Boulder Lake ELC Provides Sustainable Holiday Wreaths

Baihly Warfield
Updated: December 04, 2018 06:27 PM

As fresh snow covered the branches of the trees at the Boulder Lake Environmental Learning Center, it could have been a scene from a holiday movie. 

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Ryan Hueffmeier clipped a few eye-level branches off a Balsam Fir, saying, "You can't beat this, can you?"

He was gathering boughs for volunteers to fashion into fresh holiday wreaths. 

"We utilize this balsam bough harvesting not only for the environmental benefit of the ladder fuel, removing it, but ... we can trim the trails," Hueffmeier explained, "and get it from whapping people in the face."

Natural wreaths are one way Boulder Lake promotes sustainability year-round. 

"We had a fairly early freeze this year, and it stayed cold, which allowed us to harvest earlier than we normally would have," Hueffmeier said. 

It was Melanie Hallstein's first time volunteering at Boulder Lake, but she and her friend Laura thought it was a perfect way to spend some time together while serving a greater purpose. 

"Usually, when we spend time together, it's really about just having a good time," Hallstein said. "And this is combining a good time and doing something bigger than yourself."

Joyce Hein has helped make wreaths for several years. 

"Sometimes we're out collecting, and then we're back in here making wreaths," Hein said. "We've got lots of other volunteers and a lot of fun and laughter and a little Christmas music to get you in the spirit for the holidays."

The scent of the balsam boughs was enough to put you in a good mood. Hueffmeier said there is science behind that. 

"Balsam is one of those that a lot of research shows it just brings stress levels down," he said. "It's just healthy. It's just really good for you."

It did seem to be rubbing off on the volunteers. 

"Couldn't be a better day," Hallstein said. "It's like snowing and mystical, and I'm with one of my best friends, so just a great day."

There are several opportunities for anyone to make their own wreath from the Boulder Lake balsams. From 6-8 p.m. the next three Wednesdays, Dec. 5, 12 and 19, you can go make a fresh wreath. The events are at Glensheen and cost $20 to participate. 

All of the money from those goes to support Boulder Lake's environmental learning programs. 


Baihly Warfield

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