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Tracking Snowshoe Hare in Winter


Posted By Wolf Ridge Naturalist
November 16, 2017

Snowshoe Hare, Lepus americanus, is the most common “rabbit” of Minnesota’s North Woods. Living in the dense thickets of northern coniferous forests, the snowshoe hare feasts on a bounty of needles and buds during the winter months. In the summer, the snowshoe hare is overall a dark brown color with black-tipped hair and a white […]

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Leave it to Beaver


Posted By Wolf Ridge Naturalist
November 16, 2017

As the saying goes, beavers were and are busy as usual this year preparing for and living through winter. They spent the spring and summer working on their dams and lodges, making sure they remained in tip top shape. As the weather cools down, beavers need to look ahead to the even colder winter months […]

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Thin Ice! 


Posted By Wolf Ridge Naturalist
November 7, 2017

It’s that time of year again where the temperature starts to dip below freezing, especially at night. Because of this many of the puddles, streams, and ponds have begun to form ice. The ice may come quickly but generally is still thin as the days stay above freezing. Remember, ice is not safe to walk […]

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Meet Our New Animals!


Posted By Hannah Edstrom
November 3, 2017

We have a few new animal friends here at Wolf Ridge, let’s learn a little bit about them!   Our first new resident is a Big Brown Bat (Eptesicus fuscus) named Betelgeuse, who is very social and outgoing. His hibernation was disrupted and didn’t have much fur on his back when found. So he was […]

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Changing Chickadees


Posted By Wolf Ridge Naturalist
October 30, 2017

Keep an eye out for changes in chickadee behavior in the coming weeks. To prepare for winter, chickadees form flocks in the late fall. The flocks are formed around a dominant mating pair and contain other adults and juveniles. These flocks of 6-10 individuals provide protection and food security for the birds.   Try at […]

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It’s Winter!


Posted By Wolf Ridge Naturalist
October 30, 2017

Wolf Ridge experienced its first snow of the year this week! An unexpected 10 inches! The heavy wet snow stuck to the trees, bending tamaracks and small shrubs over the paths onto the ground, making for creative path walking experiences. The view off the observation deck has totally changed, with only a few big-toothed aspens […]

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Fall Phenology: Setting the Stage


Posted By Wolf Ridge Naturalist
October 8, 2017

  The change of colors in autumn never fails to bring a sense of wonder. People will travel hundreds of miles to witness brilliant oranges, bright yellows, and deep reds. Leaf peepers, a term that I heard just recently, are those that travel to view and photograph fall foliage. So, what is going on “back […]

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Which Hawk is Soaring By?


Posted By Wolf Ridge Naturalist
September 15, 2017

Sharp-shinned hawks and broad winged hawks have started their migration over Wolf Ridge! Several were documented near the observation deck behind the science center. A notable difference between the two is the flight behavior. A sharp-shinned hawk will flap much more than the broad winged hawk, who glides smoothly through the air.   These hawks […]

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Fun Ephemeral Finds


Posted By Wolf Ridge Naturalist
May 22, 2017

May is the optimal time to engage in a wildflower hike. Bloodroot (Sanguinaria canadensi), a flower with 8-10 white petals, can be found in the lower valleys of Wolf Ridge. The name bloodroot comes from red juice that emerges from a broken stem. This juice is poisonous, but can be used as a natural dye. […]

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Belted Kingfisher Nesting


Posted By Wolf Ridge Naturalist
May 8, 2017

One of the many birds migrating back to Wolf Ridge this spring is the Belted Kingfisher (Megaceryle alcyon). These birds that let out a loud, rattling call are primarily fish eaters, which means that their homes can be found near a body of water. A male Belted Kingfisher will obtain a territory that may include […]

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Love is in the Air


Posted By Wolf Ridge Naturalist
April 7, 2017

This time of the year in northern Minnesota we are witnessing some interesting behavior from the birds. Though seemingly unusual, these visuals and sounds are all typical of mating behaviors. All birds have their own unique songs and actions, but some highlights around this area include that from Common Ravens, Bald Eagles, Pileated Woodpeckers, and […]

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Tap, Tap, Tap!


Posted By Wolf Ridge Naturalist
April 7, 2017

It’s that time of year when the maple sap is running! Wolf Ridge happens to be right in the middle of a sugar bush, a section of forest dominated by sugar maple trees. We waited to begin tapping until the right time – when the temperature is below freezing at night and above freezing during […]

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Chemis-tree


Posted By Wolf Ridge Naturalist
March 22, 2017

Earlier this week, Maria and I were enjoying a steaming hot cup of cedar tea. Cedar tea is not only tasty, but nutritious!  The northern white cedar (thuja occidentalis) was called ‘arbor vitae’, or ‘tree of life’ in Latin by early European explorers because its high vitamin C content prevented diseases like scurvy. As we […]

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Winter Waterspouts Over Lake Superior


Posted By Wolf Ridge Naturalist
December 21, 2016

On December 13th, 2016, as we traveled down the hill towards Highway 61 with Wolf Ridge resident citizen scientist, Peter Harris, we noticed strange cloud formations over Lake Superior. There was a great mass of “sea smoke” rising off of the waters of the lake and, from that, columns of the “smoke” rising to meet the clouds […]

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Leaning Trees: Nature’s Dab


Posted By Wolf Ridge Naturalist
December 12, 2016

On a hike for the Superior View Hike class, one may notice a large number of birch trees that all lean in the same direction. What caused these trees to do such a thing? We had the same question!   Upon consulting human encyclopedia and Wolf Ridge naturalist Peter Harris, we discovered that there was a […]

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Chickadee ‘Hey Sweetie’ Already?


Posted By Wolf Ridge Naturalist
December 12, 2016

On a blustery winter walk on Wolf Ridge campus, naturalist Hannah Edstrom heard something rather unusual. Coming from a nearby tree, a flock of chickadees began emitting a loud “fee-bee” call. Not having heard that sound in the winter before, Hannah ran to Wolf Ridge’s resident bird expert Nathan Cross. When Hannah told Nathan about […]

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Forest Chicken!


Posted By Wolf Ridge Naturalist
December 9, 2016

During their Animals Signs class, Jeffers Pond students headed off trail to explore. Lucky for them, they spotted a Ruffed Grouse! The students were thereafter very excited to look for more signs of the “forest chicken” – a nickname given due to their shape and similar movement.   Ruffed Grouse have a short, triangular crest and a […]

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Signs of Spring in Fall??


Posted By Wolf Ridge Naturalist
November 17, 2016

  During a recent muddle through the marsh, a bright yellow color stood out on the ground. Marsh marigolds, Caltha palustris, typically bloom in April or May. This year we were visited by these marigolds quite early. Why the early bloom? Record high temperatures were reached on eight of the first fourteen days of November […]

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The Not so EVER…Evergreen


Posted By Wolf Ridge Naturalist
November 7, 2016

The American Tamarack has some qualities that distinguish it from other members of the pine family. As with most pine family trees, they have a large area of cleared trunk due to the lower, mature limbs dying and dropping off. But unlike others such as the lodgepole pine, fir, and spruce, the tamarack’s roots grow […]

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Beaver Caches


Posted By Carrie Anderson
October 17, 2016

Observation challenge: can you find the beaver in this picture?? We’ve been looking carefully on Raven Lake (pictured) and Sawmill Creek to find beavers and beaver signs. We have found beavers, lodges and dams, trails and canals, and evidence of chewing throughout the summer and fall. But this past week, a new sign of beaver […]

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