News & Notes

Students from Career Ventures learn job skills while repairing boats

Every other week, students from Career Ventures volunteer their time and talent to make an impact at Wilderness Inquiry. Career Ventures serves people who are Deaf, Deafblind, Hard-of-Hearing, Blind and Low Vision. The partnership between Wilderness Inquiry and Career Ventures is mutually beneficial, with students learning job-related skills while providing amazing work that contributes to fulfilling WI’s mission.


Beth Finch, John Butler, and Doug Martin join Wilderness Inquiry’s Board of Directors

Wilderness Inquiry is thrilled to welcome Beth Finch, John Butler, and Doug Martin as new board members. Our Board is an involved and experienced group of volunteers who are dedicated to carrying out WI’s mission. Beth, John, and Doug have been enthusiastically elected to join our team!

All introduced to WI in a unique way, our newly appointed board members bring a wide range of skills to Wilderness Inquiry’s leadership team and have a strong connection to our mission of discovering common ground through inclusive outdoor adventures.  (more…)

Breaking the ice: Somali-American youth in America’s winter wilderness

Wilderness Inquiry’s winter Boundary Waters trip with Ka Joog, a nonprofit that works with Somali youth, was recently featured in Minnesota Monthly Magazine. By Alexandra Baumhardt.

The world outside the 15-passenger van is blindingly white. Snow blankets the forest floor, the white pine and birch trees, and falls from a phosphorescently bright, white sky. 

Inside, 11-year-old Saed Mohamed of Minneapolis presses his nose against the window. “How’d you know there’d be snow up here?” he asks the twentysomething wilderness guide at the wheel. Somewhat apprehensively, Saed zips his coat up to his chin and pulls his hat over his ears. Though he’s grown up in Minnesota, this is totally new territory for him. (more…)

I am the strength behind ataxia — A tribute to Sarah Hale

We are saddened by the loss of long-time Wilderness Inquiry adventurer Sarah Hale. We sincerely admire her determination in the face of disease and her commitment to helping others with ataxia through her work with the National Ataxia Foundation. With permission, we’re posting an abridged version of her memorial written by her sister.

By: Helena Mbele-Mbong

This is a tribute to my sister, Sarah Elizabeth Hale, who died of complications due to ataxia in December 2016, aged 67. It is also a tribute to the National Ataxia Foundation and to Wilderness Inquiry, both of which made a significant contribution to the quality of her life in her last eight years. (more…)

Canoemobile inspires future conservation leaders!

This article originally appeared in the United States Department of Agriculture’s blog by Leah Anderson.

A young girl looks fearfully at the large wooden canoe bobbing on the water. She steps into the canoe and it moves. She yelps, and is given a reassuring smile by her boat captain. She gets settled holding her paddle tightly, convinced with every movement that the canoe will capsize. (more…)

Wilderness Inquiry featured for work with people who are deaf, deafblind and hard of hearing

This column originally appeared in the Commission of Deaf, Deafblind & Hard of Hearing Minnesotans Newsletter by Anne Sittner Anderson.

Wilderness Inquiry’s Associate Director Julie Storck and MNCDHH’s Communications Coordinator Anne Sittner Anderson sat down to discuss Wilderness Inquiry, an outdoor adventure program that prioritizes inclusion and has a history of working with people who are deaf, deafblind and hard of hearing. In fact, the first WI trip led by Executive Director Greg Lais included two individuals who were deaf.


2016 in photos

At Wilderness Inquiry, we have a lot of great stories to tell. One of the best ways we can do that is through photographs. As the media specialist at Wilderness Inquiry, I get to document participants’ journeys and see all of the photos our trail guides bring back from trips.

I get to see the beautiful places we travel to and the ways those places transform and change people. In photographing these trips, we can share these experiences with the world. Photos have the ability to capture and communicate not just what is pictured, but feelings, stories, and ultimately, the essence of the human experience. (more…)

Getting in the boat together with Canoemobile on the Chattahoochee River

Yesterday we had a special guest named Aimee Copeland come out to paddle with Canoemobile on the Chattahoochee River near Atlanta. We warn you in advance that this story may encourage you to do things that you didn’t think you could.

Aimee is an amazing young woman who garnered national attention a few years ago when a zip line accident occurred in a river near her friend’s house. While in the air, the zip line broke and Amy fell into the river where she received a deep gash in her leg. Unfortunately, the water harbored a flesh-eating bacteria which resulted in an amputation of her left leg up to her hip, and another amputation of her right leg below her knee. The doctors also had to eventually amputate both of her hands. (more…)

WI adventurer to police reserve officer

Wilderness Inquiry taught me to be a leader and I want to thank you for making that possible.

Seven years ago, I joined WI through the youth leadership program. Since then, I’ve been on dozens of trips, and last summer I arranged a Boundary Waters trip for my roommate and friends. Now I volunteer weekly at Wilderness Inquiry and do a variety of tasks. Here I am filling spice bottles for tasty trail meals. (more…)

Rochester elementary students begin their journey with the Zumbro River

Wilderness Inquiry’s Canoemobile visited Rochester for the first time this year in a statewide push to connect more kids in Greater Minnesota to their local waterways and public lands.

With the help of Minnesota’s Legacy Arts & Cultural Heritage Fund and Rochester Public Schools’ Riverside Elementary principal, Matt Ruzek, this fall’s Canoemobile program on the Zumbro River will be the first of a series of Wilderness Inquiry (WI) experiences for the 240 3rd, 4th and 5th grade students. (more…)

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