Annual 11-12 Osprey Wilds Trip a Success

By Zechariah San Nicolas and Dylan Schultz

March 18, 2024

Forest Lake, Minn. – Last November, NLA’s juniors and seniors, as well as NLA teachers Allison Tucker, Chelsie Thielen, Amanda Fredlund, and Halie Weaving, all went on a trip to Osprey Wilds Environmental Learning Center in Sandstone, Minnesota. While there, they participated in many activities like creating makeshift outdoor shelters, playing Predator vs Prey, doing archery and many other cool activities. The weather was damp and chilly (as it is in Minnesota during November), but it was fine for those who dressed for the occasion.

The Osprey Wilds organization is an authorizer of many charter schools across the state of Minnesota; North Lakes Academy is one of them. 

“One of our missions is to teach the youth about the environment, and the Osprey trip is one way that we do that,” said Thielen, who is the school’s Environmental Education Coordinator.  This was achieved by playing fun games like Predator vs Prey, which taught students about food chains, or being taught about the importance of green energy. The students spent time in contact with nature, eating s’mores, going on night hikes, and even building forest forts. The creativity of the students was on full display for that activity. 

“[Some kids] built an entire gazebo between the trees, others put up a rope swing,” Thielen said.  

Despite being in the woods, the trip doesn’t involve any camping.  Students stay in dorms with bunk beds and their own bathroom. They ate locally grown and homemade food, which was reportedly pretty yummy.

The trip was a great way to understand the environment (and how to protect it), while still having fun and giving students the freedom and fun that they deserve.  A wonderful time was had and this year’s juniors are looking forward to their senior trip.

The Osprey Wilds Environmental Learning Center is located on Grindstone Lake in Pine County, Minnesota.  You don’t have to be on a school trip to visit; it is open to the public,and they have several community events a year, including the upcoming Maple Sugar Day on Saturday, March 23, where participants tap maple trees and learn how syrup is made. To find out more, visit

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