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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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Forest Lightshow


Posted By Summer Camp Staff
June 16, 2015

If you wait long enough after dark, you will be treated to a magical sight. Tiny dots of greenish yellow light drift through the forest and then disappear, only to reappear moments later in a new location. Are they fairies? Wood nymphs? No, they’re fireflies! Fireflies, also known as lightning bugs, are not actually flies or […]

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Butterfly Bonanza!


Posted By Summer Camp Staff
June 10, 2015

Flutter, flap, oooh what’s that? The north woods are teeming with new life this time of year as we welcome birds, buds, blooms, buzzing bees, and of course, BUTTERFLIES! Though they can be hard to see for more than a few seconds, butterflies are exciting to look for. This week we’ve been seeing lots of […]

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June is Bustin’ Out All Over!


Posted By Wolf Ridge Naturalist
May 22, 2015

Saskatoon, sugarplum, shadbush, serviceberry, sarvisberry, chuckley pear.  Juneberry is a sweet tree with many common names, and many species under one genus: Amelanchier.  The small trees are in bloom en masse here, with their 5-petaled white flowers in long groupings called racemes. The many names of this early blooming tree indicate various associations with its seasonal timing.  […]

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A Ground Nesting Bird


Posted By Wolf Ridge Naturalist
May 21, 2015

Over the weekend I took a stroll to a gravel pit near my house to do some rock picking. The vegetation was sparse; a few grasses and ferns poking through the dirt and rocks. Fresh tire tracks from an excavator left a trail of freshly dug up pebbles. As I bent over to examine a […]

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A Disappearing Act: Spring Ephemerals


Posted By Wolf Ridge Naturalist
May 12, 2015

Every year, spring puts on a magic show. As soon as the snow has retreated and the days lengthen, the forest floor comes alive with spring ephemeral wildflowers. Spring ephemerals are, as their name suggests, short-lived. Many spend the winter underground as roots or bulbs until conditions are just right for them to send out […]

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Ravens on Raven Lake Cliffs


Posted By Wolf Ridge Naturalist
April 30, 2015

The raven nest on the side of Marshall Mountain can now be clearly seen from the Raven Lake canoe dock. Typically for a raven cliff nest, it’s below an overhang, and located slightly within the safety of a shallow recess. One or both of the parents can often be seen flying back and forth over […]

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Kits Out and About!


Posted By Wolf Ridge Naturalist
April 27, 2015

With every day here at Wolf Ridge it becomes clear that spring is here! The ravens on the ridge are caring for their young, and the beavers are doing the same. At the ridge, we have three different beaver lodges, each sporting some adorable new kits. This last week while running along the Wolf Lake […]

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