FUNDING THE PROJECTS

THE MAKING WAVES CAPITAL CAMPAIGN GOAL IS $9.4 MILLION

After more than 40 years of bringing innovative environmental education to hundreds of thousands of school children, Wolf Ridge is preparing for the future and making major improvements to our land, facilities, and curriculum. The Making Waves capital campaign began in 2015, with an aggressive goal of raising 9.4 million in donations to fund these improvements.

We have already completed Phase One using the $6.7 million raised to date. Graduate student naturalists have now moved out of the K-12 West Dorm and into the new Lakeview House. The facilities team and equipment are now centralized into one location in a new Maintenance Building. These efficiencies open the doors to proceed to the second phase of construction.

While $6.7 million is an impressive amount to raise in two years, we need to raise an additional $2.7 million to fully fund Phase Two.

When complete, the renovated Living Building Challenge dorm will be a living teaching tool for the thousands of students who attend each year. The renovated dorm will be called the Margaret A. Cargill Lodge thanks to an incredibly generous donation. It will be the first in Minnesota, and in this northern region, to attempt full certification – a lofty goal we believe is worth taking on. We will prove that even in northern climes, sustainable buildings are not only possible, but exist right now.

The final project in this phase will be access to and classroom space on our newly-acquired land on Lake Superior.

 

HOW DOES THE LIVING BUILDING CHALLENGE WORK?

MEETING THE HIGHEST ENVIRONMENTAL STANDARDS IN BUILDING

The Living Building Challenge (LBC) is an international sustainable building certification program created in 2006 by the non-profit International Living Future Institute. It is the most advanced measurement of sustainability in the building environment. The requirements are significantly beyond those of the more well-known LEED standards. For instance, an LBC building is only certified after people have lived in it for a full year, proving its ability to function at net-zero water and energy use.

LBC projects must meet seven broad areas, or “petals” of sustainability: place, water, energy, health, materials, equity and beauty.

ABOUT WOLF RIDGE ENVIRONMENTAL LEARNING CENTER

THE FIRST ENVIRONMENTAL LEARNING CENTER IN THE NATION TO BE ACCREDITED AS A K-12 SCHOOL

THE WOLF RIDGE STORY

Founded in 1971, Wolf Ridge Environmental Learning Center was the first environmental learning center in the nation to be accredited as a K-12 school and is recognized nationally and internationally as a leader in environmental education.

During the school year, more than 15,000 children, teachers and parent chaperones head to our campus to have their own adventure in learning. Our students come from all over, from more than 165 schools in communities across Minnesota, North Dakota and Wisconsin because of our unique location – located south of the Boundary Waters and overlooking the North Shore of Minnesota’s Lake Superior.

Our broad spectrum of year-round environmental and outdoor learning programs for children, families, seniors and college students serve an additional 3,000 people each year, including our Summer Camps, Family Programs, Wilderness Trips, Road Scholar Programs, and Ecology Credit Camps.

WHAT WE'RE ABOUT

Our mission:

“To develop a citizenry that has the knowledge, skills, motivation and commitment to work together for a quality environment.”

We do this by:

  • Fostering awareness, curiosity and sensitivity to the natural world
  • Providing lifelong learning experiences in nature
  • Developing social understanding, respect and cooperation
  • Modeling values, behaviors and technologies which lead to a sustainable lifestyle
  • Promoting the concepts of conservation and stewardship

WHAT WE DO

Wolf Ridge is a place where minds open to the joy and wonder of discovery of our natural world. We seek to stimulate a love and understanding of nature by involving children and adults in direct observation of and participation in the outdoors. We promote self-awareness and leadership development in the process.

Activities and classes at Wolf Ridge are nearly all outdoors, typically three hours in length. Over fifty different classes and activities are available. Class subjects include environmental science, cultural history, contemporary environmental issues, personal growth, team building and outdoor recreation.

WHERE WE'RE LOCATED

In environmental education, the outdoors is the classroom – and ours is spectacular.

Located on a ridge overlooking Lake Superior, Wolf Ridge’s 2,000 acre campus is bordered by the Baptism River and features creeks, two lakes, two high peaks, 18-miles of trail and a mixed forest of maple, birch and spruce.

Wildlife is abundant and includes pine marten, eagles, moose, black bear, white-tailed deer, fox, wolves, beaver, peregrine falcons and loons.

Facilities currently include four classroom buildings, two dormitories, a dining hall, a raptor aviary, a library, two auditoriums, two rock-climbing walls, two outdoor ropes courses and an administration building.

HOW WE OPERATE

Wolf Ridge has a 16-member board of trustees, whose members include classroom teachers, university professors, corporate executives, non-profit leaders, lawyers and architects. We employ 35 full time staff, 20 teaching naturalists, 20 seasonal camp counselors, and 7 part-time staff. Volunteers help with projects varying from bird banding to office work. Over the course of a year we employ a staff of about 100. We are the largest rural employer in Lake County.

We are a private, non-profit 501(c)(3) organization. Revenue sources include: about 88% from program user fees, 5% from store sales, and 7% grants and donations. Because program fees do not completely achieve the income needed for operation, Wolf Ridge relies on a financial donor program as well as annual donations from businesses, corporations and foundations to provide high quality environmental education. Our annual budget is approximately $2.8 million dollars.