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Newsletter Stories

Wednesday, 23 January 2019
Inspiring the next generation of environmental leaders

January 23, 2019

Founded in 1971, the Wolf Ridge Environmental Learning Center was the first environmental learning center to be accredited as a K-12 school in the United States. Each year, more than 15,000 students, teachers and parents visit the Center to learn about the environment and how to protect it.

Now these visitors will have one more topic to explore: Forest Stewardship Council certification. With development of the Margaret A. Cargill Lodge – the first registered Living Building in the state of Minnesota – the Center earned a 2018 FSC Leadership Award. From framing lumber and sheathing to LVLs and trusses, every piece of wood in the 22,000 square-foot building was FSC certified, reclaimed or recycled.

However, the project team at the Learning Center had other motivations beyond the Living Building Challenge. Employing principles of biophilic design, the team explored ways to bring the natural world inside the building, and nothing accomplishes this objective quite like the use of exposed wood grain on finished surfaces.

Surrounded by 2,000 acres of forest along the shores of Lake Superior, the Lodge itself will serve as a teaching tool for generations of future environmental leaders. The Center welcomes the opportunity to give tours of the Margaret A. Cargill Lodge, as well as the chance to share stories about the Living Building Challenge process. Whether you want to bring a school group to visit or better understand what it took to secure their responsibly-sourced wood, visit for more information.