Autumn is here, and at the Wolf Ridge Environmental Learning Center (ELC) in Finland, that means brilliant colors, cooler days, and the Fabulous Fall Adult Weekend. This Sept. 27-29, the Fabulous Fall workshop will offer adult learners a few days of good fun, good food, and the opportunity to learn from experts about the natural wonders of the North Shore.
Wolf Ridge ELC was founded in 1971 to provide environmental education and to cultivate in its students an appreciation for nature and a love of learning. It was the first environmental learning center in the nation to become an accredited K-12 school, and continues to offer ample programming for children and youth. For the young at heart, Wolf Ridge ELC can continue to be an excellent resource, and opportunities like the Fabulous Fall weekend give adult nature-lovers the chance to come together in a beautiful setting to learn about local topics of interest.
“The Fabulous Fall workshop has been happening for several years, and is open to anyone over 18 years,” said Peter Harris, science specialist at Wolf Ridge. “We used to do a lot of adult programming, and we’re trying to get back into that with adult weekend programs.”
Those who attend the Fabulous Fall weekend register for a specific workshop that they will participate in during their stay. The workshops being offered this year include a Lake Superior agate workshop, which covers the entire process from hunting agates on the shore to making agate jewelry; coastal kayaking, where students can improve their sea kayaking skills; North Shore geology, which includes trips to Marshall Mountain and Sugarloaf Cove; and saw-whet owl banding, which includes nighttime classes.
“We have quite a bit of research integrated into our classes,” said Harris. “We collaborate with the National Forest Service in studying the saw-whet owl populations, and we collaborate with Sugarloaf Cove for our geology class. Every topic is incredible to learn about.”
Can’t decide on just one topic? The Wolf Ridge Sampler workshop provides insight into what happens at Wolf Ridge on a daily basis, and includes an array of popular activities such as hiking the Superior Hiking trail, learning about local plants, and paddling a voyageur canoe.
“We have great instructors, and all the teachers we bring in for the workshops are experts in the field,” said Harris. “They all have real passion and are known for being good at what they do.”
The Fabulous Fall weekend begins on Friday night and ends on Sunday afternoon. While the workshops take up the main part of the day, evenings are quiet and provide the opportunity to relax, linger around a campfire, and spend time with the other attendees. Since the workshop weekend falls during peak autumn color, guests can spend the evenings enjoying the great views and experiencing the best of fall at Wolf Ridge.
Apart from classes, another highlight of the weekend is mealtimes. Wolf Ridge has their own organic farm, which visitors can tour to learn more about sustainability and growing food in a northern climate. The farm produces vegetables even into the fall, which guests will find at the salad bar.
“The food has changed dramatically since I’ve been at Wolf Ridge,” said Harris. “Our farmer works closely with the kitchen staff to plan meals and ensure that the food is not only amazing, but is as fresh and locally sourced as possible. We try to model sustainability through every aspect of life at Wolf Ridge.”
Registration for the Fabulous Fall Adult Weekend is open, and will remain open until classes fill up. Those interested in learning more or signing up can contact Wolf Ridge ELC at (218) 353-7414.