February E-Blast

Here you can find news, upcoming events, and volunteer opportunities. Thank you for keeping up with us!

Nature Center News

Applications for our Kevin Dammen Summer Mentorship Program are open! The mentorship program is open to students 13 years of age and older. Mentees may help with and participate in a variety of activities, including classes, programs, canoe/kayak rental, etc. To learn more and apply, click the link here.

Welcome to our newest Friends Board Member, Jeff Kastl!

"As a new member of the board, I'm excited by the prospect of making a positive impact on the advancement of environmental education and to our community's hub for connecting with nature." - Jeff

Welcome to our newest Friends Board Member, Erin Grush!

"The Jay C. Hormel Nature Center was one of the first places we were introduced to when our family moved to Austin eleven years ago. Our children loved nature play days and other programs. We love being able to rent canoes in the summer and skis in the winter. As our children have gotten older, the mentorship program has been a great value to us all in so many ways. We are so grateful for this gem we have access to in our community." - Erin

Our Naturalists wrapped up 8th grade field trip programs with Austin Public Schools, schools within the county, and beyond. Students learned how to build a shelter, build a fire, cross country ski, and more! We are gearing up to begin maple syruping with regional 4th graders this March.

We're on the news! A special thanks to Twin Cities Live for spreading the word about our trackchairs; all-terrain vehicles that the Nature Center offers for free to the public to increase accessibility to the natural world. To learn more, click the link here.

Friends Focus

We currently have 163 Friends members and counting, and 88 lifetime members! 2023 annual Friends memberships have garnered $13,260.

How can you give back?

  • Become a member if you're not already.
  • Donate; donations can go towards planting trees, our Kevin Dammen Mentorship Program, the purchase of a Planetarium, our internship program, and more!
  • Volunteer; we could always use help staffing our interpretive center, transporting injured raptors, or with conservation projects. Reach out to us to find what interests you.

Coming Up at the Nature Center:

  • Family Maple Syruping Class - Session 1; $15 per family: Saturday, March 11; 1:00 - 2:30 pm [Register]
  • Friends Members Only - Free Family Maple Syruping Class: Saturday, March 18; 1:00 - 2:30 pm - MUST RSVP 
  • FREE Winter Sowing Class - Join Master Gardener Don Smith to learn how to sow seeds for Spring: Back Classroom, March 23rd, 6:30 pm
  • Family Maple Syruping Class - Session 2; $15 per family: Saturday, March 25; 1:00 - 2:30 pm [Register]
  • FREE Live Bird Program - Wednesday, March 1; 4:00 pm

Volunteer Opportunities:

  • Staff the Interpretive Center — There are always days that we are looking for help, specifically on the weekends. Fill out our volunteer contact form and we will add you to our email list. 
  • Tours — Give tours driving one of our electric vehicles along the Nature Center trails.​
  • Combat Invasive Species — Learn to identify and remove buckthornhoneysuckle, and other invasive species.
  • Animal transport — Bring birds of prey to and from the Raptor Center at the University of Minnesota St. Paul campus.

March Nature Note - Maple Syruping

By Adrianna Meiergerd, Teacher/Naturalist Intern

It’s almost that time of year again where maple sap is flowing directly into the veins of the staff here at the Jay C. Hormel Nature Center.

Learn all about why trees produce sap, why sap is tapped from trees during this time of year, and how sap is turned into syrup in March's Nature Note. To read more, click here.

Become a Friends Member

Why join the friends? Well, our Friends allow us to offer more high quality programming, conserve our natural spaces, and continue to grow! As a friends member, you will receive...

  • an invitation to the Friends Annual Meeting
  • $5.00 off all Summer Adventure Programs
  • 15% off all Nature Center merchandise​​
  • the chance to participate in members-only events and classes for youth and families at the Nature Center
  • a discounted annual bus trip

Join the Friends here!

Jay C. Hormel Nature Center

(507) 437-7519


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