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The Cold-Loving Snowfly


Posted By Wolf Ridge Naturalist
February 2, 2015

Over the last few weeks I’ve been occasionally surprised by the sight of tiny, arachnid-like creatures ambling across trails, dark and clear against the white snow. Upon closer inspection, these beings, though having their legs raised above their bodies spider-style, turn out to be true insects of some sort. They are wingless craneflies of the […]

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Is Finland the New Miami?


Posted By Wolf Ridge Naturalist
January 27, 2015

When observing bird feeders this time of year in Northern Minnesota, you may notice many striped little birds fluttering about. There are three primary birds that you are likely seeing, all of which may look similar without the use of binoculars. These three birds are Black-Capped Chickadees, Common Redpolls and Pine Siskins.          […]

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Is it Cold Enough for Minnesota’s Plants?


Posted By Wolf Ridge Naturalist
January 13, 2015

Last week was the coldest of the year (alright, alright, it was the first week of the year). While some of us might not have enjoyed the frigid weather, it was actually crucial to many of the plants at Wolf Ridge. Cold temperatures help plants go through a process called vernalization, during which the flowers, […]

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The Month of Winter Fog


Posted By Wolf Ridge Naturalist
December 23, 2014

View From the top of Mystical Mountain, December 15, 2014 This month Wolf Ridge has seen its fair share of fog. Why is this you may wonder? Well fog is a type of cloud formed when the relative humidity is close to 100% and the dew point and temperature are close together. These conditions allow […]

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Trees like ghosts!


Posted By Wolf Ridge Naturalist
December 22, 2014

  Last weekend the icy ghost of hoar frost overtook the flora of Wolf Ridge ELC.  Hoar frost forms when water vapor in the air comes in contact with a surface at or below the dew point temperature. The dew point must be below freezing causing the water vapor to immediately freeze as ice crystals on […]

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The Florida of the North


Posted By Wolf Ridge Naturalist
December 9, 2014

Did you know that heading south for the winter is all relative? While most of us consider “the tropics” to be Florida and Mexico, for some migrants, Minnesota is as far south as a snowbird needs to travel. Oh and when I mean snowbirds, I’m talking about actual birds! One species, the white-winged crossbill, will lay their eggs […]

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Sunken Treasure


Posted By Wolf Ridge Naturalist
December 8, 2014

Northern Minnesota was known for the logging industry. Many logs were floated across Lake Superior to other areas of Minnesota and Wisconsin. While the industry boom has now died down a new industry has popped up in its place. A company in Ashland Wisconsin is now logging hardwood trees that lie preserved on the bottom […]

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Cracking Trees


Posted By Wolf Ridge Naturalist
December 1, 2014

This week maple and pine trees were cracking from the cold. The reason they crack is because the sap inside the tree freezes and expands. You can hear the cracking happen and feel it cracking when you touch it. Head outside on a cold night and see what you can hear! ~Sydney Stock and Megan […]

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November Snowfall Before and After


Posted By Wolf Ridge Naturalist
November 11, 2014

  In the morning…      Later that day…  Over the course of one day we went from zero to four inches of snow! Wolf Ridge has been transformed into a winter wonder land. This snow fell before the ground froze creating a warm layer between the ground and the snow. This layer is great […]

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First Snow!


Posted By Wolf Ridge Naturalist
November 3, 2014

On Thursday afternoon snow fell and stuck to the ground for the first time this season at Wolf Ridge! There was much celebration, as snow is a sign of winter coming that makes everyone excited around here. Overnight the snow continued to fall and the accumulation at 7 am on Friday morning was 0.3 inches. […]

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Aspen Clones


Posted By Wolf Ridge Naturalist
October 30, 2014

As the last of the trees lose their leaves, I always wonder why some trees keep their leaves for so long. I wondered even more when I saw a group of Aspen trees all keeping some of their leaves. This is because Aspen trees have interconnected root systems. It is common for Aspen trees near […]

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What’s a Catkin Anyways?


Posted By Wolf Ridge Naturalist
October 29, 2014

Late autumn is a great time to observe tree buds and catkins. The buds will become next year’s leaves, and catkins play different roles on different trees. Trees form buds to protect the leaf axils, the buds can be hard and sometimes even fuzzy! Paper Birch tree catkins contain seeds that look like tiny butterflies […]

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Dead or Alive?


Posted By Wolf Ridge Naturalist
October 21, 2014

With lots of the leaves now fallen from maple trees and other tree types, it can be hard to tell if the tree is dead or alive.  A closer look can help us decide!  If there are buds on the branches, the tree is alive.  Can’t tell if that bump is a bump or a […]

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Blood Moon


Posted By Wolf Ridge Naturalist
October 9, 2014

During the wee hours of Wednesday morning, some of us here at Wolf Ridge decided to brave the wind and cold to get a peek at the lunar eclipse that occurred. A lunar eclipse is when the sun, earth and moon all align so that the earth casts a shadow across the moon. During a […]

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Heat Riders: Raptor Migration in Full Swing


Posted By Wolf Ridge Naturalist
October 6, 2014

This morning I woke up to the sight of swirling silhouettes in the sky. Called “kettles” for their likeness to the appearance of rising steam from a kettle, these groups of migrating raptors (sometimes hundreds together at once!) are riding the currents of a thermal updraft in order to conserve strength and gain altitude as […]

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Fall Colours in Unexpected Places


Posted By Wolf Ridge Naturalist
October 3, 2014

This weekend just passed saw the fall colours truly kick into action, and for those of us from other climes (read: yours truly from Ireland), especially from anywhere further south, it’s been a shock to see the riot of seasonal colour kick in so early. But some coniferous trees lose their leaves at this point […]

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Bumblebee Caterpillars?


Posted By Wolf Ridge Naturalist
September 25, 2014

All over Wolf Ridge we have been seeing these caterpillars that have black and yellow bodies with white tufts of hair on their heads and tails.  These bumblebee looking caterpillars are the Spotted Tussock Moths, Lophocampa maculata, and are in their larvae form from July through September.  Keep an eye out for them hanging out […]

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Spring Feast


Posted By Wolf Ridge Naturalist
May 20, 2014

This week the Naturalists went out on a journey to find (and eat!) wild edibles right here at Wolf Ridge. While taking a trip down the Wolf Ridge driveway, they discovered the excitement and mystery of foraging. They came upon wild leeks, dandelions, evening primrose, and ginger. The Naturalists worked hard at correctly identifying the […]

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Wee Wildlife Welcomes Spring!


Posted By Wolf Ridge Naturalist
March 20, 2014

Spring is in the air! This is excellent news for me as an entomologist because it means life is about to get way more interesting as bugs come out of their hiding places. Here’s a roughened darkling beetle (Upis ceramboides) that came out of it’s hiding spot in a dead birch stump. They survive the […]

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Tapping Into Spring!


Posted By Wolf Ridge Naturalist
March 18, 2014

Here at Wolf Ridge, spring is slowly fighting to be seen and heard. We have had just a handful of days with temperatures creeping above freezing, allowing our 38 inches of snow depth to sink to 31inches in just one week! Downy woodpeckers are beginning to court like boys and girls at recess, the Red-Breasted […]

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