Spend a glorious fall weekend in the company of fellow nature geeks! Expect a weekend of laughter, learning, and beauty with one of our hand-chosen instructors. Each has a passion for their topic, and loves to share what they know with like-minded, curious folks. Wolf Ridge is spectacular in the fall, and the company will be fantastic.
The weekend begins with Friday night’s dinner, featuring chef-made, locally sourced food from our organic farm, and ends after Sunday’s lunch. The days and evenings are chock full of hands on learning and exploration. Browse below to see activities and specifics of each workshop, then sign up for your favorite. Give your inner nerd a little love!
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Back by popular demand! Hands-on, activity-oriented introduction to Lake Superior regional geology with focus on volcanism and prominent agate formation theories, Lake Superior Agate hunting, and lapidary tools & processes. Workshop participants will receive fundamental & focused instruction on how to find Lake Superior Agates in various hunting locales, and then participate in guided hunting activities in one or more of these locales. Agates found by the participants and/or provided by instructor will then be used to perform various lapidary operations (cut, shape, polish, set to jewelry), after again receiving fundamental & focused instruction on use of machines & relevant lapidary processes.
Low to medium physical exertion. Ability to hike over a 1 mile trail, along with moving on slanted gravel piles.
Rock-hounding is more than a hobby for author Jim Magnuson—it’s a serious and rewarding avocation that helps him connect with nature. He has been an avid hunter and student of various gems, minerals and fossils since his childhood, when he first began to hunt for stones in his native state of Illinois. In addition, Jim enjoys sharing his passion not only through showing and gifting some of his finds, but also through writing, another lifelong interest. Throughout Jim’s career as an Information Technology professional, he has developed his technical writing skills while creating new processes that reduce complexity and improve efficiency. These same skills proved to be invaluable when he wrote a guidebook for beginning agate hunters, a project that gave him the confidence to develop a guide to lapidary processes that can be readily used by beginner-to-intermediate hobbyists. Jim is also a member of the Minnesota Mineral Club, and enjoys attending other rock and mineral clubs as a way to further his learning and branch out into other types of agates, gemstones and geology.
To date Jim has authored the following publications: The Storied Agate, The Fairburn Agate of the Black Hills, Agate Hunting Made Easy, Lake Superior Agates – Identify Agates & Imposters (Laminated Field Guide), Emma’s First Agate, Gemstone Tumbling, Cutting, Drilling, & Cabochon Making.
$375 (Includes meals, lodging, instruction and supplies.)
Expand your sea kayaking skills, explore beautiful places, and spend time with fellow paddlers! This workshop is designed primarily for new, beginning, to advanced beginning sea kayakers who are looking to learn and/or practice essential skills for coastal sea kayaking, gain confidence with paddling on larger bodies of water, and explore the beautiful and diverse landscape of the North Shore. The first sessions of the workshop will focus on equipment and skill development, including an American Canoe Association (ACA) accredited course on stroke development and basic rescues. The second day of the workshop features an all-day paddling excursion either along the shoreline of Lake Superior (weather permitting), or on inland waters in the Finland State Forest or Superior National Forest area (foul weather option).
High demand on physical exertion. Over 2 to 3 hrs at a time sitting in a kayak required. No prior experience required. Wet suits and life jackets worn at all times when on water.
David Butcher is the Adventure Programs Coordinator at Wolf Ridge and has been working as a naturalist and wilderness guide for over 10 years. He is an ACA certified Coastal Kayaking Instructor and his teaching experiences include working in parts of Minnesota and upstate New York, as well as guiding wilderness trips in the Boundary Waters, Quetico, Isle Royale, and the Apostle Islands. When he’s not working you might find him sea kayaking, stand-up paddle boarding, hiking, cycling, or home-brewing beer.
$390 (Includes meals, lodging, instruction, and kayaking equipment.)
$40 discount if you bring your own kayak! If you bring your own, it must meet the following criteria:
“touring” style kayak
16 foot length minimum
separate, water-tight bulkheads
Do you look for interesting rocks on every beach or gravel road and want to discover their story? Are you an agate or Thomsonite seeker? Do you wonder about all those rock faces you see as you drive heading north on Highway 61? If you answered yes to any of those questions, this adventure is just for you!
Explore the North Shore of Lake Superior’s fascinating geologic history, by picking rocks, sorting and figuring out who’s who in the rock world. Investigate key geologic features, figure out which way is up in ancient lava flows, and find out how geology connects to other natural features and events. We will learn the basics of recognizing the different rock types of the North Shore, decipher lava flows and all their layers, and visit a number of unique geologic sites. We will both hike and carpool to locations on Wolf Ridge’s main and Lake Superior campuses and to select locations along the North Shore. Rocks don’t mind being wet, so we will brave whatever Mother Nature dishes out for weather! There’s lots to see and explore on this geologic adventure.By the time you leave you will have a much better idea of how Lake Superior came to be, and you will be able to recognize all sorts of features along Highway 61. A trip up the North Shore will never be the same again, and you will know some of the stories in the stones.
Participants should be prepared to make a few hikes on uneven trail surfaces, and rocky beaches up to a mile one way with moderate exertion.
Margie is a lifelong naturalist, educator and lover of rocks and all things of the natural world. She spent years in the formal classroom as a science teacher, but has abandoned the indoors for the great outdoor classroom. Margie is the naturalist at Sugarloaf Cove Nature Center on the North Shore in Schroeder, she is the Hawk Ridge Program Director, at Hawk Ridge Bird Observatory in Duluth, and sometimes finds time to supervise student teachers or teach a course as adjunct faculty for the UMD Education Department. She teaches Master Naturalist Courses for Minnesota Extension at Sugarloaf and North House Folk School, in Grand Marais. A long time ago, she used to think Geology was boring- but has long since been snared by the lure of the stories in stone and these days teaching about the Geology of the North Shore is one of her favorite pastimes. She loves learning and sharing the natural world with people of all ages.
$325 (Includes meals, lodging, and instruction.)
Hands-on, activity-oriented introduction to fall raptor banding focusing on owls migrating down the Lake Superior corridor. The emphasis will be on Northern Saw-whet owls, however, we will spend time talking about other species (i.e. Long-eared, Boreal and Great Grey owls) that use this flyway. Workshop participants will receive fundamental and focused instruction on how to capture, handle, age, and process owls. Time will also be spent talking about other owl monitoring techniques used in the Minnesota.
Lower physical exertion. Standing and kneeling and sitting required.
** NOTE this workshop lasts one day longer than the others, Starting Friday evening and ending Monday after lunch.**
Dave Grosshuesch’s enthusiasm and knowledge of birds has few equals. He has worked as a passerine and raptor bander and raptor counter for Hawk Ridge Observatory in Duluth Minnesota. He currently works for the United States Forest Service as a wildlife biologist. Dave holds a master bird-banding license and currently runs a MAPS station in the summer months and a owl banding station in the fall. Not only does Dave participate in the collection of bird-banding data, but he also analyses the data and employs it in his job with the Superior National Forest in Tofte, MN.
Peter Harris coordinates research and science projects Wolf Ridge. He supervises the Center’s bird banding programs, and has been banding and providing education around the science of bird banding for over 30 years. Over his career, countless students have been able to get up close and personal with songbirds and raptors. Pete is a graduate of the University of Minnesota in the Twin Cities.
$355 (Includes meals, lodging, and instruction. Note this is a 3 night stay – program ends Monday, October 1 after lunch.)
Experience the excitement of traveling back to the time of the Voyageur and paddle a Montreal canoe. Climb a rock wall. Hike to an overlook on the Superior Hiking Trail. View the beautiful fall colors. Seek out north woods wildlife and plant communities. Enthusiastic Wolf Ridge naturalists will guide your adventures as you experience for yourself why Wolf Ridge Environmental Learning Center is so memorable to the adults and children who attend with their school or through one of our summer camps.
Medium demand on physical exertion. Ability to hike over a mile on irregular terrain, along with canoeing required.
$325 (Includes meals, lodging, and instruction.)
We take great pride in our daily meals. Whether families are coming in from a day spent outside, or getting ready for the day, everyone will find choices to satisfy their appetites in the Lake Superior Dining Room.
Chris O’Brien, our food service director, believes “we should all be fed well, every meal, every day.” From-scratch vegan, vegetarian and meat dishes are available at each and every meal. Vegan dishes are inherently free of any animal product, including dairy, and are most often gluten free as well. All dietary requests are addressed and often the menu is adjusted to reflect the needs and wants of our clients. Those with common food allergy and sensitivities, including to dairy or peanuts, will find good, healthy food that addresses their needs. Fresh fruit, veggies, and homemade breads are available all day, in addition to coffee and tea.
Chris and his staff go above and beyond to meet our guests needs and work hard to produce a choice driven, healthy, hearty meal while creating a sense of community here at Wolf Ridge. Most of our produce is from the Wolf Ridge Organic Farm and our meats and other products are sourced as locally as possible. It’s about quality. It’s about passion. It’s about good food done well.
Learn more about our dining hall and see sample menus.
Participants will be housed in the new Margaret A. Cargill Lodge. Two to three people will share a room. Bathrooms and showers are inside the rooms.
Once you have decided on a session, sign up via our online registration site. If you have questions or prefer to sign up by phone, call 218-353-7414, Monday – Friday 8-4:30.