Wolf Ridge fun

Prior Lake Savage Area Schools fifth-graders take a climbing course at Wolf Ridge Environmental Learning Center.

Prior Lake Savage Area Schools fifth-grade students and their teachers shared their “Wolf Ridge at Home” experience to school board members at their May 9 meeting.

Wolf Ridge Environmental Learning Center is an accredited learning center in Finland, Minnesota. It focuses on k-12 environmental education. Founded in 1971, Wolf Ridge hosts 12,000+ visitors annually, many for multi-day immersive outdoor experiences, on its 2000 acre campus.

Sandy Timmerman, the district’s fifth-grade ELC Coordinator, shared the history of the partnership between PLSAS and Wolf Ridge and how she helped to develop the virtual learning experience for PLSAS fifth-graders.

“Much of what we’ve done during the pandemic has been because of our relationship with Wolf Ridge for the past 40+ years,” said Timmerman. “This year they are celebrating their 50th anniversary. PLSAS has been with them since almost the beginning. Through this partnership we were able to work with them through the pandemic.”

Superintendent Teri Staloch commended staff for making the best out of their situation during the pandemic while still providing E-STEM education to students.

“I just want to give a thank you to folks who took the lemons of the pandemic and made some lemonade,” Staloch said. “There were so many things lost during the pandemic and opportunities that students weren’t able to have. Sandy Timmerman has been a champion of Wolf Ridge and now she’s a champion of Wolf Ridge at Home.”

Timmerman said this year, PLSAS and Wolf Ridge teamed up to create a virtual learning experience.

“They (Wolf Ridge) took their science curriculum and made it fit to what we’re teaching our fifth-grade students,” Timmerman said. “They had activities online for students and teachers to use.”

The virtual events were possible thanks, in part, to funding from Friends of Wolf Ridge, part of the Laker Education Foundation.

Timmerman also said she requested for Wolf Ridge to visit Prior Lake, which is something the organization doesn’t normally do.

“I asked them if they would take their show on the road and come down to Prior Lake, and they said yes. They spent one week at McColl Pond,” she said. “It’s my understanding that we are the only school district that they did this with and I can tell you due to the cost, the traveling, the supplies — it’s something I don’t think they want to continue.”

During their visit, students learned about the cultural history of the Dakota tribal nations and visited the The Landing at Minnesota River Heritage Park among many other activities.

To learn more about Wolf Ridge, visit their website at https://wolf-ridge.org/