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Raven Lake Nest — Up Close!


Posted By Wolf Ridge Naturalist
April 11, 2016

As winter is attempting to come to an end we have observed a pair of Ravens nesting at Wolf Ridge’s own Raven Lake! During winter months, ravens congregate in groups to forage for food while other birds are migrating south. As spring arrives, they are quick to break up into their mated pairs and begin […]

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Ravens Are Nesting!


Posted By Wolf Ridge Naturalist
March 22, 2016

Standing on the dock at Raven Lake, we used our binoculars to watch a sleek black bird dip its wings and gently land on a dark ledge on the cliffs of Marshall Mountain. The “diamond of doom” shaped tail gave the bird away – it was a Common Raven. We watched as the raven settled […]

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Sappy Spring Run


Posted By Wolf Ridge Naturalist
March 15, 2016

As we are experiencing the early signs of spring, naturalist and sap alike are starting to run! During one of those runs, we noticed blue bags hanging from a group of trees a little off highway 6. Upon inspection, we realized some of the locals have begun their annual process of tapping maple trees and […]

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Mystery Creature From the Deep


Posted By Wolf Ridge Naturalist
March 1, 2016

We have a new education animal with an exciting story. Our local bait shop contacted us this week. They had caught what looked to them like a mudpuppy or salamander larva in a bait trap. Once bait is taken out of a lake and transported elsewhere, it can no longer be released into the wild, so they […]

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A Rude Awakening


Posted By Wolf Ridge Naturalist
February 25, 2016

With such mild temperatures, some trees here in the north woods are experiencing early leaf out.  All around the Wolf Ridge property, we continue to see the opening of buds when the temperatures rise. February 12 Tree buds are grown at the end of the summer using excess sugars, and then go dormant until spring time rolls around. […]

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How are Deer Doing This Winter?


Posted By Wolf Ridge Naturalist
February 9, 2016

This morning, during our weekly phenology walk with Peter Harris, we spent a considerable amount of time tromping through deep snow, covering our cheeks form the cold wind, and mentioning how chilly out it was. Although this winter has been relatively mild according to Northeastern Minnesota standards, today was harsh. Click to see full size […]

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Winter Birds: A Chilly Thrill


Posted By Wolf Ridge Naturalist
February 6, 2016

Long before the first curls of sunlight hit the frosty trees this Friday, a group of Wolf Ridge naturalists hopped in a van to visit a nearby birding hotspot- the Sax Zim Bog. The Sax Zim Bog is a beautiful winter habitat for birds, moose, wolves, and lots of other wildlife, and the bog draws […]

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Oak Abscission


Posted By Wolf Ridge Naturalist
January 10, 2016

Pin oak fall leaf photo by Rod Kuehn We’re in the bitter cold of January, but the Pin Oak outside Wolf Ridge’s Science Center is still holding onto its leaves as though it were fall. You’ve probably seen oak trees near you that also hold onto their leaves through the winter. What’s the story? Did […]

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Keeping Our Heads in the Clouds


Posted By Wolf Ridge Naturalist
November 12, 2015

This past week, Wolf Ridge was in a fog that lasted for multiple days. Fog occurs when the temperature of the air cools to the dewpoint: the temperature at which water condensates onto particles in the air. Over the past week, a front of warm air moving across the colder surface of Lake Superior cooled […]

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Snow Bunting Season


Posted By Wolf Ridge Naturalist
November 6, 2015

Here at Wolf Ridge we are starting to see the first signs of the upcoming winter season. One of these signs is the presence of winter bird species. A particular species we have seen in large amounts is the snow bunting (Plectrophenax nivalis). These birds travel from their breeding grounds in the Arctic tundra down […]

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Cranberry Road?


Posted By Wolf Ridge Naturalist
October 7, 2015

“Your mother was a hamster, and your father smelled of ELDERBERRIES!” – Monty Python What’s in a name? The Wolf Ridge road, otherwise known as Cranberry Road, has its namesake in the high bush cranberry. Otherwise known as cranberry viburnum, the high bush cranberry has been in full fruiting fabulous-ness the last two weeks. High […]

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Spotted Tussock Moth


Posted By Wolf Ridge Naturalist
October 5, 2015

One of the first critters we noticed here at Wolf Ridge was a very unique looking caterpillar. Walking around campus we all noticed these fuzzy black and yellow banded caterpillars with spiky white hairs and had no idea what they were! We very quickly learned they are called the Spotted Tussock Moth. The Spotted Tussock […]

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Mushrooming on the North Shore


Posted By Wolf Ridge Naturalist
September 30, 2015

This fall season mushrooms were abundantly lining the forest floor. We saw many different sizes, colors and shapes! There were the bright orange and yellow, Fly Amanitas, a 5 pound Giant Puffball, uniquely shaped Lobster Mushrooms, and the Orange Jelly on decaying wood. Not only were the mushrooms visibly appealing but we were pleased to […]

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An End and a Beginning


Posted By Summer Camp Staff
August 21, 2015

As summer camp winds down, I walk along the trails and feel pangs of nostalgia. This is due in part to the normal process of leaving a place; as I visit my favorite spots for possibly the last time, memories of the past year flash through my mind. But the nostalgia is heightened by the […]

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Musings on a Morning Moment


Posted By Wolf Ridge Naturalist
August 10, 2015

The view of the valley overlooking Sawmill Creek   I went outside this morning to observe everything I could in five to ten minutes. After all, life is busy around Wolf Ridge and sometimes when you remember to appreciate where we work and play you only have five to ten minutes to devote to it. […]

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Edibles Everywhere


Posted By Wolf Ridge Naturalist
July 30, 2015

This past week I taught a Wild Edibles class with a group of Junior Naturalists excited to learn about edible plants they might find on their trip to Quetico Provincial Park. Lucky for them, late July is a wonderful time to sample the bounty of the Northwoods forest. Before heading out to harvest, we first discussed […]

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A Woolly Alder What?


Posted By Summer Camp Staff
July 29, 2015

At the beginning of my Wolf Ridge adventure, back in October, I was walking up the trail from Wolf Lake when I spotted something strange. A wispy, fuzzy, white substance coated the branch of an alder tree. Was it a mold? A fungus? I had no idea. Upon questioning my professor and doing some research, […]

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Mutualism: You Scratch My Back, I’ll Scratch Yours!


Posted By Summer Camp Staff
July 17, 2015

It has often been said that “it’s a dog-eat-dog world out there”. However, upon closer inspection, it appears that many organisms work together to survive rather than competing with one another. This type of relationship is called “mutualism” because the organisms involved both play a role in helping each other survive and thrive. A prime […]

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Caught on Camera


Posted By Summer Camp Staff
July 3, 2015

This past weekend was full of animal encounters via the trail cam. A group of phenology enthusiasts led by naturalist Jim Gilbert (known for his nature articles in the Star Tribune and his Sunday morning radio show on WCCO) set up a camera next to Sawmill Creek to see who utilized one of many beaver […]

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Chestnut Sided Who?


Posted By Wolf Ridge Naturalist
June 23, 2015

Pleased-pleased-pleased-to-meet-you. High pitched songs burst through the trees as we walk the still dewey trails. This week a lively group of adult learners are at Wolf Ridge for the Beginning Bird Banding course hosted on campus and offered through the Institute for Bird Populations. They rise early each morning to learn the practices of bird banding, […]

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