Hawk Ridge has a rich legacy of people with a passion for the good of birds. People like Dr. Pershing "Jack" Hofslund, Dave & Molly Evans, Jan & John Green, Dr. Gerald Niemi, Dave Carman, Kim Eckert, Frank Nicoletti, Debbie (Waters) Petersen, and Julie O'Connor, to name a few, have inspired countless numbers about Hawk Ridge. I am continually inspired by those stories and experiences. I'm also deeply touched by the stories of the visitors, members, staff, board, and volunteers of Hawk Ridge. On Sunday, September 22, I made a personal connection with one of those long-time members/visitors of Hawk Ridge, Darryl Hill. This was his 53rd year visiting Hawk Ridge! Darryl took the time to print off pictures from slides during the early years and tell me about them. (Photos included are courtesy of Darryl Hill)
He shared his story with me of attending a science meeting at UMD on hawks led by Dr. Hofslund, which drew him to Hawk Ridge in 1961. During that time he was a Physics teacher in Mankato and later a principal at Owatonna High School.
|Hawk Ridge Founder, Dr. Pershing "Jack" Hofslund|
|Kim Eckert, First Naturalist at Hawk Ridge|
He so enjoyed his visit, he then began to bring his family up each year, his kids would bring their friends, and they would camp. Darryl recalled his biggest day at Hawk Ridge with 49,000 raptors counted! (Note: our whole season total for this fall 2013 is currently only around 25,000).
Family of Darryl Hill - early years at Hawk Ridge
He also recalled being at Hawk Ridge embracing all elements of weather - rain, fog, and snow. He even gave several bird talks with his slides to other bird groups, like the Bluebird Recovery Program, about Hawk Ridge. Darryl continues to make the annual trip with a small group of close friends from Owatonna, MN. In his spare time, besides birding, he enjoys teaching table tennis. I'm so glad I sat on the rocks with Darryl that day. My soul was warmed meeting him in person and now knowing his story. The legacy of Hawk Ridge continues, thanks to people like Darryl.
|A symbolic release by Darryl of another Hawk Ridge journey|
P.S. If you have a story to share about your connection to Hawk Ridge and what inspired you, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 218-428-6209. I'd love to hear from you!