Cogwheel Archive

Rotary Cogwheel | 02.13.14

February 12, 2014

Today: Yoshino, Exchange Experience (B. Abdella)

Birthdays: Victoria Langer (2/6), Robert Craig (2/7), and Kyle Nordine (2/14)

Next Week: TBA

Last Week:

The River Bend Nature Center in Faribault is a good counter-weight to our media-obsessed culture. It offers a wide variety of outdoor experiences that help all generations get off the couch and out the door to better appreciate the natural environment.

Ben Van Gundy is its new executive director. A native Iowan, past and present Rotary member with a degree in Fisheries and Wildlife Biology from Iowa State, Ben is in the business of conservation education. His mission is to inoculate upcoming generations with a love of the outdoors.

“Kids don’t get outside as much as they used to,” he said. “Those who appreciate camping, canoeing, hiking will set future policy.”

River Bend has been around for more than 30 years. Located on the southeast edge of Faribault, it includes 750 acres of rich habitat. There are hiking trails, ski trails and a 6,000 foot interpretive center used for classes and meetings. Some 15,000 students, K-12, from Faribault, Northfield and Owatonna make use of it annually. The nature center is also home to wildflowers of many varieties, including the endangered Dwarf Trout Lilly.

Van Gundy said they promote good environmental stewardship and healthy lifestyles through events and programs for all ages. There are opportunities tailored for women, single people, grandparents, senior citizens and adolescents.

River Bend operates with four staff people and a $400,000 budget. Most of the revenue comes from individual memberships and donations, a small endowment and program fees. Interpretive center hours are: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturdays. The trails are open daily between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m.

To learn more, go to:

Guests: Rebecca Finley (Reese)

Scholarship Enhancement: Our one and only guest, Rebecca Finley


We will be hosting a Group Study Exchange (GSE) team from Sweden April 30-May 3. We will need host families and other support for this visit. If you can help, contact Lee Dilley.

Rotary Friendship Exchange to Buenos Aires, Argentina will be April 30–May 10.2014 There will be 10 people selected, including a team leader. Airfare is approximately $1,500 roundtrip. For more information and application or contact Cheryl Kohout,

If you want to view the keynote address delivered by meteorologist Paul Douglas at the January 18 Northfield Climate Summit, tune into Northfield Cable NTV Channel 12 Monday, Feb. 17, at 8:30 p.m. or Tuesday, Feb. 18, at 7:30 a.m.

Coming Up:

February 20 — TBA
February 27 — Craig Hall, Classification (V. Dilley)
March 6 —
March 13 – Lucas, Exchange Experience (Frago and Lasswell)