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John Latimer and Scott Hall on Harry Hutchins' Impact on Forest Ecology and More

a typical Tuesday Morning on KAXE/KBXE

Credit photo by Wes Bailey
Harry from the 30th Anniversary of Phenology Party

We lost a great friend this week.  Our Talk on the Wildside host - retired Forest Ecology instructor from Itasca Community College - Harry Hutchins.  Tune in on Monday March 15th for Mixtape with Heidi Holtan at 2 and 10pm.  You'll hear music Harry loved and music that connects us to nature, put together by the listeners of KAXE/KBXE. 

Harry and Sue Hutchins

Harry Hutchins, age 64, passed away on Tuesday, March 9, 2021 at Grand Village. He had courageously fought a mitochondrial disease, MELAS for years. Harry was determined to stay active and could be seen riding his recumbent tricycle on the trails and around town or working out at the YMCA until suffering a stroke last November.

Harry was born in Royal Oak, MI and his love of birds, trees, and the outdoors was awakened by an excellent science teacher at Kimball High School. He attended Michigan State University where he earned two Bachelors of Science, one in Forestry and one in Wildlife Management.  He went on to earn a Master of Science in Forest Ecology at Utah State University, studying the interdependence of the Clark’s Nutcracker bird and the Whitebark Pine tree. He would later travel to Northern China and study the Eurasian Nutcracker and the Siberian Stone Pine.

Harry taught forestry and wildlife classes at The College of Ganado on the Navajo Reservation in Arizona before moving to Grand Rapids, MN where he taught in the Natural Resources Department at Itasca Community College for 30 years.

Harry was involved in many campus and community projects, including landscaping the ICC campus to attract wildlife, helping to design the ski trails at the high school, coaching Nordic Combined skiers at Mount Itasca, working to develop site-level forest management guidelines with the MN Forest Resources Council, working with the Grand Community Solar Garden committee, and cohosting a weekly radio show on KAXE called “A Talk on the Wild Side”.

His passion was for his students, taking them outside as often as possible and teaching them about his favorite forest ecologist, Aldo Leopold. He made a huge impact on many of their lives.

Harry is survived by his wife of 40 years, Sue; son, Tyler; daughter, Holly; sister, Maralan; and brother, Brian. His assistance dog, Hayes, will retire and live with Sue.

Any donations could go towards the Harry Hutchins Forest Ecology Scholarship at Itasca Community Collegein Grand Rapids, MN. There will be a celebration for friends and family this summer.

Heidi Holtan is KAXE's Director of Content and Public Affairs where she manages producers and is the local host of Morning Edition from NPR. Heidi is a regional correspondent for WDSE/WRPT's Duluth Public Television’s Almanac North.