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Summer Academic Enrichment Eligible Programs

Program Info
Program: Beginning Survival Camp
Sponsoring Organization: Wolf Ridge Environmental Learning Center

Main Contact
Name: Rachel Giemza
Title: Summer Program Director
Address: 6282 Cranberry Road, Wolf Ridge ELC
Finland, MN 55603
Phone: (218) 353-7414
Web Site:
Curricular area: Science
Grades Served: 3 , 4


Our teaching philosophy is simple: learning happens best when one experiences it. Lives it. Breathes it. Hands-on activities combined with an unbelievably beautiful campus make our living laboratory the kind of educational experience you can’t get anywhere else.

The Beginning Survival Program was created for those campers with a high interest in developing their environmental science knowledge and skills, as well as their outdoor adventure and recreation skills. The goals and objectives for the program are to; Understand that all living and nonliving components of an environment interact with one another to form an ecosystem Understand that humans have a great ability to alter natural systems Gain an appreciation of their natural surroundings and take an active role in the conservation and stewardship of our environment. Understand that a complex natural system is more stable than a simple one, and more able to absorb disturbances. Gather evidence that all living things acquire physical and behavioral adaptations to be successful in their environment Demonstrate the ability to perform basic map and compass skills, including: measuring and plotting bearings on a topographic map, with emphasis on reading contour lines, recognizing landform features, and estimating elevation gains and losses. To develop self-reliance, self-confidence and self-respect To develop leadership skills to use in their own groups and communities. Understand human connections to weather and climate and how to maximize safety during inclement weather. To develop skills needed to build life-long friendships To learn basic survival skills and practice utilizing those skills To grow individually; to provide situations for each camper to set goals and learn new skills while reflecting on their camp experience. Experience a sense of community by living, working and experiencing camp with fellow campers and staff To enrich their spirit, mind and body and gain skills through challen


The Beginning Survival Program explores the science of ecosystems, plus relationships between people and their environment. We encourage participants to consider how their values and behaviors can influence and ultimately impact the world around them. Our curriculum and activities provide hands-on, memorable experiences that involve the whole person and address multiple learning styles.

We choose curricular content based on the local, natural and cultural history of Minnesota, as well as broader environmental issues. Science-based classes provide opportunities to learn more about our planet and how it works; cultural history classes give a glimpse of the way our predecessors interacted with local ecosystems to create a life for themselves; current event classes help us to understand emerging issues; personal growth and team-building classes develop skills for meeting personal and group challenges; and outdoor skill classes help students discover ways to keep learning about their environments for a lifetime.

Courses and activities for the Beginning Survival Program include; Wild edibles and Plant ID of Northern Minnesota Navigation Skills and Techniques using a Compass and Map Reading the Landscape by exploring the Geology of the Lake Superior Region Canoeing Survival Skills Traditional Skills and Crafts Shelter Building Renewable Energy – Solar Cooking, Harnessing the Wind for Power, Outdoor Cooking Traditional Fire Building Wilderness Ethics

Program Dates

One week session. July 21-26, 2024

Can students reside on campus? Yes

Can students commute to campus? No

Can students take online classes? No

Estimated residential cost per student
Tuition: $276
Fees: $122
Books: $0
Supplies: $50
Room/Board: $274
Transportation: $0