MPR host Angela Davis interviewed Pete Smerud, our Executive Director in a live broadcast from Tettegouche State Park this morning. If you missed it click here to hear the live interview!
The conversation centered on how Wolf Ridge ELC, Minnesota Extension’s youth programs, and Minnesota’s State Parks provide people with personal experiences where they can share the unique wonder and beauty of our region. We talked about being outside in all seasons and the value of learning skills to help us be comfortable and confident while we explore.
One key question under discussion was “why do we go outside?” Pete answered in part with a story about he and Angela’s recent hike to the High Falls. They had paused to observe a particularly fragrant balsam fir. “To feel the soft needles and smell that wonderful fragrance, these are the kinds of things we really need to experience in person,” reflected Pete.
“Immersion experiences outside awaken us and our senses in ways that can’t happen in photos” added Becky Meyer, a graduate of Wolf Ridge’s naturalist training program, now working for Minnesota Extension and the second expert in the conversation.
There were also some interesting and fun comments from the audience. “You can teach your kids everything they need to know on a camping trip” quipped one mother. Her daughter, now in her 20’s nodded in appreciation. “Without phones to distract, you’ll have amazing conversations.” The audience agreed whole-heartedly with applause and knowing laughter.
As a friend and supporter of Wolf Ridge, thank you. Your contributions along with many others have helped to build Wolf Ridge into one of the crown jewels of Environmental Learning Centers across the nation. Together, we have connected over 650,000 children in a meaningful way to their natural world and inspired environmental leadership through our 1,000 graduate naturalist alumni now serving in leadership positions.