About us
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The Zaaga'igan Ma'iinganag / Lakewolves program directors:

Rick Erickson

Lakewolves Co-director
Teacher, Bayfield High School

Rick Erickson teaches chemistry, physics, and alternative education at Bayfield High School. His passion is place-based, experiential education. As an educator, he is happiest when his students are exploring the rich Lake Superior region and actively participating in real-world science...but weekends are reserved for coffee and sauna.

 

Rick is a National Board Certified Teacher has been teaching high school science for over thirty seven years - the past twenty seven in Bayfield. He was a 1991 Minnesota Teacher of the Year Finalist, the 2014 Wisconsin High School Teacher of the Year and a 2019 Presidential Award of Excellence in Math and Science Teaching recipient.

 

Rick’s passion is place-based, experiential education. As an educator, he is happiest when his students are exploring the rich Lake Superior region and actively participating in real-world science...but weekends are reserved for coffee and sauna.

 

Toben Lafrancois

Lakewolves Director

Research Associate, Northland College

Associate Programming Director, Northwest Passage, Ltd.


Toben is a biologist specializing in research diving, underwater research design and implementation, invasive species, micro- and macro-invertebrate ecology, and limnology. He is a trained rescue diver with expertise in water safety and immersive outdoor education. He has teaching experience from grade school to university level - and despite a stint working on history and philosophy of science his favorite classrooms are our wild lakes, rivers, and oceans.


Zaaga'igan Ma'iinganag is both a capstone and a foundation of Toben's life work.

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Ian Karl
Lakewolves Co-director
Director of Outdoor Programming, Northwest Passage, Ltd.

Ian comes from a background of wilderness expeditions, environmental education, and adventure guiding. His former work in the Boundary Waters of northern Minnesota, Lake Superior, and western Norway provide him with a unique perspective for his role at Northwest Passage. “I believe that the demands put on us by modern society and life need to be balanced by time spent in nature. This is particularly true for children.  I have a deep, personal connection to the lakes, rivers, and woods of the Upper Midwest. There are few things I enjoy more than sharing this with the kids of Northwest Passage.”

Ian brings the competence and expertise of a seasoned adventurer to the group, but also has the soul and limitless knowledge of a naturalist.