Impact and Programs
In 2022, Listening Point Foundation had a successful year of introducing the general public, student groups, and youth organizations to the serenity and beauty of Listening Point and the timeless writing of Sigurd F. Olson. During the tour season, we welcomed over 600 visitors to Listening Point, including students, families, artists, and the general public, all guided by our knowledgeable volunteer docents. In February, we co-hosted our second annual Virtual Film Festival with the Sigurd Olson Environmental Institute (SOEI) at Northland College in Ashland, WI. Over 100 people participated in the online event and discussions. Throughout the summer months, we rekindled our Service Learning Days with the Leadership Development Program (LDP) at YMCA Camp Northern Lights. The LDP teenagers came out to Listening Point every other week to learn about Sigurd Olson and engage in tasks to help maintain the trails and property. Listening Point Foundation re-established its presence in the community with a booth at the annual Blueberry Arts Festival in July and welcomed our friends and supporters at our Annual Northwoods Dinner in Ely–our first true in-person, community gathering since 2019. In September, a group of 120 students from Great River School in St Paul toured and explored Listening Point. Several of the students wrote reflections that were published in our winter newsletter. We also hosted our first annual Women’s Writing Retreat on the shores of Burntside Lake. With great success in all of our programming areas, we will work to continue their impact in the coming year.
In 2023, Listening Point Foundation has several areas of focus for our programming. Along with our volunteer-led, guided tours of Listening Point, other efforts including preservation of the yard at the Olson family home and Writing Shack, replacing the dock at Listening Point, hosting our second annual Women’s Writing Workshop, continuing our summer undergraduate internship program, and celebrating our 25th anniversary as an organization. In early summer, we will be starting a multi-phase project to restore the garden and yard at Sigurd F. and Elizabeth Olson’s home–also the location of Sig’s historic Writing Shack. The sauna dock out at the Listening Point property was damaged by the unprecedented spring flooding in 2022, and will be rebuilt and reinforced to prevent damage from future floods. Our major tour season begins in May, and we will continue to provide free, guided tours of Listening Point, the Writing Shack, and the Olson family home. We will also be sending out our free, biannual newsletters, filled with articles, photographs, and news to those on our mailing list. Our undergraduate intern will join us at the beginning of June and will be closely assisting our Program Director throughout the summer season. In September we will host our second annual Women’s Writing Retreat on Burntside Lake, along with our Annual Northwoods Dinner. At the end of July we will be welcoming our supporters, friends, and community to a gathering to celebrate our 25th anniversary. We have a full, exciting year ahead!
Community or Constituency Served
We serve youth organizations, educational organizations, families, and the general public.
Geographic Area Served
Listening Point Foundation serves a wide geographic area. While we are located in Ely, a small town in northern Minnesota, we have visitors and engage with the public from the surrounding local area, the larger Minnesota region, and from all over the United States. We also have ongoing conversations with individuals and organizations in Canada, the UK, and Sweden, among a few other countries. Aside from those who physically visit our location, our newsletter goes out in print and in digital format, reaching thousands across the US and abroad.