By Jen Bakken
Delano Middle School sixth grade teacher, Rick Haley, recently lent his voice and love of nature to WCCO Radio’s Nature Notes program.
Haley has taken several classes at Hamline University taught by Jim Gilbert, host of WCCO radio’s Nature Notes program. The two nature lovers also shared an interest in amateur radio and developed a connection.
Since Haley has been listening to the Nature Notes program for about 10 years, its no surprise that he offered to be a guest on the show while Gilbert was on vacation.
Over the years, Haley has sent nature notes to Gilbert for the program, but being live on the air via the telephone was a bit unsettling.
“I was nervous,” he admitted. “I was on the phone. I made everyone in the house leave me alone. I had to turn off the radio because the delay confuses you.”
The two guest spots Nov. 2 and Nov. 9 were definitely dates to remember for Haley, and he enjoyed talking about one of his favorite subjects nature.
During one Nature Notes show, Haley read a passage from Gilbert’s recently published book, “Minnesota Nature Notes.” The book includes a photograph taken by Haley of an oriole eating grape jelly.
Haley has had an interest in nature for as long as he can remember.
“I remember teachers who guided and fostered my interests in the science,” he said. “I was in kindergarten when the Russians sent up Sputnik. We all studied science during that time. My mom and dad always encouraged me. There was a camp counselor at Camp Iduhapi on Lake Independence that helped me a lot, too.”
As a teacher for more than 30 years, Haley tries to encourage his students to take an interest in the sciences, and has shared his many hobbies with them.
Haley and his wife, Wendy, have raised their four children, Kari, Dan, Kim, and Sam, in the same community where he lives, works, and spends time observing nature.
Whether it be the sciences, photography, or amateur radio, Haley has many things to share with his students and over the airwaves of WCCO radio, though he isn’t sure if he will make any future appearances.
“I will return to anonymity probably,” he said. “But I’m still going to mail nature notes to Jim Gilbert and Denny Long.”
To listen to Haley’s appearance on WCCO radio, visit www.wccoradio.com/pages/3648.php.