Nature Matters: North Woods Retreat

By KBJR News 1

November 16, 2010 Updated Nov 16, 2010 at 8:05 AM CST

Finland, MN (Northland's NewsCenter) Thousands of students from across the northland and around the world have gained a new appreciation for nature thanks to an outdoor classroom deep in Minnesota's north woods.

In this week's nature matters David Hoole takes us to the Wolf Ridge Environmental Center where students of all ages aim for the stars.

"I still think we're not in Minnesota."

Destyn Land is enjoying his time away from St. Paul.

"There's no street lights it's just pitch black, that's something I've never seen."

Destyn is one of the 14 thousand students who visit Wolf Ridge environmental learning center each year.

The expansive outdoor campus is perched on top of a ridge near the north shore of Lake Superior. Visitors are immersed in outdoor adventure for five days, soaking in a nature ethic that helps them retain history and environmental lessons.

"You could say maybe the best education is that which creates lifelong memories."

History lessons come in the form of traditional fire making...

And Native American basket weaving... Something the young students really get into.

"WHACK! ... You gotta hit it. (Pulls strip of bark off log)

"It's nice to have the hands on activities for them to grow and learn how to make all this stuff and see how you can do things outside and enjoy the outside as much as they are."

Along with the grade school kids, the school also hosts graduate students from around the world.

"The Netherlands having the greatest following of students with seventeen different students that have come from Universities there to train with us.”

At a time when we've become less connected to the natural world the school's focus is appreciated by both staff and students.

"Where do I find regeneration? It's out in the woods, whether it's rock climbing or hunting or for a walk birding, those things are what fulfill me."

Destyn has found regeneration at wolf ridge as well.

"We seen a shooting star, and that's something I thought I'd only see on TV. I don't wanna leave tomorrow.... I really don't."

At Wolf Ridge, I'm David Hoole for Nature Matters.

For many Northland schools Wolf Ridge has become a standard part of the annual curriculum.