New Summer, New Faces!


Here are the newest members of the River Bend Nature Center family! These three ladies are here for the entirety of the summer, helping out and teaching summer camps to all the little humans that come walking through our doors! Scroll down to get to know the new faces of RBNC!



Hello! I’m MacKenzie Nagel, but most people just call me Kenzie! I graduated from Bemidji State University this last Spring with my Literature and Arts Bachelor’s Degree, and will graduate this Fall with my Bachelor’s Degree in English Education. I LOVE the craziness, spontaneity, and creativity of kids- they make ME think out of the box on the daily and I just can’t get enough of that! I have a huge extended family, and am the eldest of five, so family is the core of my very existence. I am an avid reader, lover of all movies, Disney Karaoke World Finalist, professional sarcastic comment giver, 22 year old. I am constantly referred to as the “female Steve Erwin” if that gives you a better picture in your mind (not because I’m amazing with animals, but because I am so overwhelmingly charming …and the Australian accent helps.)


Favorite food: ANYTHING THAT IS MADE OUT OF POTATOES. And Chinese food.

Life motto: “Let your freak flag fly!”

Favorite Trail: Rabbit Trail, for SURE!

MN Spirit Animal: Coyote. I am very good at adapting to new situations, I love joking around, and I find joy in all the things I do. I am super close to my family, love to work with children, and know how to be myself! I feel like that is the very core of a coyote!

Favorite Outdoor Recreation: Sleeping…….outside… a hammock.



Sydney (Syd)


My name is Safari Sydney, Syd to my co-workers. I am a recent graduate of the University of Tennessee, Knoxville and decided to leave the Great Smoky Mountains for the Minnesota plains. I enjoy biking and hiking around River Bend, my favorite trail being Trout Lily since it follows the river bank and is a shaded, peaceful ride. My favorite outdoor activity would have to be sea or flat water kayaking, I’ve always had luck seeing a variety of wildlife as a kayaker. I enjoy eating hot wings. My Minnesota spirit animal would be a Plains Hog-nosed Snake because these fascinating little snakes fake their own deaths and flatten their necks like cobras to defend themselves, pretty clever!




I’m from Grand Meadow, MN. I am the oldest of 4 kids. I graduated from Winona State University in 2013 and majored in Recreation & Tourism. I’ve been teaching Environmental Education for a few years now and have travelled somewhat extensively throughout the U.S. working in different places. My favorite outdoor recreational activities would probably be hiking, biking, fishing, and kayaking. My favorite trails here at River Bend so far are Walnut and Raccoon. My favorite foods are Buffalo Wings (Garlic Parmesan), BBQ Ribs, and Chicken Fettucine Alfredo. My Minnesota spirit animal would be a lynx. My life motto would be the Henry David Thoreau quote, “Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined.”



That’s all we have for THIS blog post folks!

And remember!!

Adventure is out there!



Read for a Good Time!



To the Newbies of River Bend!

WELCOOME! Just a few short weeks ago, I too, was a newbie of RBNC. I lived and grew up in Owatonna, and somehow had never heard of this magical little corner of the world until I filled out an application to be a Temporary Environmental Educator this summer! (Which is by far the best decision I have ever made.)


The first thing you see while walking into the Nature Center, is a smile from every employee and amazing murals covering every wall. Kids will be thrilled to see and possibly meet our various adorable Animal Ambassadors, fur friends are welcomed (on a leash) and will be amazed at the many trails they can sniff and walk their four paws on, and the general public will love the scenery and the pure smell of the outdoors.


Here are some of my FAVORITE MUST-SEE spots!



If you are looking for an entrance into another world, or have a daughter who is obsessed with faeries or Rapunzel from the Disney movie Tangled, THIS is the trail for you! The moment you step foot onto Rabbit Trail you are engulfed in long grasses and tall trees…add to that, blue skies, and you have yourself a perfect day and a gorgeous hike. In the early summer this picture perfect path turns into a sea of purple when Dames Rocket (an invasive but beautiful flower) pops up and blooms. This is a GORGEOUS MUST SEE!

Trail Difficulty: Easy

Length: 2 miles there and back


(photo credit: Jen)

If you are looking for a SUPER SHORT “hike” or it just rained for 5 days straight and you need to get out of the house for the afternoon…go to our charming home grown waterfall! The trickling of the waters, and the buzz of animal life around you provides the perfect background noise for a short adventure! Have the kids search for salamanders, see if they can make out some floating water bugs gliding on the streams surface, walk down the stream a ways to spot some deer…and don’t forget to take a gorgeous picture on our leaning tree on the way out!

Trail Difficulty: Medium (simply because it is somewhat steep)







Fact of the matter is, ANYWHERE you go while at River Bend Nature Center holds possible adventures and memories! So get out there!


This is Kenzie, SIGNING OUT!

And remember……!!!!


(photo credit: Google)