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Letter: Ause instills love of the outdoors

To the Editor:

What a great article by Bruce Ause in the weekend edition. Most Red Wingites, after 40 years, know about Bruce and his founding of the Red Wing Environmental Center.

Due to Bruce’s modesty there are many other things about his career less well known. He came to Red Wing in about 1970 at the urging of Bill Sweasy Sr., Red Wing’s own "Man For All Seasons" who had the vision to create an environmental group for our youth and the wisdom to hire Bruce for the endeavor.

The most notable omission from the column was the teaching element of the ELC and Bruce’s leadership in that area. If not the first, the Red Wing ELC was arguably the best.

Several times a year Bruce would take his students to all parts of North America and Canada. Through the generosity of Red Wing Shoe, they were guests on its plane and there was no destination too remote or rugged that they missed.

There have certainly been thousands of his students in his program in his years as director. Besides the far flung destinations, Bruce spent many hours in the local environment, including building a rustic cabin in Featherstone Township, Wacouta Bay and the Cannon Bottoms. Because the teaching hours are in small 10-15 student groups, they aren't as well recorded except in the memories of his students. The one exception is a fine photo narrative book of about 20 years ago, recording many of his trips with his students.

There are many who genuinely love the environment, but Bruce has that rare quality of being able to convey that love to others, particularly our youth. For that reason he deserves the community’s gratitude. He is truly a unique and wonderful resource.

Richard W. Johnson