Locally Grown Holiday Decor

Nov 22, 2022

Boulder Lake Environmental Learning Center hosting annual wreath sale and tree cut.

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

Families are invited to visit the woods around Boulder Lake to choose and cut their own trees on December 3. This fundraising event benefits the Boulder Lake Environmental Learning Center (BLELC), an 18,000-acre outdoor classroom, and has been happening for more than two decades.

The event has evolved over the years to include the sale of wreaths and other decorations. All of the balsam boughs, pine cones and other materials are sustainably harvested at the Boulder Lake Management Area.

“It’s fun to see families and friends coming together each year to cut trees and make wreaths,” says Ryan Hueffmeier, BLELC director. “It’s also BLELC’s biggest fundraiser and helps to support the center’s environmental educational programming.”

According to Hueffmeier,  the activities aren’t just beneficial for the nonprofit and participants—they benefit the forest itself. “Sustainably harvesting and thinning balsam firs helps with fire management,” he explains. 

The BLELC started to sell DIY wreath kits during the pandemic and will have them again this year.

Person's hands making a wreath

These take-home craft projects come with instructions and can be assembled at home. The center is also hosting multiple wreath-making workshops this year, at Boulder Lake, the Glensheen Mansion and at Bent Paddle Brewing. Boulder Lake staff and volunteers will be on hand to help. Those who don’t trust their craft skills can purchase pre-made wreaths, along with door swags and porch pots.

Pre-made wreaths, DIY wreath kits, door swags, and porch pots are available for preorder. Pick-up starts on 11/27. Staff will contact customers about a pickup time. Delivery option (within 25 miles of the ELC) for an additional $10 fee. Wreaths will be sold up until Christmas or the sell-out date.

Wreath-Making Classes

Two students putting together wreath kids

There will be three locations for the workshops this year. Note: this is a popular activity that fills up fast. Register ahead. The cost is $35.

  • Boulder Lake: 11/27 from 1–3 p.m.
  • Glensheen: 11/28; 11/29; 11/30; 12/1 from 5:30–8 p.m.
  • Bent Paddle: 12/8 from 5:30–8 p.m.

Holiday Tree Cut

December 3 from 10 a.m.–2 p.m. at Boulder Lake’s Bear Paw parking lot. Directions. Bring your own saw, sled and tie downs. The cost is $15/tree. Wreath-making kits and swag boxes will also be available for purchase during the event. Questions? Contact: [email protected]

Porch pot with view of Boulder Lake behind it

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 boulder @ d.umn.edu.

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.