Wolf Ridge

Ornithology Field Camps

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Entering grades 10-12

Experience the exciting world of bird research! In this hands-on camp, you will bird band, conduct song surveys, and explore the diverse ecosystems that draw so many species to northeastern Minnesota. Handle forest songbirds and make sound maps to locate nesting territories. Learn about peregrine falcon research on the north shore. Your teachers are nationally respected professional ornithologists who love to share their enthusiasm and knowledge with young people. You will leave Wolf Ridge with a better understanding of the world of breeding birds, how we study them, and how we can help their populations thrive.

Two levels, Introductory and Advanced, are available and described below.


Ornithology Field Camps activities


The Arrowhead of Minnesota offers many excellent opportunities to watch birds.  It is a highly diverse area in its vegetation, age, water locales, and patch mosaic.  This results in many diverse habitats for birds and a list of 225 regular species plus 45 casual species.  On this list 163 species breed, including 24 species of warblers.  The Superior National Forest which is located nearby was recognized by the American Bird Conservancy as one of 50 Globally Important Bird Areas of the United States.


Introduction to Ornithology Field Camp

Who should attend this camp

High schoolers (entering grades 10-12) who want to learn about birds and the techniques scientists use to study birds.
This camp is designed for students without prior ornithology or bird banding experience.

Program Activities

We believe in nurturing the curiosity, growth, and independent spirit of each camper, every year that they attend.  The Ornithology Field Camp is an immersive week-long birding and nature experience that will provide a unique learning opportunity for the upcoming generation of ornithologists, naturalists, and environmental scientists.  During Ornithology Field Camp…

  • Meet other young birders and naturalists will similar interests
  • Develop field identification skills in a bird-rich environment
  • Learn about bird biology through authentic hands-on experiences.
  • Participate in authentic field research projects including – MAPS: Monitoring Avian Productivity and Survivorship
  • Hone observation using tools common to birders – binoculars, spotting scopes, bird identification applications
  • Develop an understanding of ecology and conservation biology
  • Challenge yourself rock climbing and hiking the Superior Hiking Trail
  • Enjoy learning in the beautiful landscapes of Lake Superior’s north shore.

Advanced Ornithology Field Camp

Who should attend this camp:

Those with a strong interest in birds and bird research, entering grades 10-12, who want to expand their existing field ornithology skills.
Campers should have prior experience with birds, either through Wolf Ridge’s “Introduction to Field Ornithology Camp” or other exposure to and interest in bird research.

Program Activities

  • Bird banding is the focus of this camp.
  • Learn how to remove passerines from mist nets.
  • Learn to age birds by skulling and observing molt limits and other criteria.
  • Learn to sex birds by plumage, brood patches, and cloaca protuberances.
  • Learn how to use color and pit tags to research bird behavior.
  • Observe the banding of Ruby-Throated Hummingbirds and Peregrine Falcons if conditions are suitable.
  • Campers will also experience one birding outing to a Boreal Forest setting. Wolf Ridge’s 2,000 acres sit on hills overlooking Lake Superior with excellent breeding bird habitat. This presents great opportunities to observe many neotropical migrants in their breeding plumage.
  • Participate in Rock Climbing, Lake swimming, and more typical camp activities.

Housing and Meals

A place to kick back and relax

Campers will be housed in our Summit Lodge. Each room features its own bathroom and shower, bunks beds, and camper gear cubbies. Camp staff also live in the dorm, with one counselor per room. There are cozy gathering spaces for game playing during downtime, plus a grass field just out the door. Kids and staff gather at the near-by campfire ring before meals to sing songs, share stories of their adventures, and learn what the next part of the day will bring. The Summit Lodge is the perfect place to grow the deep, closely-knit community that makes camp so special.

Fuel for your imagination

Our Food

Whether they’re coming in from a long day outside or getting ready for the day, campers will satisfy their appetites in the Fireplace Dining Room. Food Service Director Chris O’Brien and his staff go above and beyond 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 while meats and other products are sourced as locally as possible.  From-scratch vegan, vegetarian, and meat options are offered at each and every meal.

Special Diets

Our kitchen staff regularly works with participants to meet allergy and dietary concerns. Daily vegan dishes are inherently free of any animal product, including dairy, and are most often gluten-free as well. Individuals with common food allergy and sensitivities, including to dairy or peanuts, will find good, healthy food at each meal that addresses their needs. Our Dining Hall is nut-free. Please note dietary requests, concerns, and preferences when completing camp registration materials.

Community Dinner

After a week full of friendship, fun, and teamwork, on Friday night Wolf Ridge will hold a community celebration dinner and campfire. Campers will gather in the Fireplace Dining Room to enjoy a family-style meal served by the camp directors while celebrating the accomplishments and achievements of their community members.

“It’s about quality. It’s about passion. It’s about good food done well.” – Chris O’Brien

Program Partners






The Institute for Bird Populations







Introduction to Ornithology Field Camp

July 12-18, 2020

Advanced Ornithology Field Camp

July 5-11, 2020


Costs and Financial Assistance

Introduction to Ornithology Field Camp


Advanced Ornithology Field Camp



We accept credit cards (VISA, MasterCard, Discover, or American Express).
The balance of your camp fee is due by June 1st.


Financial Assistance

We are happy to partner with a variety of organizations that are interested in helping you attend Wolf Ridge. Available to those who qualify. You can find details in Resources “For Summer Campers.”

Bring a Friend Discount

Returning campers, when you invite a new camper to Wolf Ridge, you & your friend each get $50 off your camp fee. To take advantage of this special offer, both fill out and mail us “Bring a Friend” forms. You find can this in Resources “For Summer Campers.”

Sibling Discount

Available for multiple campers from the same household (must all be residents of the same household address). Call 218-353-7414 Monday-Friday between 8 and 4:30 for details.

Local Discount

Available for campers whose permanent residence is Lake or Cook County in Minnesota.  To apply for this discount, please call the office at 218-353-7414 Monday-Friday between 8 and 4:30 pm.


Resources: Get Ready for Camp!

Already signed up?

Packing lists and more can be found in Resources “For Summer Campers.”


2020 Youth Camps and Trips have been canceled

Due to health and safety concerns surrounding COVID-19, Wolf Ridge will not be having any summer camps or wilderness trips in summer 2020. Our priority during this time is the safety and well being of our participants, staff, and the broader community. We’ve canceled the summer camp and trip programs and offered full refunds to people already registered. Stay tuned for summer camp and trip options in the future! If you have questions about camp, please contact Luciana Ranelli, Youth and Family Programs Director, at luciana.ranelli@wolf-ridge.org.

Wishing you all the best. We hope to see you in Summer 2021!