to the local residents.

While participants aren’t required to bring anything, Hanna recommended bringing a towel.

“I recommend people come planning on getting wet,” Hanna said.

Kayakers are required to wear one, which the nature center will provide. Kayakers will stay on the nature center pond and will not be allowed to go down river. Kayaking will take place from 1 to 4 p.m. on July 19, and there will be staff on site to help. The event is for people from any experience level, especially beginners, to get a feel for kayaking.

“We expect people to know nothing when they get there. If there’s ever a time to try something different, this is it,” Hanna said.

Although Hanna doesn’t know how many people will show up, he expects people to be hesitant to sign up and commit to anything. But he hopes word of mouth will do the trick for future events.

“My expectations are adventuresome souls will show up and have a great time, and the ones that don’t will be sorry they missed it,” Hanna said.

People must pre-register for the event, and Hanna said he prefers waivers for anyone under 18. Waivers can be found at www.albertlea.k12.mn.us. For more information or to register for events, call 507-437-7519 or visit www.hormelnaturecenter.org/water-festival.html.

 

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