Fabulous Fall Geek Out: Agate Hunting & Finishing
September 30 @ 3:00 pm - October 2 @ 1:30 pm$450
Spend a glorious fall weekend on the North Shore of Minnesota gaining hands-on experience and learning from experts in their field.
Workshops take place on the Wolf Ridge campus and surrounding areas, with lodging and meals provided. Whether you’re a seasoned naturalist or just a curious learner, the experience is designed for lifelong learners who have a passion for the natural world. Participants select a single workshop for the weekend but will have an opportunity to connect with other workshop groups during meals and evening programming.
Workshop: Agate Hunting & Finishing
This is a hands-on/ activity-oriented introduction to Lake Superior regional geology and agate formation theories, Lake Superior Agate hunting, and lapidary tools & processes. Workshop participants receive fundamental & focused instruction on finding Lake Superior Agates in various hunting locales, and participate in guided hunting activities.
There will not be a Lake Superior Shore hunt this year. Local gravel pits will be explored. A Minnesota Agate Prospecting & Hunting Tip Sheet will be provided to all students. Agates found by the participants and/ or provided by the instructor will be used to perform various lapidary operations (cut, shape, polish). Lapidary products will include 1 polished pendant necklace and 1 face polished agate; there might be time for additional pieces but this will be the minimum goal per student.
During the Lapidary phase, we will split into two groups of five; while one group is working the other group will have free time to use as they desire. On Saturday night, machine free time will be available without instruction; general rules & guidelines will be provided to ensure safety, equal access, and appropriate use of machine resources (saw blade, drill bits, grinding disks, etc.)
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.
Weekend Workshop Schedule
Friday, Sep 30, 2022
- 3:00 – 4:45 pm — Student registration and check-in at the Wolf Ridge office
- 4:00 – 4:45 pm — Tour of the Margaret A. Cargill (MAC) Lodge
- 5:15 pm — Dinner
- 6:00 – 6:30 pm — Orientation in MAC Lodge Wiesner Commons
- 7:00 – 9:00 pm — 1st learning session
- 10 pm — Quiet time
Saturday, Oct 1, 2022
- 7:30 am — Breakfast
- 8:30-10:00 am — Continental breakfast for Owl Workshop
- 8:30-11:30 am — 2nd learning session
- 12:15 pm — Lunch
- 1:30 – 4:30 pm — 3rd learning session
- 5:15 pm — Dinner
- 6:30 – 7:15 pm — Evening presentation
- 7:30 – 9:30 pm — Social hour & campfire
- 10:00 pm — Quiet time
Sunday, Oct 2, 2022
- 7:30 am — Breakfast
- 8:30-10:00 am — Continental breakfast for Owl workshop
- 8:30-11:30 am —4th learning session
- 12:15 pm — Lunch & check-out
- 12:30 – Owl workshop ends
- 12:30-1:30 pm — Optional: Use of designed rooms to shower before leaving
On Friday afternoon before registration or on Sunday afternoon you’re welcome to hike our trails and enjoy the fall colors.
You should plan to venture out in rain or shine and the instructors may follow up with more information on specific details about your workshop if applicable. You can expect nighttime temperatures to range from 25°F to 50°F and daytime temperatures up to 65°F. Please be prepared so you can feel comfortable if it is cool or rainy. Most of the walking you will do is on nice graveled trails, but some trails are rugged. Photography will be a common thread throughout the weekend so we encourage you to bring a camera. If you do not own a digital camera, we can loan you one for the weekend.
- Rain suit with pants and hood
- Walking or hiking shoes
- Warm jacket
- Sweater or fleece
- Warm hat
- Light shirts
- Light pants
- Wool Socks (recommended for hiking)
- Soap, shampoo, other toiletries
- Personal water bottle
- Sunscreen, sun hat
- Knee-high rubber boots
- Non-aerosol insect repellent
- Alarm clock
- Small backpack for day use
- Snacks (space available in group refrigerator)
Wolf Ridge will provide linens, blankets, towels, and a pillow.