I came to Wolf Ridge for the first time on a whim four summers ago, and I haven’t left since.
It was a hot August Friday afternoon in the beginning of my sophomore year at Patrick Henry High School in North Minneapolis. Clubs set up tables around the parking lot for students to get involved in the school community. I wandered around with a couple friends, not really seeing any extra-curricular activities that interested me. Then I walked up to a table for a science club and saw an upperclassman friend standing in front with a stack of flyers. They threw a flyer in my hand and suggested that I should join SEAK.
SEAK (Scientists Eagerly Acquiring Knowledge) is an academic credit program that gives urban inner city kids the opportunity to explore the outdoors and shows that a career in the sciences is possible. I never quite enjoyed traditional chemistry or biology classes at school. I hardly saw myself as a scientist. I joined SEAK because there was no pressure to be a “nerd” in order to join; everyone was in to grow in their own science exploration.
Growing up, I cultivated an appreciation for the outdoors by going camping with my family around Minnesota. At Wolf Ridge, that appreciation grew to a deeper understanding of land ethics and the interconnectedness between humans and the earth. Joining SEAK was one of the best decisions I have made in my young adult life. I was able to find the scientist in me.
After I completed the 3-week academic credit program at Wolf Ridge, I came back for another summer as a mentor. For the past two summers I’ve been a camp counselor and assistant trip leader. My running joke is now that I’ve been a student, mentor, and counselor for SEAK, all I need to do is become a naturalist to complete the circle of roles.
Four years ago, I was a high school student unsure and apprehensive of the journey I signed myself up for. Now, I am a college student, still unsure of the journey I am on, but confident I am in the right place. Wolf Ridge has become my home on the north shore.
– Iva Johnson