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July Newsletter

Things at the Folk School have felt good and lively lately with summer in full swing, and I’m feeling especially grateful to our community for pulling together to help things run smoothly here. At the beginning of last month we celebrated our 9th birthday with music, dancing, paddling, and eating. Since then we’ve finished our first successful Kid’s Makers Morning session of the summer, had folks in and out the door constantly to check out our mercantile, and had lots of exciting classes here in our classrooms and ceramic studio space. These things, of course, would not be possible without our amazing network of volunteers. Continue reading here.


June Newsletter

It’s been a whirlwind of a first month; I’ve been busy with meeting instructors and students, shadowing classes, and of course celebrating together at the Ely Folk School Spring Bonfire. I’m sure you all have been feeling the spring squeeze too–the season is all about stretching and growing! Between planting seedlings, foraging for edibles, and listening to the returning birds, we’ve also been thinking ahead about the sun shining down on us in summer, and how to prepare for all the bounty that’s headed down the pipeline. Already the doors of the Ely Folk School have been swinging open more often, and our community is growing to welcome back summer visitors and residents. Continue reading here.


May Newsletter

Happy May! We are gearing up for the summer season in Ely with exciting news! Anna Heil is joining the EFS team as our new full-time Program Director! We are so excited to be expanding our team and opportunities for you and others to engage with folk education! Anna and Alexia will be splitting class program duties by department. 

We hope you stop by and meet Anna soon! In the meantime, here’s a little bit about her. Anna is so excited to be joining the Ely Folk School as the new Program Director! Continue reading here.


April Newsletter

Traditionally, April is known as Iskigamizige-giizis (sap boiling moon). For over 800 years the ininaatigoog (sugar maple trees) of this region have given their sap to sustain the Anishinaabe people. The Seven Generations and The Seven Grandfather Teachings, a book by James Vukelich Kaagegaabaw gives insight into the Ojibwe language. James describes how various plants and animals go easy on humans to help us out in times of need. Iskigamizige-giizis references such a story. Ininaatig “the maple tree”, “the man tree” once told a hunter, when his people were going hungry in late winter, to make an incision in its bark and collect the sap inside. Ininaatig showed compassion and gave the Ojibwe people life supporting nourishment with its medicine and continues to this day. Continue reading here.


March Newsletter

March dawned sunny and warm. This year’s unsettling winter has many of us itching for spring and summer and may explain our very full house at Ellen Root’s Gardening in Northern Climates class earlier this week!

Spring, with its generative possibilities of rebirth and renewal, is a seasonally apt time to express your creativity and learn something new. From garden planning to basswood basketry; knife making to natural medicines, this period is ripe for spending time utilizing the extra energy and daylight that spring brings to learn something new that will enrich your life. 

For many families, spring is time to start thinking about summer plans. Keep reading to learn more about the Ely Folk School Summer 2024 Youth Programming – Kids Makers Morning and Creative Kids. Registration will open on April 1. Continue reading here.


February Newsletter

It is my great pleasure to announce that Lucy Soderstrom has been promoted to Executive Director of the Ely Folk School! 

If you’ve been following along our journey since our founding in June of 2015, you know that we have been steadily growing. In the early days we had one part time staff member who maintained the day to day operations of our little hub for intergenerational learning-for-life. Lucy became the organization’s first full-time staff person, our Program Director, in July of 2021. Continue reading here.


January Newsletter

Hello and Happy New Year! Many people regard the New Year as a chance to reflect and set new goals for their personal, professional, and social lives. One intention I have for 2024 is to step out of my comfort zone deliberately and vulnerably. Toward that end, I signed up for my friend Cecilia Rolando’s Six-Week Basic Drawing Class here at EFS this month. We had our first class session this week and it is definitely outside of my comfort zone! 

I am grateful for the environment Cecilia sets for her classes – she creates a space that is supportive and non-competitive. It is clear that she values everyone’s experiences and starting points. She exemplifies the folkelig or folk-like philosophy that the Ely Folk School is founded on – intergenerational, non-competitive learning for life. Continue reading here.