Wolf Ridge Environmental Learning Center has begun offering free online lessons to help students meet state academic standards.

The nonprofit organization, from its 2,000-acre campus near Lake Superior, has assembled 10-minute “Adventures in Learning” videos, each with two naturalists. After viewing each video, children head outside for hands-on activities: building and testing their own solar oven, creating natural art pieces or collecting data.

Nature journaling is part of each lesson, where children reflect on the outdoors.

“When teachers who normally bring students to Wolf Ridge were forced to cancel their spring field trips, we asked how we could help them meet their learning goals,” said Shannon Walz, the center’s associate director. “They let us know that they wanted to be sure their students would learn outside in the real world rather than be stuck on a screen all day.”

The free “Adventures in Learning” series can be found at wolf-ridge.org.



VA caregiver honored with fellowship

Jenny Schmidt, who serves as her husband’s VA-approved caregiver, was named one of 30 military and veteran caregivers nationwide to be a 2020 fellow for the Elizabeth Dole Foundation.

Schmidt met her husband after he was medically retired from the Army as a sergeant; they share five children. His military service was marked by wounds both physical and mental. He was medevaced twice while in combat zones. He has recovered from his physical injuries but still struggles with post-traumatic stress.

As part of the VA Caregiver program, Schmidt manages the household and uses her experience as a clinical mental health counselor to help her husband with his post-traumatic stress.

One other Minnesotan, Jenn Paulson of Faribault, is part of the 2020 class of fellows.



Port receives award for tonnage increase

The Port of Duluth-Superior won an award for the second year in a row for rising international cargo tonnage.

The St. Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation gave the port its Pacesetter award for increases in four of six cargo categories in 2019. The port supported a tenfold increase in general cargo, with wind energy components setting a single-season record of 306,000 freight tons.

The port marked a 16% increase in international tonnage shipped overall.

Pam Louwagie