Welcome Fall!

I’ve learned that it’s important for me to savor each shift in weather as it happens, rather than looking forward to and/or worrying about the snow and ice that lies ahead of us. What can you do today to appreciate today’s weather without thinking about the seasonal extremes that lie ahead of and behind us?

It’s back to school time in Minnesota and our Friday mornings are a little quieter, without our Kids Makers Morning program (be sure to read Alexia’s blog post about KMM below!). But at the Ely Folk School, learning opportunities occur year-round and the back-to-school season simply marks a shift in what we’re exploring. I spent parts of my summer learning to harvest and to play with birch and basswood bark. In the photo above, Alexia and I are working on accessing the cambium, or inner bark, layer of basswood logs given to EFS after a storm necessitated the tree be cut down. The bark will be retted in lake water for several weeks before being ready to weave baskets

This month also marks the opportunity to harvest manoomin. If you’ve not been ricing before but are curious to learn more, we recommend checking out the 1854 Treaty Authority YouTube Channel and signing up for our Manoomin Gabeshiwin (Wild Rice Camp) class with Ryan Bajan on Saturday, September 23.

If you’re going out harvesting this season, be sure to review Minnesota regulations on rice harvesting, purchase a license, and harvest only ripe manoomin. 

It’s also a great time of year to get out hiking, biking, and driving. The leaves are already slowly changing colors and Ely’s trails have much to offer. 

Autumn is also a great time to reconnect after a busy summer season. We hope to see you at a Taste of Blacksmithing class this weekend, Thursday Makers Morning, or next Saturday’s Community Dance at the Ely Senior Center!

As always, feel free to send us an email with questions or feedback.

Lucy Soderstrom, Program Director


View full list of classes online.



Monthly Sisu: Kids Makers Morning 2023 wrap up

Written by Alexia Springer

“The second year of Kids Makers Morning (KMM) wrapped up a few weeks ago and the Ely Folk School is a bit quiet on Friday mornings without the sounds of rambunctious crafting kids. The program ran every Friday from June 16th through August 25th for three hours each morning. This year, Jen Toddie led activities for kids aged 3-6 in the little blue classroom while Bekah Lunn led the 7-12 year olds in the main building. Partnering with ECR again this year had a big impact on the success of the program. ECR staff led and supervised activities weekly and spent time outside of KMM with many of the kids that attended in other programs. “

Continue reading


What are EFS Instructors working on outside of teaching classes?

Joey Kenig

Collage/crayon drawings and a recording project (with Will Soll and Andy Curry) in St Louis


We invite you to become a Friend of Ely Folk School through your donation. Thank you so much for helping us accomplish our mission of building community by providing learning experiences that celebrate the wilderness heritage, art, history, culture, and craft of the people of northern Minnesota.

The Ely Folk School is made possible by: Arrowhead Regional Arts Council, Donald G. Gardner Humanities Trust, Lake Country Power, Minnesota State Arts Board, Clean Water Land & Legacy Amendment, and Rotary International.