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Hermantown teen who's sleeping outside makes appearance on 'A Prairie Home Companion'

Rudy Hummel, 16, of Hermantown zips into his many layers while preparing to sleep in his quinzhee in the yard of his home in December. Hummel is sleeping outside every night for a year. File / News Tribune

Rudy Hummel of Hermantown made a brief appearance on the “A Prairie Home Companion” radio show Saturday in St. Paul.

Garrison Keillor told the audience Hummel’s story, which was first reported in the News Tribune late last year. Hummel is sleeping outdoors for an entire year, raising money for the Western Lake Superior Habitat for Humanity and the Hawk Ridge Bird Observatory through his web site,

Keillor asked Hummel about sleeping outside his home in a quinzee, or snow house.

Keillor called it a “heroic experiment” and suggested to Hummel that despite assumptions that it would be a cold experience in this coldest of winters, having the right equipment is key.

“It’s fun, isn’t it,” Keillor said.

“Yes, it is,” Hummel agreed.

Keillor compared Hummel’s project to that of a bear hibernating and asked Hummel if he ever worried about a bear coming into his “cave.”

“I’d probably hit it with a shovel,” Hummel said.

Keillor then asked Hummel about his plans to study paleontology in college. Hummel said he is leaning toward state colleges in Utah or Montana.

Keillor suggested that at the end of his studies he get a job in New York.

“You’re going to wind up at the Museum of Natural History,” Keillor said. “Central Park is right there and that’d be a great place to sleep outdoors.”

The audience roared in laughter.

“That’d be fun,” Hummel said.

Hummel’s story has gone national and international since the News Tribune wrote about his experiences in December. He fully expects to keep sleeping outdoors into June.

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