Welcome to our monthly newsletter!

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

Nature Center News

Guka's Passing:

It is with great sorrow that we bring the news of the passing of our beloved barred owl, Guka. He has been a staple of programs and visits to the nature center for 17 years. While Guka’s enclosure will remain empty for the immediate future, there will be a time where we will find another raptor in need of a great home and another education bird will join our family.

Youth Ski Club Begins:

Looking for something fun to do during your off-season to keep in shape? Cross-country skiing is a great winter sport for all athletic abilities. You do not need to know how to ski or own your own equipment to sign up - be sure to take advantage of this great opportunity! To learn more, follow this link.

We're Hiring for a Nature Center Facilities Concierge:

The Nature Center offers three facilities for rent to the public; our Gordon Lonning Resource Room, Classrooms, and Ruby Rupner Auditorium. This position works to ensure that these spaces are utilized safely, and within the rules/guidelines set by the Nature Center and City of Austin. To learn more, follow this link.

New Trail Vehicle:

The Nature Center staff would like to thank the Friends for our new trail vehicle! It will be used for grooming ski trails, for conserving our natural spaces, and for accessing the far reaches of our property. This will provide staff with a safer, more accessible way of caring for our property.

Friends Focus

Thank you to our donors!

  • Paul Worlein through the Austin Area Foundation, $25,000
  • James Mackay and Lori Johnson, $5,000
  • Kurt and Annette Mueller, $2,000
  • Gary and Marjorie Zimmerman, $1,000
  • Jeff and LeaAnn Ettinger $5,000
  • Karen Herreid, $5,000
  • Brian and Jill Andrews, $1,000
  • Jeff and Diane Baker, $1,000

A special thank you to donations in memory of Ryan Baldus, currently reaching $1,645

Coming Up at the Nature Center


  • Family Cross Country Ski Lessons; $25 per family: Saturday, February 4; 8:30 - 10:30 am [Register]
  • Free Live Bird Program; Wednesday, February 8; 4:00 pm, Interpretive Center Classroom 
  • Adult Cross Country Ski Lessons (16+); $10 per person: Saturday, February 11; 8:30 - 10:30 am [Register]
  • Candle-lit Cross-Country Ski Evening; Saturday, February 18; 5:30 - 8:30 pm, Back ski rental room - please enter through east back door
  • 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 
  • Family Maple Syruping Class - Session 2; $15 per family: Saturday, March 25; 1:00 - 2:30 pm [Register]

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 buckthorn, reed canary grass, and other invasive species.
  • Animal transport — Bring birds of prey to and from the Raptor Center at the University of Minnesota St. Paul campus.

February Nature Note

February Nature Note: The Wiley Coyote

By Kelly Bahl, Outreach Naturalist

In February the coyotes will start their search for a mate to have pups. They mate for life and search for a partner via a series of calls, yips, and howls. Because these canines are so vocal and have over 10 different kinds of calls a lot of people overestimate how many coyotes they hear in the distance. What sounds like 10 or more coyotes might only be 2 or 3. They will become noisy when in search for a mate, defending their territory, or a recent meal. To read the full article check out our website!

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
  • Enjoy a members-only bus tour day trip. Cost of bus paid by Friends, participants take care of their own admission fees (when applicable) and food.

Join the Friends here!

(507) 437-7519  



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