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North Shore Morning

  • Friday 8-10am
News & Information

News and information, interviews, weather, upcoming events, music, school news, and many special features. North Shore Morning includes our popular trivia question - Pop Quiz! The North Shore Morning program is the place to connect with the people, culture and events of our region!


What's On:
Purple Finch.  Photo by Dennis Chick.

North Woods Naturalist: Bird survival skills

How do birds survive the northern winters?

WTIP's CJ Heithoff learns about the survival skills of birds from naturalist Chel Anderson in this edition of North Woods Naturalist.


ISD 166 photo by CJHeithoff

Sawtooth Mountain Elementary - School News February 13

Sawtooth Mountain Elementary - School News with Levi and Ella.
February 13, 2020


Fox in Snow_Photo by JaniceGill on Unsplash (500x500).jpg

Wildersmith on the Gunflint - February 14

Wildersmith on the Gunflint     by     Fred Smith
February 14, 2020    
Border country marks the half-way point of month two with images of scarlet hearts scattered over depths of our snowy landscape. Come to think of it, Valentines’ Day always splits February in two.                                                                                                                                                     

Since our last meeting on the radio, the atmospheric elements have been reasonably ordinary. A little snow and a few nights of subzero have been sandwiched between a few blue sky days as what we might expect this time of year.                                                                         

While the northland missed out on the big snow happening down south, this area has plenty. A walk off the plowed path earlier this week, as I did some winter brush pile burning, was a surprising challenge without snow shoes. Plowing through the woods found me wading in fluff from knee to near pockets deep in places.                                                                                                                                          

In one instance, it took me ten minutes to advance about fifty yards as I struggled to pull my boots from any number of now early season crusted layers. The trek had this old guy huffing and puffing by the time I got back on a solid track.                                                                                                           

It becomes fairly evident why large critters of the “wild neighborhood” possess the savvy to travel the path most used whenever possible, even when it is maintained by us two legged beings. If there were white tails in this neighborhood, as there was several years ago, they would be having a tough winter staying ahead of those hungry wolves in this belly deep snow.                                                                                                                                                      

Whereas our friendly fox prefers the maintained snow paths when she stops by, I see pock marks where she has veered off into the deep stuff and has scrambled to get back on top of things. The same shows true for the pine marten, as it maneuvers its way with a chicken treat in its jaws.                                                                                                                                                                               
On another note about this foxy gal, while many Gunflint folks have a story to tell about one or more of these red canids, the Smiths’ have one of their own to share. During the last couple visits, we have found the critter becoming ever more curious about this place in the woods.                                                                                                                                                                                       
In early visits she seldom got too close, but with pangs of hunger clouding her natural wariness, it has since come right to the wood shop door for a treat. With an evolving comfort level that I am the guy with the bucket of chicken, the little red gal has now edged her way up onto the deck around the house.                                                                                                                                                                 
Just days ago, we caught her sitting on the deck where she could look up through the windows. Obviously she could see us gawking folks inside, and she readily conveyed a subtle look of “don’t you see me, I’m here.” With each visit, as we watch her in amazement, I’ m not sure who is treated more, we observers or Ms. Fox.                                                                                                                    
The mid-Trail neighborhood looks to be busy this weekend as the Ridge Riders Snowmobile Club holds their annual drag races on Hungry Jack Lake. Registration begins at 11:00 am at Hungry Jack Lodge with racing to begin around 12:00 noon. There will be considerable traffic along the Trail and on HJ Road so be patient and safe.                                   
In other news, with my brush burning chores in the rear view mirror and snow removal tasks up to date, I’m able to get back into the wood shop. With the help of my saw dust making buddy on Loon Lake and good friend and diamond willow pro in Iowa, wood shaping has my attention.                                                                                                                                                                      
Projects include artifacts rehabilitation for the new Interpretive Cabin on the Chik-Wauk Museum Campus. The GTHS Exhibits Committee is hard at work completing arrangement of interior cabin exhibit items for the 2020 Campus opening on Memorial Day weekend.                                                                                                           

Meanwhile, the Chik-Wauk Campus Director and several Trustees are busy with next summer preparations as the GTHS celebrates year ten of telling the cultural and natural stories of the historic Gunflint Trail.                                                                                                                                                                                               

For WTIP, this is Wildersmith, on the Gunflint Trail, where every day is savored, like the sweetness of Valentines’ Day!


Snow flea. Photo by Don Henise on Flickr via Creative Commons,

North Woods Naturalist: Snow fleas

WTIP's CJ Heithoff talks with naturalist Chel Anderson about Springtails, also known as snow fleas, in this edition of North Woods Naturalist.


Photo by Eli Sagor via Flickr and Creative Commons (

North Woods Naturalist: Subnivean Microbes

It's a whole different world underneath our snowpack.

WTIP's CJ Hiethoff talks with naturalist Chel Anderson about subnivean microbes in this edition of North Woods Naturalist.


Photo by Courtney Celley/USFWS via USFWS Midwest Region on Flickr.

North Woods Naturalist: Cold weather courting and snow depth

What do cold weather courting and snow depth have in common?  Great Horned Owls have to carefully manage both of those things this time of year.  WTIP's CJ Heithoff talks with naturalist Chel Anderson to find out more in this edition of North Woods Naturalist.


Great Expectations School 7th and 8th graders are preparing for Costa Rica - Photo courtesy of the school

Great Expectations School students preparing for trip to Costa Rica

Students in the “Otters” classroom at Great Expectations School in Grand Marais are excited to announce an ambitious educational adventure. The class of 17 seventh- and eighth-graders will be traveling to Costa Rica on March 10-17, as part of Global Education Squads.

Global Education Squads is an organization that works to improve education around the world by connecting volunteer schools like Great Expectations with host schools and communities in underdeveloped areas like Ghana, Honduras, and Costa Rica.

While in Costa Rica, students will help build needed infrastructure and will work with local students in a classroom or daycare setting. In the evenings, students will attend classes and activities to learn about the area’s culture, history, and environment.

For more information about Global Education Squads, visit their website.

To help meet the costs of this service-learning trip for the Otters, a Go Fund Me page has been set up. Information can also be found on the Facebook page for Great Expectations School.

A lively fundraiser is also planned for Sunday, January 26 from 5:30 to 8 p.m. at the First Congregational Church in Grand Marais. There will be a chili feed, a bake sale, live music, a silent auction and the opportunity to meet the students working to get to Costa Rica.

The community is invited to “help support kids who want to make a difference.”

WTIP's Rhonda Silence sat down with two students who are making the trip, Grace and Sol. Here's more on the event and the upcoming fundraiser. 


Ice Arch Sunrise by Travis Novitsky

North Woods Naturalist: Marvels of January

From bear cubs being born to artic smoke and steam devils, there's plenty happening in the natural world as we approach the end of January.

WTIP's CJ Heithoff talks with naturalist Chel Anderson about the marvels of January in this edition of North Woods Naturalist.


The Lake Superior Project/Logo by Lauryl Loberg

LSProject: Northeast Minnesota - A history of fire, ice and inland seas

Northeast Minnesota has undergone many geologic events to produce the landscape we know today. Most of us know that glaciers left a large imprint on northeast Minnesota, but in Part 1 of a two-part series, Producer Martha Marnocha explores our geologic history before the glaciers – a period of time that lasted over three billion years and known as Minnesota’s bedrock history.

Thanks to naturalist Margie Menzies for her contribution to this feature.


First Snow by Travis Novitsky

North Woods Naturalist: A look back at 2019

2019 was certainly one of the wettest years in recent memory.

Naturalist Chel Anderson reflects on the year that was and talks winter ephemera with WTIP's CJ Heithoff in this edition of North Woods Naturalist.