Volume 106 #40
This Week at Rotary
We Meet at Noon on Thursday
April 8, 2021
(Also Via Zoom)
For Those Attending in Person
Plated Meal Served - Count Needed
(Zoom Meeting Opens at 11:45)
(Link Sent Thursday Morning)
Leo P. Spott, JD
The Mariana Islands – America’s Influence in the Pacific
Fellow Rotarian, Leo Spott (Twin Cities Rotary EcoClub) will delve into the historical, cultural, and geopolitical role of this distant, not often spoken about island territories of the United States. As an aspiring law student, Leo traveled 6,851 miles to experience this far-flung part of our country.
Highlights from Last Week’s Meeting
By Darlene Anderson
As Rotarians gathered in the Great Lakes Ballroom of the Holiday Inn and via Zoom, Allen Anway shared this tidbit with today's Gimlet reporter: “Rather than calling yourself the scribe you could call yourself the amanuensis.” Amazing what one can learn when attending a Rotary meeting!
Standing for the Pledge of Allegiance and pondering the meaning of amanuensis
With the ringing of the Rotary bell, President Dean Casperson called the meeting to order. Past Assistant Governor Phil Strom provided the Rotary Reflection on the environment and the relationship between local schools and Wolf Ridge Nature Center. It is a highlight of 5th graders to be immersed in environmental study and experience nature first hand when they travel to Wolf Ridge. In the April issue of the Rotarian the article “In Our Nature” describes how Rotary International has taken an intense role to support the environment and sustainable practices.
The Grants Committee has selected the organizations to receive the $15,500 available for the second half of the year. Grants Committee Chair Jenny Peterson thanked Kjell Knudsen, Jim Swartz, Jerry Ostroski, Dean Casperson, Catherine Carter-Huber, Jerry Pelofske, Geiger Yount and Gary Melander for reviewing the nine grant requests that totaled $41,000. They then selected six organizations to receive funds. Receiving the first check was Tracie Clanaugh, Executive Director of First Witness Child Advocacy Center. Tracie shared that the $3,000 will be used to fund two new initiatives within their “Prevention Program”. 
Tracie Clanaugh with Jenny Petterson
Chair of the Day Al Makynen introduced the Executive Director of Wolf Ridge Environmental Learning Center, Peter Smerud. Peter joined the Wolf Ridge team in 1987 as a naturalist and director of adventure education programs. He went on to be part of the administration team. For the past 10 years he has led the team that brings multi-day learning experiences to more than 13,000 people at their campus every year making Wolf Ridge the largest accredited environmental learning center in the United States.
Peter noted that he first became a friend of Rotary when his daughter was sponsored by the North Shore Rotary Club to be an exchange student to Germany. He also noted that this is his first in person presentation in a year and it is so good to see “real” faces.
Peter Smerud of Wolf Ridge sharing the Minnesota and China connection
Wolf Ridge covers 2,000 acres in Finland, Minnesota and recently acquired 68 acres on the shoreline of Lake Superior at Little Marais. It was a few years ago that Chen Yang from China was touring over 30 environmental centers worldwide. Chinas was seeking an advisory group to assist them in developing an environmental awareness program. After visiting a number of centers, Wolf Ridge was selected.
China has 96 nature preserves along its coastline including one near the southern city of Shenzhen. Shenzhen had been a small fishing village of 30,000 people but overnight changed when it became a “Special Economic Zone”. It quickly grew to a city of 20 million and became the fourth largest city in China with a land footprint just one-quarter the size of Chicago.
It was here that China built an environmental learning facility. It is very different from Wolf Ridge where the focus is hands-on learning including mud boot hikes in the bog. In China there are paved trails to a nature site accompanied by a guide. They have great displays but a passive level of education. For instance, when studying birds they learn to identify the bird, but never hold a feather or feed a bird.
Last year Peter traveled to China spending 20 days with officials looking to make changes in their environmental learning. He discussed the curriculum and stories of how Wolf Ridge engages those who visit the center knowing that it would have to be modified in China due to the large number of people. Yet in five years, Shenzhen would like to have half of their school children experience a day at their center. It will have to look different than Wolf Ridge as it would involve 800,000 visitors per year. Now the next steps involve bringing Chinese graduate students to Wolf Ridge to work and learn about the program here and Wolf Ridge sending graduate students to China to assist them there.
Many questions were asked following Peter's presentation including when Wolf Ridge will reopen. Their target date is June with family camps and wilderness camps. By fall they plan to offer overnight environmental trips for fifth graders and want to include the students who missed out in 2020.
Chair Al Makynen, Speaker Peter Smerud, President Dean Casperson
This Week's Meeting
Thursdays at 12:00 PM
In person and via Zoom
207 W. Superior St. Suite 201
Duluth, MN 55802
United States of America
Venue Map
Apr 08, 2021
The Marianas Islands: America's Influence in the Pacific
Apr 22, 2021
Leadership and Change During the Pandemic
Apr 29, 2021
High Speed Rail in America
May 06, 2021
The Bethany Crisis Shelter: The Second Chapter
May 20, 2021
Update on the Duluth Zoo
May 27, 2021
The Department of Natural Resources Divisions and Parks and Trails
Jun 03, 2021
St. Luke's Hospital Expansion
View entire list
Upcoming Events
Rotary Board of Directors
Apr 20, 2021 3:30 PM
Rotary Board of Directors
May 18, 2021 3:30 PM
View entire list
Birthdays & Anniversaries
Member Birthdays
Kjell Knudsen
April 1
Ruth Ann Eaton
April 8
Paul Wojciak
April 20
Sandy Hoff
April 27
Al Makynen
April 28
Join Date
Tom Young
April 1, 1995
26 years
Phil Strom
April 23, 1981
40 years
Grant Hauschild
April 25, 2019
2 years
Jim Grant
April 29, 1982
39 years
Official Publication of
Rotary Club of Duluth
207 W. Superior St.
Suite 201
Duluth Minnesota 55802
Editor: Al Makynen
Rotary Office Hours:
By Appointment Only
Until Further Notice