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Fun Ephemeral Finds


Posted By Wolf Ridge Naturalist
May 22, 2017

May is the optimal time to engage in a wildflower hike. Bloodroot (Sanguinaria canadensi), a flower with 8-10 white petals, can be found in the lower valleys of Wolf Ridge. The name bloodroot comes from red juice that emerges from a broken stem. This juice is poisonous, but can be used as a natural dye. […]

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Belted Kingfisher Nesting


Posted By Wolf Ridge Naturalist
May 8, 2017

One of the many birds migrating back to Wolf Ridge this spring is the Belted Kingfisher (Megaceryle alcyon). These birds that let out a loud, rattling call are primarily fish eaters, which means that their homes can be found near a body of water. A male Belted Kingfisher will obtain a territory that may include […]

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Love is in the Air


Posted By Wolf Ridge Naturalist
April 7, 2017

This time of the year in northern Minnesota we are witnessing some interesting behavior from the birds. Though seemingly unusual, these visuals and sounds are all typical of mating behaviors. All birds have their own unique songs and actions, but some highlights around this area include that from Common Ravens, Bald Eagles, Pileated Woodpeckers, and […]

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Tap, Tap, Tap!


Posted By Wolf Ridge Naturalist
April 7, 2017

It’s that time of year when the maple sap is running! Wolf Ridge happens to be right in the middle of a sugar bush, a section of forest dominated by sugar maple trees. We waited to begin tapping until the right time – when the temperature is below freezing at night and above freezing during […]

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Chemis-tree


Posted By Wolf Ridge Naturalist
March 22, 2017

Earlier this week, Maria and I were enjoying a steaming hot cup of cedar tea. Cedar tea is not only tasty, but nutritious!  The northern white cedar (thuja occidentalis) was called ‘arbor vitae’, or ‘tree of life’ in Latin by early European explorers because its high vitamin C content prevented diseases like scurvy. As we […]

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Winter Waterspouts Over Lake Superior


Posted By Wolf Ridge Naturalist
December 21, 2016

On December 13th, 2016, as we traveled down the hill towards Highway 61 with Wolf Ridge resident citizen scientist, Peter Harris, we noticed strange cloud formations over Lake Superior. There was a great mass of “sea smoke” rising off of the waters of the lake and, from that, columns of the “smoke” rising to meet the clouds […]

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Leaning Trees: Nature’s Dab


Posted By Wolf Ridge Naturalist
December 12, 2016

On a hike for the Superior View Hike class, one may notice a large number of birch trees that all lean in the same direction. What caused these trees to do such a thing? We had the same question!   Upon consulting human encyclopedia and Wolf Ridge naturalist Peter Harris, we discovered that there was a […]

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Chickadee ‘Hey Sweetie’ Already?


Posted By Wolf Ridge Naturalist
December 12, 2016

On a blustery winter walk on Wolf Ridge campus, naturalist Hannah Edstrom heard something rather unusual. Coming from a nearby tree, a flock of chickadees began emitting a loud “fee-bee” call. Not having heard that sound in the winter before, Hannah ran to Wolf Ridge’s resident bird expert Nathan Cross. When Hannah told Nathan about […]

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Forest Chicken!


Posted By Wolf Ridge Naturalist
December 9, 2016

During their Animals Signs class, Jeffers Pond students headed off trail to explore. Lucky for them, they spotted a Ruffed Grouse! The students were thereafter very excited to look for more signs of the “forest chicken” – a nickname given due to their shape and similar movement.   Ruffed Grouse have a short, triangular crest and a […]

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Signs of Spring in Fall??


Posted By Wolf Ridge Naturalist
November 17, 2016

  During a recent muddle through the marsh, a bright yellow color stood out on the ground. Marsh marigolds, Caltha palustris, typically bloom in April or May. This year we were visited by these marigolds quite early. Why the early bloom? Record high temperatures were reached on eight of the first fourteen days of November […]

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The Not so EVER…Evergreen


Posted By Wolf Ridge Naturalist
November 7, 2016

The American Tamarack has some qualities that distinguish it from other members of the pine family. As with most pine family trees, they have a large area of cleared trunk due to the lower, mature limbs dying and dropping off. But unlike others such as the lodgepole pine, fir, and spruce, the tamarack’s roots grow […]

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Beaver Caches


Posted By Carrie Anderson
October 17, 2016

Observation challenge: can you find the beaver in this picture?? We’ve been looking carefully on Raven Lake (pictured) and Sawmill Creek to find beavers and beaver signs. We have found beavers, lodges and dams, trails and canals, and evidence of chewing throughout the summer and fall. But this past week, a new sign of beaver […]

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Poop on a Stick?


Posted By Wolf Ridge Naturalist
October 10, 2016

Fondly known as “poop on a stick,” black knot fungus often grows on chokecherry trees around Wolf Ridge. A fungal disease, black knot fungus can prove fatal for many young trees. However, on the larger trees, it serves as nothing more than a pest for the branches it targets. This fungus overwinters on trees in […]

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Watch One Leaf Change Color!


Posted By Carrie Anderson
September 28, 2016

Watch a single leaf change color through time-lapse photography! As we observe the changing seasons at Wolf Ridge, one of the brightest signs of fall has been the changing leaves. When I first started closely observing the maple leaves changing color I had lots of questions- did they change from one side to the other? […]

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Balls from Insect Galls


Posted By Wolf Ridge Naturalist
September 26, 2016

This past week during a phenology hike, we came across a strange growth on an unknown plant which led us into some further research, discovering that it is something referred to as a gall. Some galls can be a result of infections by bacteria, fungi, or nematodes, but they can also be the result of […]

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Mooning over Tettegouche Ferns


Posted By Wolf Ridge Naturalist
September 20, 2016

We found a few leathery grape ferns near Shovel Point at Tettegouche State Park recently. If you look at the photo, you can see some immature lighter green spores and some mature browning spores.  It gets its unusual look from how it grows, divided into the sterile fronds (three leaflets), and the fertile part, which look like “grape bunches” of […]

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Spring in the Christmas Trees?


Posted By Wolf Ridge Naturalist
June 1, 2016

It’s spring! And all around are signs of life. One tree which is as ubiquitous to the North Woods as the green grass that grows all around is beginning to show signs of new growth. The bright green on the end of spruce branches begin forming under brown papery scales like pine cones but rather […]

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Have you tried these spring wild edibles?


Posted By Carrie Anderson
May 17, 2016

Spring Beauty Spring Beauty is flowering! Spring beauty is a tiny flower that comes out in the spring. The entire plant is edible – you can put the whole thing in a wild greens salad. With some careful digging, you can find a spring beauty tuber deep down on the root (about 2-3in) of the […]

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Return of the Birds!


Posted By shannonwalz
April 27, 2016


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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