Events

Bird Language: Saturday, July 1

posted May 24, 2017, 9:54 PM by Jonathan Poppele   [ updated May 24, 2017, 9:55 PM ]

Please join us for our next Bird Language Gathering

Saturday, July 1
9:00 - 1:00

Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center
3815 American Blvd E
Bloomington, MN 55425

Registration for these gatherings is encouraged, but not required. Feel free to drop by--and it would be great to know that you are coming!

Birds talk to each other. We can learn to understand it. And it's fun!

Kick off your Independence Day weekend eavesdropping on the birds along the wooded slopes of the Mississippi River Valley. As we move into the height of summer, we can expect to be surrounded by all five voices of the birds signing, screaming, begging, gossiping, jeering & tattling on each other like tiny, feathered fireworks.


What should I bring?

Bring what you need to be comfortable sitting still, outside on the ground for an extended period of time—perhaps as long as an hour. You will also need something to take notes on. You do not need to have binoculars, but there is no harm in bringing a pair if you would like. Here are a few recommended and optional items to bring:

Recommended:

Note pad & pencil
Ground cloth, blanket or camp-chair
Sun protection
Bug protection
Poncho if it is raining

Optional:
Water bottle
Snack
Binoculars

Sign me up!

Registration is encouraged, but not required. Feel free to drop in and join us—and it would be great to know you are coming! If you have any questions, or to register for the event:

For a map & directions click here

Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge


Spring Cedar Creek Wildlife Survey: June 17-18

posted May 24, 2017, 3:01 PM by Jonathan Poppele   [ updated May 24, 2017, 9:47 PM ]

Its time for the Spring Cedar Creek Wildlife Survey


The Cedar Creek Wildlife Survey is a joint venture between the Minnesota Wildlife Tracking Project and the University of Minnesota's Cedar Creek Ecosystem Science Reserve. It is a unique
opportunity to improve your tracking skills, connect with nature, and help Cedar Creek scientists learn about the wildlife living on their property. Our spring survey will take place on two days, and include a training and orientation for those new to Cedar Creek, new to wildlife tracking, or both.


Free Training, Saturday, June 17

If this will be your first time participating in the Cedar Creek Wildlife Survey, please join us for a free training and orientation. Following the training, you will have the opportunity to join a survey team for the rest of the weekend.

Saturday, June 17
9:00am - 12:00pm

The training is free, but registration is required. To register for the event:
Contact Caitlin Potter at Cedar Creek <caitlin@umn.edu> or (612-301-2602)


Spring Survey, June 17-18

Our Spring Survey will include three field sessions over two days, plus an opportunity to stay overnight at Cedar Creek. We will head out in teams to survey sand road transects for animal tracks, then come back in to share our discoveries with one another. Each team will be led by an experienced wildlife tracker, certified in Track & Sign identification. Here is the schedule for the weekend.

Saturday, June 17
Session 1: 8:30am ~ 12:00pm
Lunch: ~12:00pm - 1:00pm
Session 2: 1:00pm ~ 6:00pm
(includes sharing and debrief from Session 1)

Sunday, June 18
Session 3: 9:00am ~ 4:00pm
(including lunch in the field)

Bring your own lunches. We will have lunch at the Lindeman Center on Saturday and (weather permitting) in the field on Sunday. Cedar Creek will provide coffee and snacks.

Experienced team members are welcome to join us for any of the three field sessions. Please register with Caitlin Potter <caitlin@umn.edu> or (612-301-2602) to let us know when you will be attending.


Overnight Accommodations

For those who would like to stay overnight on Saturday, Cedar Creek is offering us housing on campus for the extraordinary low rate of $15. Depending on the number of people requesting housing, we may be accommodated in buildings on different areas of the property. Meals will be on our own, but each dorm has complete kitchen facilities. As we get a sense of who plans to stay in the dorms, we can do some planning to coordinate meals. The club may even have some groceries left over from the Bird Language Weekend :)

To book overnight accommodations, and register for the Survey, contact Caitlin Potter at Cedar Creek <caitlin@umn.edu> or (612-301-2602)

Housing is limited, so make your reservations right away. The deadline for housing registration is Saturday, June 10.


About Cedar Creek

Cedar Creek Ecosystem Science Reserve is a 5,400 acre experimental ecological reserve operated by the University of Minnesota. It is located about 35 miles north of Minneapolis and St. Paul, just east of Bethel.

Cedar Creek lies at the boundary between prairie and forest. It is a mosaic of uplands dominated by oak savanna, prairie, hardwood forest, pine forests, and abandoned agricultural fields and of lowlands comprised of ash and cedar swamps, acid bogs, marshes, and sedge meadows. The area was first set aside in the early 1940s to be kept in its natural condition for scientific and educational purposes. Much of the land remains pristine, and has never been developed for agriculture. You can learn more at www.cedarcreek.umn.edu

The diverse, pristine habitat supports a wide variety of mammals. Species seen on the property over the Reserve's 75 year history include white-tailed jackrabbits, badger, fisher, fox squirrels, porcupine & spotted skunks. Reserve staff and scientists are looking for our help to update their index of mammals. If you are a beginner, the surveys will offer an overview of the diversity of Minnesota Mammals. For the advanced tracker, you might get to try your hand at distinguishing fisher from otter; fox squirrel from grey squirrel; and a variety of tiny mammal tracks. You can take a look at some of what our tracking teams have found on our iNaturalist Project Page

The property includes 25 miles of sand roads, which catch tracks beautifully. The roads will be grated shortly before our surveys, offering optimal tracking conditions for us to locate and identify a rich diversity of species.

Public access to the Reserve is limited. The Cedar Creek Wildlife Survey program offers you the rare opportunity to explore this exceptional landscape.


Cedar Creek Ecosystem Science Reserve
2660 Fawn Lake Dr NE
Bethel, Minnesota 55005


For a map & directions to Cedar Creek Ecosystem Science Reserve, click here

Cedar Creek Ecosystem Science Reserve

Bird Language: Sat, Jun 3

posted May 9, 2017, 8:24 AM by Jonathan Poppele   [ updated May 9, 2017, 8:27 AM ]

Please join us for our next Bird Language Gathering

Saturday, June 3
9:00 - 1:00

Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center
3815 American Blvd E
Bloomington, MN 55425

Registration for these gatherings is encouraged, but not required. Feel free to drop by--and it would be great to know that you are coming!

Birds talk to each other. We can learn to understand it. And it's fun!

Its a busy time of year for songbirds. Spring migration is wrapping up, nesting season is winding up, and all five voices of the birds are filling the woods. With the trees leafed out and the canopy filled in, we will once again need to rely more on our ears than our eyes to understand what is going on in the forest around us. Come join as we step into the birds' world along the slopes of the Minnesota river valley.

What should I bring?

Bring what you need to be comfortable sitting still, outside on the ground for an extended period of time—perhaps as long as an hour. You will also need something to take notes on. You do not need to have binoculars, but there is no harm in bringing a pair if you would like. Here are a few recommended and optional items to bring:

Recommended:

Note pad & pencil
Ground cloth, blanket or camp-chair
Appropriate clothing for sitting still outside
Sun protection
Poncho if it is raining

Optional:
Water bottle
Snack
Binoculars

Sign me up!

Registration is encouraged, but not required. Feel free to drop in and join us—and it would be great to know you are coming! If you have any questions, or to register for the event:

For a map & directions click here

Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge


Tracking Club: Growing Together

posted May 9, 2017, 7:34 AM by Jonathan Poppele   [ updated May 9, 2017, 8:28 AM ]

Come join us for Tracking Club at Ft. Snelling State Park:

Sunday, May 21
9:00am - 1:00pm

We will gather at the Ft. Snelling State Park visitor center:

Ft. Snelling State Park
101 Snelling Lake Rd
West St Paul, MN 55111


Tracking can be a solitary activity, but as Pierre MacGillis points out in his beautiful article Looking for Sign in this month's Minnesota Conservation Volunteer, "The communal aspect of tracking accelerates learning, as multiple perspectives lead to Socratic questioning and a fuller, more accurate picture of what occurred." Come join us as we gather to explore the landscape, delve into natural mysteries and deepen our connection to the land, to each other and to ourselves.

This is an all-weather event and we spend time off trail, sometimes in very muddy conditions. Please bring appropriate footwear and dress for several hours outdoors in whatever weather we may have that day.

We will gather at 9:00 in the Visitor Center. We will head out on the trail about 9:20 and return to the visitor center about noon for wrap-up. If you need to reach us the day of the outing, please call Jon's cell phone at 612-388-4700. Please note that cell reception is poor in much of the park.

Note that you need a State Park pass to drive to the Visitor Center, but you can park for free at the Historic Fort Snelling visitor center. It is about a half-mile walk past the historic fort and down the hill to get to the State Park visitor center. The Historic Fort parking is located at 200 Tower Ave, St Paul, MN 55111

RSVPs are encouraged, but not required.

Click Here for Directions

Ft. Snelling Visitor Center


Bird Language Weekend: May 5-7

posted Apr 10, 2017, 9:53 AM by Jonathan Poppele   [ updated Apr 10, 2017, 9:57 AM ]

Join us for a weekend of exploring bird language at beautiful Cedar Creek:


Friday, May 5, 5:00p  through
Sunday, May 7, 10:30a (with optional mid-day & afternoon activities)

Cedar Creek Ecosystem Science Reserve
2660 Fawn Lake Dr NE
Bethel, MN 55005

Total cost is just $75



Experience Life Through the Eyes of the Birds

Birds and animals share a common language. Their calls and alarms help them stay safe from danger. We can learn to understand this language. In fact, we are “hard-wired” to learn this, as countless generations of our ancestors depended on this ancient skill to survive, around the world. Largely forgotten by modern peoples, this understanding is sorely needed at this time of cultural upheaval and natureʼs shifting patterns.

During this weekend-long program, you will be immersed in a community of nature connection mentors and learners. Through exercises, instruction, games and lots of time sitting in the woods, the community setting amplifies each individual’s learning journey. Together as a group we will begin to uncover unique patterns of the local  birds and animals, and what they are telling us through their behavior and language.



The Program

This program follows the principles of Bird Language shared by Jon Young in his book, What the Robin Knows: How Birds Reveal the Secrets of the Natural World. Our team of facilitators combine decades of experience in birding, wildlife tracking, group facilitation, and nature connection mentoring. We are one of the groups piloting Jon Young's Bird Language Leaders program and have been running bird language programs across the state for the past two years. Lead facilitator Jonathan Poppele has trained with Jon Young since 1998 and is the Minnesota coordinator for Bird Language Leaders. The weekend will include instruction, exercises, storytelling, games, and lots of time sitting quietly in the woods observing and connecting with nature.

Schedule
Check-in begins at 4:00p on Friday, May 5. The program starts at 5:00p. We will run all day Saturday, and wrap up before lunch on Sunday. All meals from Friday dinner through Sunday lunch are included in the program.

After our formal wrap-up, there will be optional activities Sunday mid-day and afternoon for those who wish to stay longer.


The Facility

Cedar Creek Ecosystem Science Reserve is a 5,400 acre experimental ecological reserve operated by the University of Minnesota. It is located about 35 miles north of Minneapolis and St. Paul, just east of Bethel. Cedar Creek lies at the boundary between prairie and forest. It is a mosaic of uplands dominated by oak savanna, prairie, hardwood forest, pine forests, and abandoned agricultural fields; and of lowlands comprised of ash and cedar swamps, acid bogs, marshes, and sedge meadows. The area was first set aside in the early 1940s to be kept in its natural condition for scientific and educational purposes. Much of the land remains pristine, and has never been developed for agriculture. The land is host to a wide diversity of terrestrial and avian predators including fisher, bear, owls, hawks and falcons. You can learn more at www.cedarcreek.umn.edu

Accommodations
Lodging is double occupancy dorm rooms. If you have a preferred roommate, please let us know that on the registration form. Bedding and towels are available from Cedar Creek for an extra charge, or you can bring your own.



Registration

Registration for the full weekend is just $75, including meals and lodging.

Register online here

If you have any questions about the program, contact us:
If you have questions about the facility, please contact Cedar Creek


For a map & directions to Cedar Creek Ecosystem Science Reserve, click here

Cedar Creek Ecosystem Science Reserve

April Tracking Club: The Art of Trailing (Part II)

posted Apr 10, 2017, 9:52 AM by Jonathan Poppele   [ updated Apr 13, 2017, 8:15 AM ]

Come join us for our next Tracking Excursion at Ft. Snelling State Park:

Sunday, April 16
9:00am - 1:00pm

We will gather at the Ft. Snelling State Park visitor center:

Ft. Snelling State Park
101 Snelling Lake Rd
West St Paul, MN 55111


In the Art of Trailing we don't focus as much on just one track or sign, but let our awareness pick up on a larger pattern of disturbances that provide clues of where an animal is going. Join us this month for more on the art of trailing. We will do a quick review on the five elements of perception and how it applies to seeing disturbances, then move on to recognizing fresh trails from old ones and practice some trailing exercises before trying our hand at a deer trail.

This is an all-weather event and we spend time off trail. Please bring appropriate footwear and dress for several hours outdoors in whatever weather we may have that day.

We will gather at 9:00 in the fireplace room in the Visitor Center. We will head out on the trail about 9:20 and return to the visitor center about noon for wrap-up. If you need to reach us the day of the outing, please call Jon's cell phone at 612-388-4700. Please note that cell reception is poor in much of the park.

Note that you need a State Park pass to drive to the Visitor Center, but you can park for free at the Historic Fort Snelling visitor center. It is about a half-mile walk past the historic fort and down the hill to get to the State Park visitor center. The Historic Fort parking is located at 200 Tower Ave, St Paul, MN 55111

RSVPs are encouraged, but not required.

Click Here for Directions

Ft. Snelling Visitor Center


Bird Language: Sat, Apr 1

posted Mar 11, 2017, 7:47 PM by Jonathan Poppele   [ updated Mar 11, 2017, 7:47 PM ]

Please join us for our next Bird Language Gathering

Saturday, April 1
9:00 - 1:00

Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center
3815 American Blvd E
Bloomington, MN 55425

Registration for these gatherings is encouraged, but not required. Feel free to drop by--and it would be great to know that you are coming!

Birds talk to each other. We can learn to understand it. And it's fun!

Great-horned owls have been nesting since February, and may be raising their chicks by now. We have gotten some reports of owl sightings near hillside trail over the winter and early spring--and may have caught a glimpse of one at our March gathering. Are there owls nesting near by? Do they have young? One things is for sure, the local songbirds know. Come join us as we eavesdrop on their neighborhood gossip.


What should I bring?

Bring what you need to be comfortable sitting still, outside on the ground for an extended period of time—perhaps as long as an hour. You will also need something to take notes on. You do not need to have binoculars, but there is no harm in bringing a pair if you would like. Here are a few recommended and optional items to bring:

Recommended:

Note pad & pencil
Ground cloth, blanket or camp-chair
Appropriate clothing for sitting still outside
Sun protection
Poncho if it is raining

Optional:
Water bottle
Snack
Binoculars

Sign me up!

Registration is encouraged, but not required. Feel free to drop in and join us—and it would be great to know you are coming! If you have any questions, or to register for the event:

For a map & directions click here

Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge


March Tracking Club: The Art of Trailing

posted Mar 11, 2017, 7:02 PM by Jonathan Poppele   [ updated Mar 11, 2017, 7:02 PM ]

Come join us for our next Tracking Excursion at Ft. Snelling State Park:

Sunday, March 19
9:00am - 1:00pm

We will gather at the Ft. Snelling State Park visitor center:

Ft. Snelling State Park
101 Snelling Lake Rd
West St Paul, MN 55111


In track and sign identification we let our senses take in every detail of a track or other marking to learn about an animal's motion, behavior, and relationship with ecology. In the Art of Trailing we don't spend as much attention on just one track or sign, but let our awareness pick up on a larger pattern of disturbances that provide clues of where an animal is going. And if you can keep moving along the trial, you might just catch a glimpse of the animal. This month we will spend some time with exercises that can help you pick up on a fresh trail and follow an animal.

This is an all-weather event and we spend time off trail. Please bring appropriate footwear and dress for several hours outdoors in whatever weather we may have that day.

We will gather at 9:00 in the fireplace room in the Visitor Center. We will head out on the trail about 9:20 and return to the visitor center about noon for a brief mapping exercise and wrap-up session. If you need to reach us the day of the outing, please call Jon's cell phone at 612-388-4700.

Note that you need a State Park pass to drive to the Visitor Center, but you can park for free at the Historic Fort Snelling visitor center. It is about a half-mile walk past the historic fort and down the hill to get to the State Park visitor center. The Historic Fort parking is located at 200 Tower Ave, St Paul, MN 55111

RSVPs are encouraged, but not required.

Click Here for Directions

Ft. Snelling Visitor Center


Bird Language: Sat, Mar 4

posted Feb 9, 2017, 10:41 AM by Jonathan Poppele   [ updated Mar 2, 2017, 7:14 AM ]

Please join us for our next Bird Language Gathering

Saturday, March 4
9:00 - 1:00

Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center
3815 American Blvd E
Bloomington, MN 55425

Registration for these gatherings is encouraged, but not required. Feel free to drop by--and it would be great to know that you are coming!

Birds talk to each other. We can learn to understand it. And it's fun!

March is the beginning of meteorological spring and some migrant and resident songbirds are beginning to stake out territories. Songs and territorial aggression signal the warmer weather to come, and provide a more dynamic baseline of activity in the forest. Come join us on the slopes of the Minnesota River Valley as we see what we can learn from the birds though the disturbances in the dynamic baseline of early spring.


What should I bring?

Bring what you need to be comfortable sitting still, outside on the ground for an extended period of time—perhaps as long as an hour. You will also need something to take notes on. You do not need to have binoculars, but there is no harm in bringing a pair if you would like. Here are a few recommended and optional items to bring:

Recommended:

Note pad & pencil
Ground cloth, blanket or camp-chair
Appropriate clothing for sitting still outside
Sun protection
Poncho if it is raining

Optional:
Water bottle
Snack
Binoculars

Sign me up!

Registration is encouraged, but not required. Feel free to drop in and join us—and it would be great to know you are coming! If you have any questions, or to register for the event:

For a map & directions click here

Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge


February Tracking Club: Otter Love Winter

posted Feb 9, 2017, 10:01 AM by Jonathan Poppele   [ updated Feb 9, 2017, 5:18 PM ]

Come join us for our next Tracking Excursion at Ft. Snelling State Park:

Sunday, February 19
9:00am - 1:00pm

We will gather at the Ft. Snelling State Park visitor center:

Ft. Snelling State Park
101 Snelling Lake Rd
West St Paul, MN 55111


North American River Otters are just plain fun to track. That they are also good indicator of the health of an aquatic ecosystem. Since 2009, the National Park Service has been conducting track and sign surveys along the Mississippi River to study our metro area otter populations. This year, we are partnering with the NPS to survey Ft. Snelling State Park. Come join us as we search the shores of the Minnesota and Mississippi rivers for signs of these inquisitive aquatic members of the weasel family, and learn to distinguish their tracks and sign from those of other animals.

This is an all-weather event and we spend time off trail. Please bring appropriate footwear and dress for several hours outdoors in whatever weather we may have that day.

We will gather at 9:00 in the fireplace room in the Visitor Center. We will head out on the trail about 9:20 and return to the visitor center about noon for a brief mapping exercise and wrap-up session. If you need to reach us the day of the outing, please call Jon's cell phone at 612-388-4700.

Note that you need a State Park pass to drive to the Visitor Center, but you can park for free at the Historic Fort Snelling visitor center. It is about a half-mile walk past the historic fort and down the hill to get to the State Park visitor center. The Historic Fort parking is located at 200 Tower Ave, St Paul, MN 55111

RSVPs are encouraged, but not required.

Click Here for Directions

Ft. Snelling Visitor Center


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