Exploring the boreal forest by dogsled

Student Response Worksheet (upper): 1_13_14_StudentResponseU

Student Response Worksheet (lower): 1_13_14_StudentResponseL


This winter Amy and I are living on the edge of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness near Ely, Minnesota. Can you find Ely, Minnesota and the Boundary Waters on a map?  The Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, or BWCAW, is a very special place. There are no roads or houses in the wilderness. Cars and other motorized vehicles are not allowed there.  Over 1 million acres of pristine lakes, rivers, and boreal forest are protected in this wilderness area.  In fact, the water is so clean that in the summer Amy and I often dip our cups right in the lakes when we are thirsty.  There are very few places in the world where you can safely drink right out of the lake and it is something you should not try near your home.


Since there are no roads in the wilderness and motors are not allowed, the best way to explore the wilderness is by canoe in the summer and snowshoes, skis, and dogsleds in the winter.  The lakes in the Boundary Waters are frozen from December through March and the forest is covered in a blanket o f snow.


This is our favorite time to explore the wilderness because we can use our dogsleds to visit places that few people ever see.  Plus, the 65 Canadian Inuit Sled Dogs that we will be working with all winter are really strong and lots of fun to work with.  For the next few months Amy and I will be leading people on dogsled trips in the Boundary Waters for Wintergreen Dogsled Lodge.  Wintergreen has the largest kennel of working Canadian Inuit Dogs in the world!  The Inuit Dogs originated in the Arctic. They have been used for thousands of years by the Inuit to hunt and travel. Many of the dogs at Wintergreen were born in Greenland and other places in the Arctic. Can you find Greenland on a map?


Each week, we will post new photos, videos, daily data, and Notes from the Trail as we explore the Boundary Waters with the help of our sled dogs.  It will be up to you to help us decide where we go and what we do each week using Caste YOUR Vote, and Dave’s Dilemma.

The Boundary Waters is located on the southern edge of the boreal forest. The boreal forest is the world’s largest biome. It represents 29% of the world’s forests. The boreal forest is also called the taiga. Most of Canada and Russia are covered in boreal forest and it forms a giant ring around the Northern Hemisphere.  The boreal forest stores enormous amounts of carbon and helps control the world’s climate. It is also home to lots of different animals, including: moose, black bear, wolves, ravens, snowshoe hare, lynx, marten, and gray jays.  You can learn about these and many other animals from the boreal forest in our Wilderness Library.


The map above shows the boreal forest in green.

Food for thought:

A Biome is a major regional or global biotic community, such as a grassland or desert, characterized chiefly by the dominant forms of plant life and the prevailing climate.

Amy and I are exploring the boreal forest biome, which is also called the taiga biome.  What biomes are near your house? Can you identify any animals that live in the biome near your house and also live in the boreal forest? Discribe how the climate is different where you live compared to the boreal forest. Is it hotter or colder where you live?

Use the link below to find the biome you live in.


Email us and let us know what biomes are found near your house and let us know what types of animals live there.

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