Events

Annual Events

Join us throughout the year and immerse yourself in our 18,000 acre classroom. We provide a variety of outdoor events and educational opportunities, so you can get the most out of the beautiful seasons we all share.

Upcoming Event

Boulder Lake Wildflower Hikes - May 22 and 29 and June 5 and 12 from 10-11:30 (Free)

Wildflower hike

FREE EVENT: Spring is here (no really) and the wild flowers are going to be blooming! Bring your favorite field guide and join

us on a hike in the Boulder Lake Environmental Learning Center area to look for and enjoy the spring flowers. We will look for spring ephemeral flowers like Hepatica, Large-flowered Bellwort, Nodding Trillium, and many more early blooming flowers. We may find an orchid in bloom and we might see a carnivorous plant in the bog. Meet at the main BLELC building for this fun spring outing. Bring your binoculars if you wish to check on the spring bird migration during the hike.
If you are interested in supporting the ELC please consider donating. All donations go towards removing barriers to programming and opening nature up to all.

REGISTRATION REQUIRED: https://forms.gle/XhN3i5Acd6a3wP2h6

We offer most of our program at no charge. If you are interested in supporting the ELC please consider donating.  All donations go towards removing barriers to programming and opening nature to all Donate

Jumping Worms - May 22nd from 12-1:30pm

Jumping Worms

Join BLELC staff as we explore the topic of invasive jumping worms and their potential impact to the region. With gardening

season upon us now is the time to learn about jumping worms and what you can do to protect your gardens and landscaped yards.  Through this program you will learn about earthworms interesting relationship with our region.  In particular we will discuss the jumping worms and the negative impacts they are having in southern and central Minnesota.  You will learn how to search and ID jumping worms along with steps you can take to make sure you are not introducing them into the region.

REGISTRATION REQUIRED: https://forms.gle/7KopjjW7AUyo6X837

We offer most of our program at no charge. If you are interested in supporting the ELC please consider donating.  All donations go towards removing barriers to programming and opening nature to all Donate

 

Boulder Lake ELC Annual Tree Giveaway - May 28th from 9am -2pm (Pre-ordering required)

Gravel Bed

On Saturday 5/28 from 9-2 (or all trees are gone) Boulder Lake ELC will hosting our annual tree giveaway.  

ORDERING AVAILABLE NOW

We will have White pine, White spruce, Paper birch, Red oak, Red Maple, Juneberry, Elderberry, Chokecherry to name a few.  A full list of trees available along with quantities will be posted one week prior to the event (once we know the stock that we have).  

Northwood's, Great lakes Master Naturalist Training - 6/13/22-6/17/22

Blue waters of Boulder Lake

Join expert instructors in an amazing 18,000 acre North Woods classroom to complete a 40-hour hands-on course. This

program allows participants to study natural history, environmental interpretation, and conservation stewardship. Spring is a great time of year to see wildflowers, landscape formations, insects, migrating birds, and more. Final certification comes with the completion of a capstone service project.

LODGING: Free TENT camping* available onsite along the beautiful shores of Boulder Lake and a minute walk to the classroom. *No campers or RV's*

MEALS: Meals are on your own- we have a full kitchen with refrigerator/microwave/oven that you are more than welcome to use. Individuals interested may not register for single programs—the training is intended for those committed to attending all class sessions listed.

The course cost is $295 and includes course manuals and supplies.

REGISTRATION REQUIRED: https://minnesotamasternaturalist.org/courses/register/?courseId=1338

If the course cost is a hardship, please fill out the scholarship application. After the scholarship is fully processed, you will receive a code to be entered in the on-line registration process. Please wait until you receive that code to complete registration.

Previous Events:

 

Phenology Walk - Nature's Timekeepers from 2-3pm

Tamarack

Join us as we explore the wonders of spring at Boulder Lake and consider what plants are up to at this time of year. This walk

will be led by Jessica Savage (https://sites.google.com/d.umn.edu/jsavage/home), a plant physiologist and Assistant Professor at UMD. Together, we will discuss what happens to plants in the early spring and why the timing of flowering and leaf out (phenology) is critical to the survival of our forests. Jessica will also talk about citizen science and how you can contribute to research on phenology by recording your observations. We will meet at the parking lot, walk to the visitors center and then visit the Island Phenology Trail.

You can read more about Jessica's citizen science program, Nature's Timekeepers on her website: https://sites.google.com/d.umn.edu/lakesuperiorphenology/

REGISTRATION REQUIRED: https://forms.gle/5WSRZWVuG1w8ASoFA

We offer most of our program at no charge. If you are interested in supporting the ELC please consider donating.  All donations go towards removing barriers to programming and opening nature to all Donate

Saturday Birding Hikes: May 21nd and 28th from 7am - 10am (FREE)

Birds

Join us for a leisurely, 2 mile, round-trip bird-watching stroll at Boulder Lake! We’ll search for fascinating migratory warblers like

the Wilson’s and Blackpoll Warblers. We’ll also look for our lovely summer residents like the Scarlet Tanager and Rose-breasted Grosbeak. And we’ll scan the waters for birds like Wood Duck and Belted Kingfisher. These walks are for beginner birders and visitors are welcome to come and go as they please. Binoculars will be provided for those who need a pair. Spotting scopes are encouraged for waterfowl viewing. Meet at the Wolfski welcome center (North parking lot by main gate).

REGISTRATION REQUIRED:  https://forms.gle/eioj5z7vq2wa26bX8

We offer most of our program at no charge. If you are interested in supporting the ELC please consider donating.  All donations go towards removing barriers to programming and opening nature to all Donate

 

Adopt a Box Wood Duck Program - 4/23/22 and 4/30/22 @ 1:00pm

Wood Duck on Nesting Box

This program will provide and opportunity to learn about Wood Ducks and how you can help us monitor them.  Wood Ducks are cavity nesters, and their primary habitats are trees along the shoreline of lakes and rivers. Through loss of nesting sites due to the removal of large trees and snags they have been a threatened species. Boulder Lake ELC will be starting a Wood Duck monitor program on the Boulder Lake Reservoir and this program will provide the information needed to participate.

REGISTRATION REQUIRED:  https://forms.gle/dgq124xTgyq7mwrx5

We offer most of our program at no charge. If you are interested in supporting the ELC please consider donating.  All donations go towards removing barriers to programming and opening nature to all Donate

Orchids of the Boulder Lake ELC area - 4/10/22 from 10-11am

Yellow Lady's Slipper

Learn about the Orchids that call Boulder Lake home and why orchids are important:

As bioindicators, orchids tell us much about the health of an ecosystem, both above and below the surface of the ground.  The orchids in the BLELC area come in many forms and are found in habitats as diverse as forests, wetlands, fens, swamps, stream banks, and pine barrens.  As plants that take years to fully develop, the rich presence of orchids is an indication of undisturbed lands within a diverse, healthy, and functioning ecosystem.

Program will take place in the main classroom located in the ELC building.

REGISTRATION REQUIRED: https://forms.gle/hUV9jxZaLGFzrbHt9

Presenter: Rubin Stenseng has participated in the Minnesota Master Naturalist Volunteer program for over 15 years.  While he is interested in everything outdoors, his fondness for wildflowers has led him to focus on the wild, native orchids of Minnesota.  For him, the adventure of searching for, finding, observing, learning about, and sharing orchid information is one of life’s satisfying activities.

We offer most of our program at no charge. If you are interested in supporting the ELC please consider donating.  All donations go towards removing barriers to programming and opening nature to all Donate

No Maples? No Problem!  - 4/10/22 from 10-2pm

Birch grove

Join the ELC as we embark on year one of our Paper birch tapping project.  You will have 2 opportunities to tour the operation with a staff naturalist.  First session starts at 10am - 11:30am; Second session starts at 12pm -1:30pm.

Registration is required: https://forms.gle/D1cmqVGfYaAL4Z7o7

We offer most of our program at no charge. If you are interested in supporting the ELC please consider donating.  All donations go towards removing barriers to programming and opening nature to all Donate

Winter Tree Identification - 3/19/22 from 11am-1pm

Winter Tree silhouette

What no leaf? Join BLELC staff as we learn to ID some of regional trees in the winter. We will spend time hiking and IDing trees

in the field along with brining samples back to further investigate.  This is meant to be a family friendly event.

REGISTRATION REQUIRED:  https://forms.gle/LuR9SNa2hJ9bpXr26

We offer most of our program at no charge. If you are interested in supporting the ELC please consider donating.  All donations go towards removing barriers to programming and opening nature to all Donate

Winter Natural History Snowshoe Hike - 3/20/22 from 11am-1pm

Wolfski bird feeders

Join BLELC staff for a great end of the season hike (May need snowshoes) as we explore the natural history of the Boulder Lake Management Area.  This hike will start 11am at the Wolfski Welcome Center.  Snowshoes available for rent.

If you are renting BLELC snowshoes, be sure to arrive by 10:30am. Supplies limited so register today. 

REGISTRATION REQUIRED: https://forms.gle/chKxbzvFXSqE73228

We offer most of our program at no charge. If you are interested in supporting the ELC please consider donating.  All donations go towards removing barriers to programming and opening nature to all Donate

Fall Phenology - November 6th @ 10:00am (Free)

Join us for this free and family friendly event.  Ben and Lydia will lead you on a group hike around the Boulder Lake Management Area to explore the wonders of fall in the forests of northern Minnesota. Come meet other outdoor lovers and learn what constitutes phenology, the study of changing seasonal phenomena as it relates to plants, animals, and the climate. No special experiences are necessary, just a will to be outdoors, curiosity of the changing seasons, and the want to have some fun! Come dressed for fall weather and wear sturdy shoes for hiking around. 

Program capped at 12 participants

REGISTRATION REQUIRED: https://forms.gle/AeSYjo96aQFY9jzj6

If you are interested in supporting the ELC please consider donating.  All donations go towards removing barriers to programming and opening nature to all Donate

    How do you LICHEN Boulder Lake? - November 13th @ 10:00am (Free)

    What in the world is lichen anyway? Come find out in this beginner class for all ages. We will walk about one mile at a slow pace, stopping to explore the ground, rocks, and tree bark for different types of lichen. We guarantee you will see something you've probably never seen before in this Boulder Lake program!  A hand lens is recommended but not necessary. Program is rain, snow, or shine.

    Program will be capped at 12 participants.

    REGISTRATION REQUIRED: https://forms.gle/FsueTxByeHHhPuju9

    If you are interested in supporting the ELC please consider donating.  All donations go towards removing barriers to programming and opening nature to all Donate

    Turtles of Boulder Lake - August 7th @ 10:00am (Free)

    Snapping Turtle

    Starting each year in early June, female snapping turtles make their way out of the Boulder Lake Reservoir and onto land to

    begin depositing eggs into nests they dig with their hind legs. With over one hundred nests counted this year, it’s well known that the area is favorable for snapping turtles. Join us to learn why the Boulder Lake Management Area contains significant habitat for snapping turtles and how their reproductive success is limited by predators that dig up their nests and consume the contents.

    Open to all ages.

    Cost: Free

    REGISTRATION REQUIRED

    If you are interested in supporting the ELC please consider donating.  All donations go towards removing barriers to programming and opening nature to all.   Donate

    First Annual Boulder Lake ELC Canoe Fishing Derby - August 14th from 7am - 2pm

    Join us for our First Annual Boulder Lake ELC l Fishing Derby on Saturday Aug 14th from 7am - 2pm

    Canoe fishing

    The registration link for the BLELC Fishing Derby is live!

    https://umd-umn.nbsstore.net/boulder-lake-elc-fishing...                                 

    • Limited spots available (25 teams of 2 participants)
    • When: August 14th 7 AM- 2 PM.
    • How does it work? Catch-measure-photograph-release.
    • We will have prizes, light snacks
    • Come hangout on beautiful Boulder Lake.
    • COST: Entry fee $25/person or $50/team

    Registration Required

    If you are interested in supporting the ELC please consider donating.  All donations go towards removing barriers to programming and opening nature to all.   Donate

    Astro Bob Presents: What's up with the moon (And a sneak peek at the fall aurora season) - Aug 14th @ 8:15pm

    Astro Bob

    We'll explore our nearest cosmic neighbor and then get better acquainted with the bright planets of summer and fall. We'll also look forward to the upcoming aurora season. 

    Weather permitting, we'll go out after class for a close-up look at the moon, Saturn and Jupiter through a telescope

    This program is open to all ages.  

    Cost: $5/person; 10 years old and under are free

    When: 8/14

    • Start time: 8:15pm
    • End time: 9:30pm if bad weather; 11pm or later if clear skies (you are free to leave at any time).

    Where: Boulder Lake ELC

    Registration Required

    Presenter Bio:  Bob King fell in love with the night sky and astronomy when he was a kid growing up in Illinois and loves to share his passion with people of all ages. Bob worked as a photojournalist and photo editor at the Duluth (Minn.) News Tribune for 39 years before retiring from the paper in 2018.

    These days, when he's not chasing comets and auroras, Bob writes for Sky & Telescope's website and magazine and maintains the Astro Bob astronomy blog. He also teaches community education astronomy classes at the University of Minnesota-Duluth planetarium.

    His books Night Sky with the Naked Eye and Wonders of the Night Sky You Must See Before You Die describe the joys of skywatching, while Urban Legends of Space, examines science vs. pseudoscience in astronomy.

    Registration Required

    If you are interested in supporting the ELC please consider donating.  All donations go towards removing barriers to programming and opening nature to all.   Donate

    Discovery Weekend: Discover your Boulder Lake ELC - October 2nd-3rd from 10-3pm each day (Free)

    Are you curious of what's going on out the the Boulder Lake ELC?  Stop out the weekend of the October 2nd-3rd between 10am and 3pm to learn more about YOUR ELC. Did you know we are open 7 days a week? have 22 campsites, ~20 miles of trail, rent canoes among other equipment, and provide excellent environmental educational opportunities.  Come out and talk to our great staff and volunteers!

    Over the weekend you will be able to:

    • Go for a paddle with ELC canoes (we provide PFD's and paddles)
      • We typically rent canoes for $40/day.  For this weekend only you can head out on the reservoir for up to 1hour free.
      • Available between 10-3pm each day - First come basis
    • Guided naturalist hikes
      • Heading out each hour between 10-2pm
    • Self exploration - We have ~10 miles of trail mowed
    • Games - We will have Kubb, Bocce and other games available to play at the ELC

    Discovery Weekend: Discover your Boulder Lake ELC - July 24-25 - 10-3pm each day (Free)

    Are you curious of what's going on out the the Boulder Lake ELC?  Stop out the weekend of the 7/24-25th between 10am and 3pm to learn more about YOUR ELC. Did you know we are open 7 days a week? have 22 campsites, ~20 miles of trail, rent canoes among other equipment, and provide excellent environmental educational opportunities.  Come out and talk to our great staff and volunteers!

    Over the weekend you will be able to:

    • Go for a paddle with ELC canoes (we provide PFD's and paddles)
      • We typically rent canoes for $30/day.  For this weekend only you can head out on the reservoir for up to 1hour free.
      • Available between 10-3pm each day - First come basis
    • Guided naturalist hikes
      • Heading out each hour between 10-2pm
    • Self exploration - We have ~10 miles of trail mowed
    • Games - We will have Kubb, Bocce and other games available to play at the ELC

    Boulder Bats: Our nighttime friends - July 24th @ 7:45pm - 9:30pm (Free)

    Bathouse

    This program will have 2 parts. Part 1: Learn about the native bats that call Northern MN home and how White-nose syndrome

    is affecting them.  Part 2: Learn how BLELC staff is monitoring bats through a hands on demonstration that will show you how we are able to identify the different species as they are emerging for their nightly feeding.

     

    Astro Bob Presents: Stars, Planets and Satellites of the Summer Sky - July 17th @ 8:45pm

    Astro Bob

    Learn basic astronomy concepts along with the bright constellations and planets of the summer sky. Weather permitting, we'll

    go out after class for a close-up look at the moon, Saturn and other deep-sky wonders through a telescope. 

    This program is open to all ages.  

     

    Wildflower Hikes - May and June from 10am-11:30am (FREE)

    Wildflower hike

    Spring is here and the wild flowers are blooming! Bring your favorite field guide and join us on a hike in the Boulder Lake

    Environmental Learning Center area to look for and enjoy the spring flowers. We will look for spring ephemeral flowers like Hepatica, Large-flowered Bellwort, Nodding Trillium, and many more early blooming flowers. We may find an orchid in bloom and we might see a carnivorous plant in the bog. Meet at the Wolfski welcome center for this fun spring outing. Bring your binoculars if you wish to check on the spring bird migration during the hike.

    Due to continued COVID protocols we limit the size of the groups to 6 participants.

    Saturday Birding Hikes: May 22nd and 29th from 6:30am - 10am (FREE)

    Join us for a leisurely, 2 mile, round-trip bird-watching stroll at Boulder Lake! We’ll search for fascinating migratory warblers like the Wilson’s and Blackpoll Warblers. We’ll also look for our lovely summer residents like the Scarlet Tanager and Rose-breasted Grosbeak. And we’ll scan the waters for birds like Wood Duck and Belted Kingfisher. These walks are for beginner birders and visitors are welcome to come and go as they please. Binoculars will be provided for those who need a pair. Spotting scopes are encouraged for waterfowl viewing. Meet at the Wolfski welcome center (North parking lot by main gate).

    Boulder Lake ELC Annual Tree Giveaway - May 22nd from 9am -2pm (Registration required)

    Gravel Bed

    On Saturday 5/22 from 9-2 (or all trees are gone) Boulder Lake ELC will hosting our annual tree giveaway.  Donations towards

    the learning center will be accepted.  We will have White pine, White spruce, Paper birch, Red oak, Red Maple, Juneberry, Elderberry, Chokecherry to name a few...full list of trees available along with quantities will be posted one week prior to the event (once we know the stock that we have).  

    Boulder Lake ELC Annual Birding Big Day - May 8th from 7am - 12pm (Registration required)

    Boulder Birding Big Day

    Join us on May 8th, 2021 for our annual birding big day. Team up with birders of all levels to count as many species of birds as possible (hit the trails and try to break the current record of 93 species)! This event is brought to you in partnership with the Duluth Audubon Society.

    This is a family-friendly event where small teams of birders of all experience levels spend the morning counting as many species as they can near the Boulder Lake area.

    Shed Hunting:  April 11th between 9-2pm (FREE)

    Come out and learn about shed hunting through this free event. Shed hunting is an outdoor recreation activity that involves hiking in the woods looking for deer antlers that naturally fall off bucks after the rut in late winter. Besides learning more about the activity of shed hunting you will also have an opportunity to learn basic GPS and Map and Compass skills. This is a free opportunity and limited to 6 people per session. We will provide three sessions.

    Let's Talk Vultures!  March 15th @ 7:00pm (FREE)

    Join us for this two-part presentation about one of the most underappreciated species on the planet. This first part will be a ZOOM talk on March 15th @7:00pm that will introduce you to the vultures, why they're so important, and why they're on the brink of extinction. Part two will take place in April, (Date to be determined).  We will meet at Ely's Peak to learn more about (and hopefully observe) our own Minnesota turkey vulture. 

    PRE-REGISTRATION REQUIRED

    Presenter Bio:

    Kelli Carroll is a sophomore at UMD in the outdoor and environmental education program. She plans to intern at a wildlife rehabilitation center next year, and wants to work as a vet tech for wildlife when she graduates. She's always had a love for underappreciated animals, and vultures are her absolute favorite. When she's not gushing about turkey vultures, you can find her hiking, playing video games, and getting distracted by dogs.

    If you are interested in supporting the ELC please consider donating.  All donations go towards removing barriers to programming and opening nature to all.   Donate

    Family Tracks and Traces: February 15th - 19th

    BLELC Tracks and Traces
    Thu, 02/11/2021 - 13:16
    rhueffme

    Join us as we explore the signs of the woodland creatures that call Boulder Lake their home.  These outings are for households and family pods and will be tailored to your group and the ages of the participants.  Pre-registration is required at least 24hrs prior to the event.  Due to COVID 19 policies, programming will be held for single households or family pods ONLY per session. 

    Each session in 2 hours and we have session starting at 9am and 12pm 

    Maximum groups size is 6.
     
    Prices: $10/adult, $5/18-12 years old and 11 and under free.

    Bring check (made out to Boulder Lake ELC) or cash on the day of the event

    Register


    Annual Events

    Night Ski and Snowshoe

    • Typically the 3rd Saturday in January

    Boulder Birding Big Day

    • Typically the 2nd or 3rd Saturday in May

    Spring Tree give-a-way

    • Typically the 3rd or 4th Saturday in May

    National Public Lands Day

    • Typically end of September

    Winter Holiday Tree cut

    • The First Saturday in December

    Wreath Making Workshops

    • The first week of December