Agate Hunting and Finishing

For adults who love rocks, especially Lake Superior agates!

October 1-3, 2021

Back by popular demand! A hands-on introduction to Lake Superior Agate hunting, plus learn to use lapidary tools & processes.

In this workshop, you will…

    • Find and learn to identify Lake Superior Agates
    • Participate in guided hunting activities
    • Learn when and how to use a variety of lapidary machines
    • Cut, shape, polish, and if desired, set to jewelry one of the agates you find, or one provided by the instructor
    • Learn about the geology of the Lake Superior region with a focus on agate formation theories

About instructor Jim Magnuson

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.

Lodging and meals

Having a place to socialize and relax during downtime is another important part of the Wolf Ridge experience.
Participants for this workshop will be housed in our new Margaret A. Cargill Lodge. Completed in 2019, the “MAC” Lodge is one of only about 45 in the world built to meet Living Building Challenge standards. Here, you’ll experience what it’s like to live comfortably at net zero for both water and energy. Learn more about how the MAC Lodge has already changed the landscape for sustainable building in the northern US.

There are a variety of outdoor and indoor gathering spaces including the nearby campfire ring, a patio deck overlooking forest bird feeders, and nearby decks with panoramic views of the Sawmill Creek Valley. Indoors, you’ll find two wood stoves, comfortable seating for reading or visiting, a kitchenette, and access to the lodge balcony with stunning views of the campus’s hills and cliff-lined lakes.

MAC Lodge provides dormitory-style lodging with a private twist. Each dorm “suite” consists of two sleeping rooms with bunk beds, a bathroom, and a shower room. Each sleeping room has a door that can be shut for privacy. For this workshop, two people of the same gender will share a suite. If you would prefer a suite all to yourself, you may request one when you register (see details below.)

Home-cooked food from right down the road
We take great pride in our daily meals. Whether you are coming in from a day spent outside or getting ready for upcoming adventures, everyone will find choices to satisfy their appetites in the Lake Superior or the Fireplace Dining Room. Most of our produce is from the Wolf Ridge Organic Farm and our meats and other products are sourced as locally as possible. Fresh fruit, veggies, and snacks are available all day, in addition to coffee and tea.

Please note dietary requests, concerns, and preferences when completing registration materials.

Dates and costs

October 1-3, 2021
3 days, 2 nights

  • Arrive Friday, October 1 between 4-5 pm
  • The workshop begins with Friday dinner at 5:15 pm
  • Depart Sunday, October 3 after lunch

$399 includes all instruction, materials, and meals, plus lodging in a 2-bedroom suite

  • Optional, single person in a suite – no sharing of bathroom or shower, add $125

Sign up!


  • Maximum of 8 participants
  • This workshop requires low to medium physical exertion, including hiking on wooded trails and on slanted gravel piles
  • Open to adults 18 and older
  • Please note any dietary requests, concerns, and preferences when completing registration materials
  • For COVID-19, we follow the most current CDC guidelines and the recommendations of Minnesota and Lake County public health officials.


Email krysty.fulton@wolf-ridge.org or call 218-353-7414.