IMG_4491 Born and raised in Princeton MN, Jaqlyn Bentz is a 21 year-old Anoka Ramsey Community College student pursuing her AA in business. At Anoka Ramsey, Jaqlyn enjoys participating in the theatre program and environment club.
Jaqlyn found about about the center through Peter Wahlstrom. She came up for ice ball this winter with the rest of e club. “It was super cold but at the same time it was great. I kind of got a taste of what living up here was like,” Jaqlyn said. Her mom told her people who want to take care of the environment are usually very compassionate. “I had a bunch of people come up and ask me if I needed snow pants, even though I’d just met them,” she said.
Jaqlyn spent a year working for Americorp with Habitat for Humanity, a nonprofit organization that aims to build simple housing for those in need. Three months after graduating, she found herself working there, leading volunteers around the construction sites and showing them how to use power tools.
Her first impression of Will was mostly awe when he came to speak at the college. After listening to him speak, she cemented her interest in wanting to be a resident intern at the center
Jaqlyn remembers rafting down on a homemade raft with empty barrels below to stay afloat on the quarry on the south side of Pickett’s Lake to collect rocks for stonemasonry. She never oared anything larger than a canoe or kayak
One of Jaqlyn’s most challenging things so far is bugs. “The hard labor is not that bad,” she said.
Jaqlyn misses her daycare job and the children there. “It’s weird being away,” she said, thinking of all the things the kids are going to do without her.
“I wish more people knew about the center in general. I think more people would come up if more people knew about it,” Jaqlyn said.
So far Jaqlyn has really enjoyed the homemade pizza. Jaqlyn has spent a lot of her free time reading. Currently she’s reading The Human Zoo by Desmond Morris, which compares human cities to zoos. Her favorite book is That Was Then, This Is Now by S.E Hinton.
A couple of Jaqlyn’s strengths are that she’s hard-working, outdoorsy and patient with others. She hopes to live in a tent for the six weeks because she’s never camped for that long. Jaqlyn hopes to leave her mark at the center by the time her residency is over, returning to Princeton to work at the daycare.

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Leif Larson is an 18 year-old freshman from Milaca, Minnesota, who will be attending Pacific University in Forest Grove, Oregon, where he is currently undecided with an interest in biology or outdoor education. After attending ice ball, Leif was interested in becoming an intern at the Wilderness Center this summer.
He first heard about the center through word-of-mouth from his dad. The mosquitoes here enjoy the taste of Leif’s blood, which has resulted in him acquiring the nickname “tasty boy.” Dodging mosquitoes has been Leif’s greatest challenge at the center so far.
Leif enjoys that the center is located outside of Ely, near the Boundary Waters. “I don’t think you could choose a better location for an endeavor like this.”
Before coming up to Ely this summer, Leif spent some time in southern Chile and Argentina. “Having water that comes from a spring a mile away is like a luxury,” he said, after returning from his backpacking trip in Patagonia, where fresh water was hard to come by.
“I wish people could understand exactly what Will’s vision is. People might have a vague idea of what the place represents with catchphrases such as ‘bold ideas’ on the website.”
“Will has it all in his head, and he knows what he wants.” Leif said.
Leif didn’t know what to expect when he first arrived at the center. He is content with how well the interns and apprentices seem to mesh living together in this community. Leif has grown fond of Johnny Ray, the center’s photographer, who is a kind-hearted soul with a lot of wisdom and great stories. He also appreciates Jenna for her positivity and kind demeanor, and is looking forward to learning more about everyone here.
Leif enjoys the synchronized lack of structure at the center. Everyday is a new day and you don’t really know what you’re going to do.
Tacos, spaghetti and pancakes have been Leif’s favorite dishes so far. During his free time, Leif enjoys jumping in the lake, napping, sitting around, canoeing and reading. The best book he’s read so far is Monkey Wrench Gang.
Leif describes himself as intellectual, self-motivated, and bootylicious. He is an ordained minister through the universal life church, and the others can rely on Leif for his sense of humor, well-timed movie quotes and calm demeanor.

morgan durbin
Morgan Durbin is a 20 year-old from St. Cloud, Minnesota, studying Peace Studies and Environmental Studies as a double major at the College of St. Benedict. During the fall, She’ll work as a tour guide and a research assistant in addition to being apart of the Blazer cross country and track team.
Morgan first heard about center through word of mouth at school. She hopes to learn everyday within every facet of life here at the center. She’s also looking forward to group boundary water trips on the weekend, and spending time with the wonderfully quirky people here.
Morgan has grown fond of the resident photographer Johnny Ray. “He’s a gem and he has the best laugh in the world,” she said.
After work, Morgan and Jenna can usually be found hanging out together. “Jenna described herself as our camp counselor. She’s upbeat, fun-loving and a sagittarius just like me, so we get along well,” Morgan said. Morgan thinks the apprentices seem happy to be here and she’s excited to learn more about them.
One of Morgan’s most repressed but memorable memories include dumping the outhouse waste. Her greatest challenge is the hard labor everyday. But she enjoys being able to see how the work she’s done is making an impact on the center.
“There’s something that really lets you be calm in places as beautiful as this,” Morgan said. Transitioning from India where she was studying abroad during spring semester to the center this summer has been great for Morgan.
“The center is for people to be inspired to save the environment that they’re in, so it’s important to actually see the center and be a part of the community.” Morgan said.
Morgan has been honored with the nickname “granny” at the center, because she goes to bed early and is very caring towards others. She has enjoyed cooking and eating homemade pizza so far. Her favorite novel is Into the Wild, which inspired her to name her new jeep Alexander Supertramp, after the main character in the story.
Some of the strengths Morgan brings to the group include positivity, thoughtfulness and an interest in meeting and learning about people.