Holiday tree cut and wreath sale

Spreading holiday cheer, one balsam bough at a time.

Boulder Lake Environmental Learning Center (BLELC) has several opportunities for families to get festive this holiday season while also raising funds for the 18,000-acre natural classroom.

Two wreath kits against the snow

BLELC’s DIY wreath kits are back this year. On sale now, until they sell out, these take-home craft projects can be assembled with your family in the comfort of your own home. The forest materials are sustainably harvested at Boulder Lake Management Area.

Kits contain a metal wreath frame (choice of 10” or 12”), balsam fir boughs, wire, accents (pine, spruce, dogwood, cones) and a link to “how to” video instructions that include suggestions on how to creatively utilize leftover balsam scraps and forage for additional materials to accent the wreaths, such as downed birch bark (never harvest from a live tree) or high bush cranberries.

For those who prefer to have a little guidance, the Glensheen Mansion is hosting wreath-making workshops again this year. Boulder Lake staff and volunteers will be on hand to help. Finally, BLELC’s popular annual tree cut is happening December 4. The event, which allows families to visit the woods around Boulder Lake to cut down their own trees, has been going on for more than two decades.

BLELC Director Ryan Hueffmeier explains that this is not just a fundraiser, it’s an opportunity to participate in non-timber and sustainable forestry practices. He notes that harvesting and thinning balsams during the holiday season not only assists in fire management, it also provides a regional economic resource. “The holiday season is our biggest fundraising time of the year. We’re excited to be able to offer our tree cut again this year,” says Hueffmeier. “We also came up with a contactless, socially distanced way to provide our popular wreath-making experience. We at Boulder Lake ELC wish you all a safe and healthy holiday season.”

Swag box in front of Boulder Lake sign that says "Welcome to 18,000 acres"

Wreath Sale - preorder a kit

  • Cost is $30 for a 12” wreath, $20 for a 10” and $35 for an 8” swag planter.
  • Wreath kit pick-up starts on 11/27.
  • Staff will contact about pick up time.
  • Delivery option (within 25 miles of the ELC) for an additional $10 fee.
  • Wreaths will be sold up until Christmas or sell-out date.

Wreath Making Class at Glensheen

  • Note: this is a popular activity that fills up fast. Register ahead.
  • Cost is $25.
  • November 29, 30; December 1, 2 from 6–8 p.m.

Tree cut

  • December 4 from 10am - 2pm. 
  • Cost is $20/tree. Wreath-making kits and swag boxes will also be available during the event. 
  • Held at the Bear Paw parking lot. Directions.
  • Bring your own saw, sled and tie downs.

Questions? Contact: [email protected]

Make a Donation to BLELC

Donate directly to Boulder Lake ELC to support programming, bus funds, and internship stipends.

Donations of canoes, kayaks, snowshoes, fishing gear (summer and winter) and camping gear are also welcome.  If you have items that you think BLELC could use, send an email to [email protected].

The Boulder Lake Environmental Learning Center is based within UMD’s College of Education and Human Service Professions. The nonprofit provides innovative education to increase awareness, understanding, and skills related to sustainable natural resource management. The center’s activities are made possible through a partnership between Minnesota Power, St. Louis County and UMD.

Two swag boxes on the frozen lake