Wolf Ridge Environmental Learning Center

Sustainable Design On Lake Superior

Wolf Ridge Environmental Learning Center is a captivating place in northern Minnesota that draws upon the elegance of nature’s design as a powerful teacher—particularly in teaching young children and teenagers. The center’s mission is to create memories that change people and their behavior—particularly as they interact with wildlife and the environment.

Until recently, however, the Wolf Ridge campus was not a model of sustainability. That changed when the center hired HGA to design a remodel of its existing dorm and add staff housing and a maintenance shed that would meet the highest standards in sustainability, energy use, and water conservation. HGA created a plan that focused on five zeros in energy, carbon, water, waste and materials. Resource use in each room can be monitored, encouraging students to modify their behaviors in sustainable ways.

What’s more, the buildings are designed to sit lightly on the land, having little impact on existing vegetation yet taking advantage of views to nearby Lake Superior. The environment itself, as well as the new living-learning facilities, create an ideal setting for learning, thinking, and transformation.


Finland, MN

Building Type

Learning Spaces, Community Centers, Student Life


22,000 SF

  • 2017 Top Projects, Finance & Commerce
  • 2018 FSC Leadership Award

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