Events

Cedar Creek Fall Survey: Sep 21-22

posted Aug 12, 2019, 10:03 AM by Jonathan Poppele   [ updated Aug 12, 2019, 10:03 AM ]

It's time for the Fall 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. You can read about our Summer Survey here.


Fall Survey, September 21-22

Our Fall 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 roads and check track plates, 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, September 21
Session 1: 9:00am ~ 12:00pm
Lunch: ~12:00pm - 1:00pm
Session 2: 1:00pm ~ 5:00pm

Sunday, September 22
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.


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 $7 (there is an additional fee if you want Cedar Creek to provide linens). Our dorm can accommodate 10 people. Register right away to guarantee your spot. Meals will be on our own, and each dorm has complete kitchen facilities.


Registration

Registration is required. To register, email Jonathan Poppele <poppele@umn.edu> or use our contact form. Let us know which sessions you plan to attend, and if you plan to stay overnight.


Want to Carpool?

We have a new tool to help coordinate carpooling. If you would like to share the trip to Cedar Creek, you can use our Group Carpool page to offer or request a ride.


Bring Your Questions

In recent surveys, our teams have identified the tracks of about 30 species including black bear, fisher, mink, red fox and grey wolf. We have been noting the behavior of deer, coyote and fox in relation to the shifting wolf population, and seeing some of our wolf track sightings verified by Cedar Creek's new network of trail cameras. A lot has been changing every season and we are looking forward to what we will find this summer. Some of the questions that came up after our summer survey include:

  • Where are the wolves? We haven't seen any sign of them in our past two surveys, and it appears that the coyote are settling in on the North Unit. Are they just ranging more widely? Have they left the area? Will they return?
  • Can we learn to distinguish the small bird tracks we are finding with greater confidence? And with the birds generally so visible and audible, is there scientific value in learning to do so? It certainly is fun and rewarding!
  • Why did we see such a small variety of mammals during our summer survey? Was it just chance? Was it a result of where we happened to survey? Or does it reflect something about the movement of some of these animals during the summer months?
What questions do you have about the landscape, the animals and their behavior? We will take some time to share questions before we head out into the field.


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, or look read about our past surveys on our blog.

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

Tracking Club: Dog Days of August

posted Aug 10, 2019, 10:19 AM by Jonathan Poppele   [ updated Aug 10, 2019, 10:26 AM ]

Come join us for our next Tracking Excursion: 

Sunday, August 18 
9:00am - 1:00pm 

Minnehaha Dog Park 
5399 Minnehaha Park Dr S 
Minneapolis, MN 55417 

Domestic dogs present a challenge to trackers. The tremendous variety of dog breeds makes generalizations about dog tracks difficult. Individual dogs may have tracks smaller than those of a kit fox, or larger than those of a grey wolf. Some dogs leave round, cat-like tracks, others leave prints very similar to coyote. In recent years, Linda Bittle has been helping the tracking community build our understanding of domestic dog tracks. This month, we will make a visit to the Minnehaha Off-Leash Dog Park to study canine prints and help contribute to Linda Bittle's body of research.

***Please note that you need a Minneapolis city permit to bring your dog with you to the park***
  **Also note that all nearby parking is metered**

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

We will gather at 9:00 at the northern entrance to the dog park and head down toward the river shortly afterwards. We will wrap up and return to the park entrance before 1:00pm. If you need to reach us the day of the outing, please call Jon's cell phone at 612-388-4700.

RSVPs are encouraged, but not required.

Click Here for Directions

Minnehaha Dog Park


Cloquet Wildlife Survey: Sat, Aug 17

posted Jul 26, 2019, 12:07 PM by Jonathan Poppele   [ updated Aug 12, 2019, 9:50 AM ]

The Minnesota Wildlife Tracking Project is happy to partner with the Cloquet Forestry Center for our summer second wildlife tracking survey. This summer's survey will take place during the Forestry Center's summer field season, when many undergraduates from the College of Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources will be living on site. We look forward to getting out in the field with the students, especially members of the Fisheries, Wildlife and Conservation Biology Club. The survey is open to everyone, and registration is required. To register, use our contact form, or email Rachael Olesiak <rolesiak@umn.edu> or Jonathan Poppele <poppele@umn.edu>


Schedule for Saturday, August 17

Our summer survey will run a bit over half the day. We plan to divide into teams and survey the sand-roads for track and sign, then come back in to share our discoveries with one another. Our plan is to have each team led by an experienced wildlife tracker, certified in Track & Sign identification. Here is an approximate schedule for the day:

9:30    Gathering on campus
9:45    Shuttle to survey routes
2:00    Gather for lunch in the field & to share our stories
3:00    Depart


Registration

Advanced registration is required. To ease our planning, please register by Thursday, August 16.
To register, use our contact form, or email Rachael Olesiak <rolesiak@umn.edu> or Jonathan Poppele <poppele@umn.edu>


Want to Carpool?

We have a new tool to help coordinate carpooling. If you would like to share the trip to Cedar Creek, you can use our Group Carpool webpage to offer or request a ride.


iNaturalist

We use iNaturalist as a tool for recording and sharing our observations. It is one of the ways we document what we find and report our results to researchers at the Cloquet Forestry Center. You can view sightings from our past surveys here on iNaturalist. Not everyone needs to record observations in iNaturalist, but there should be enough people in each group logging observations that all of the groups findings get reported. To add observations to our project, you will need an iNaturalist account, and be a member of the Cloquet Forestry Center Wildlife Tracking iNaturalist project. If you don't have an iNaturalist account, begin by signing up using this link.

Once you have signed up, you can join the Cloquet Forestry Center Wildlife Tracking project and add observations. You may also be interested in joining the Minnesota Wildlife Tracking Project and the North American Animal Tracking Database and adding your tracking observations to these as well.



About Cloquet Forestry Center

The Cloquet Forestry Center, located 135 miles north of the Twin Cities, has been the primary research and education forest for the University of Minnesota for over a century. Located in the Lake Superior watershed in northeastern Minnesota, this 3,400 acre experimental forest is home to researchers, practitioners, students, and members of the public who are interested in forest ecosystems and their sustainable management. The Center sits inside the Fond du Lac Indian Reservation and partners with the tribe on forest management and educational programming. It's northern Minnesota biome is home to a diversity of wildlife including moose, wolves, bears, lynx, bobcats, porcupines, pine martins, hares, goshawks, deer, and ruffed grouse.

Get more information about the Center here.

Overnight Accommodations
The overnight lodging that is sometimes available at the Cloquet Forestry Center is filled up for the weekend. If you would like to head up on Friday, or stay in the area until Sunday, there are some nearby hotels that offer reasonable rates. These are two of the closest and least expensive options:

121 Big Lake Rd, Cloquet, MN 55720

1308 MN-33, Cloquet, MN 55720


Address, Map & Directions
Cloquet Forestry Center
175 University Road, Cloquet, MN 55720

For a map & directions to Cloquet Forestry Center, click here

Cloquet Forestry Center

Bird Language: Sun, Aug 4

posted Jul 8, 2019, 12:00 PM by Jonathan Poppele   [ updated Jul 8, 2019, 12:00 PM ]

Please join us for our next Bird Language Gathering  

Sunday, August 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!

As we move into high summer, the woods begin to quiet. The songs of spring, and even the incessant begging calls of early summer are fading as tired parents and naive fledglings do their best to feed themselves while staying safe from hungry juvenile raptors. The forest may seem more subdued than in the spring, but drama abounds. Come join us on the slopes of the Mississippi River Valley to see what the birds have to tell us about their day-to-day lives.


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


July Tracking Club: Small Mammal Survey

posted Jul 8, 2019, 11:58 AM by Jonathan Poppele   [ updated Jul 9, 2019, 7:29 AM ]

Sunday, July 21 
8:00am - 11:00am 

Saint Paul Parks and Recreation is organizing a small mammal survey exclusively for members of the Minnesota Wildlife Tracking Project. We will work alongside Brie Ilarde, a small mammal researcher from the University of Minnesota, to document the inhabitants of Bruce Vento Nature Sanctuary. This is a great opportunity for us to learn about some of the diversity of small mammals in our urban environment.


Meet just inside the Bruce Vento Nature Sanctuary entrance:

At 
the corner of Commercial St & 4th St E
St Paul, MN 55106


We will use Sherman traps, baited with peanut butter and set out overnight to capture the smallest mammals, larger cage traps for larger mammals, and of course track plates to discover who is living in the park. Together, our group will collect traps from three separate survey transects, then help Brie Ilarde identify and record species. Dakota is a great resource and happy to share his expertise about small mammals, they’re lifestyles, and how to identify them. We, in turn, may be able to offer some tips on identifying prints on the tracking plates. This is a great opportunity to spend some time outside, learn about our mammal neighbors, and contribute to a research project.


Sign me up!

The program is free for members of the Minnesota Wildlife Tracking Project, but registration is required and we are limited to 15 participants. To register:

Click Here for Directions

Bruce Vento Nature Sanctuary

Trailing Practice: Sat, Jul 20

posted Jun 26, 2019, 9:00 AM by Jonathan Poppele   [ updated Jul 5, 2019, 2:38 PM ]

Welcome to Trailing Practice 

To support our members growing interest in trailing, we host monthly practice sessions at a variety of locations in and around the Metro Area. This month, we will return to Reservoir Woods in Roseville, a 115 acre undeveloped park with a dense population of suburban deer. 

Saturday, July 20
9:00 am - 12:00 pm

We will gather at the parking lot at the corner of Alta Vista Dr and Stuber Rd: 

Reservoir Woods Park
1901 Alta Vista Dr
Roseville, MN 55113

This is an all-weather event and we spend time off trail.
There are no amenities at Reservoir Woods. No bathrooms, no drinking fountains. Please bring appropriate gear and dress for several hours outdoors in whatever weather we may have that day.


We will meet at 9:00 in the parking lot. We will head out on the trail shortly after 9:00 and return to the parking lot by noon. If you need to reach us the day of the outing, please call Jon's cell phone at 612-388-4700. Please note that once we are trailing, I will have my phone on vibrate and could easily miss an incoming call.

RSVPs are encouraged, but not required.

Click Here for Directions

Reservoir Woods


Cedar Creek Summer Survey, Sat Jul 13

posted Jun 10, 2019, 10:19 AM by Jonathan Poppele   [ updated Jun 10, 2019, 10:19 AM ]

The 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. You can read about our last survey here, and our summer 2018 survey here on our blog.

Summer Survey, Saturday, July 13

The Survey will be an all day affair. We will head out in teams to survey sand roads for animal tracks, then come back in to share our discoveries with one another. Each team will be led by an experienced wildlife tracker. Here is the schedule for the day:

8:30am    Team Leads & Assistants Meet to Create Survey Routes

9:00am    Gathering & Welcome at Lindman Center
9:30am    Tracking teams leave for the field
  --Lunch in the field--
~3:30pm  Return from the field for mapping, debriefing and sharing
5:00pm    Complete

This is an all-weather event. Please come dressed to spend most of the day outside in whatever conditions we have that day. Bring your own lunches and snacks. Weather permitting, we will eat lunch in the field. Cedar Creek will provide coffee and snacks in the morning.

Please register using our contact form, or write Caitlin Potter <caitlin@umn.edu> or Jonathan Poppele <poppele@umn.edu> to let us know you are coming. Please also let us know if you would like be a team lead or assist a team lead.

Want to Carpool?

We have a new tool to help coordinate carpooling. If you would like to share the trip to Cedar Creek, you can use our Group Carpool webpage to offer or request a ride.

Bring Your Questions

In recent surveys, our teams have identified the tracks of about 20 species including black bear, fisher, mink, red fox and grey wolf. We have been noting the behavior of deer, coyote and fox in relation to the shifting wolf population, and seeing some of our wolf track sightings verified by Cedar Creek's new network of trail cameras. A lot has been changing every season and we are looking forward to what we will find this summer. Some of the questions that came up after our spring survey include:

  • Just how much time the wolves spend on Cedar Creek property? And how far do they range?
  • What has the foxes sometimes heavily use the road inside Gate 7 and avoid it at other times? Does this just reflect their movement about their territory? Or is something pushing or pulling them on the landscape?
  • Just how many fisher are there at Cedar Creek? Studies of fisher density suggest somewhere between 2 and 9. Can we narrow those numbers down a bit? Can we learn to identify individual fisher from their tracks? And can we locate and identify fisher tracks in the summer, when we have no snow on the ground?
  • Finally, what brought one of the bears down to the southeast corner of the property? Do the neighbors backyards offer good foraging for a hungry bear coming out of hibernation? And why didn't we see any bear sign on the North Unit? Will we see a similar pattern in the summer?
What questions do you have about the landscape, the animals and their behavior? We will take some time to share questions before we head out into the field.


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: Sun, Jul 7

posted Jun 4, 2019, 5:38 PM by Jonathan Poppele   [ updated Jun 4, 2019, 5:39 PM ]

Please join us for our next Bird Language Gathering 

Sunrday, July 7 
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!

Celebrate the weekend after Independence Day 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


June Tracking Club: Sign O' The Times

posted May 31, 2019, 1:05 PM by Jonathan Poppele   [ updated May 31, 2019, 1:06 PM ]

Come join us for our next Tracking Excursion at Cleary Lake Regional Park Reserve in Prior Lake 

Sunday, June 16  
9:00am - 1:00pm

We will gather at the Cleary Lake visitor center:

Cleary Lake Visitor Center
18106 Texas Ave
Prior Lake, MN 55372

With the Minnesota River still above flood stage, and Ft. Snelling State Park still closed, we will head down to the south suburbs to look for animal sign at Cleary Lake Regional Park. The park encompasses a bit over 1,200 acres of lake, forest, wetland and old fields. There may not be many good "track traps" in the park, so we will focus on sign.

This is an all-weather event and we spend time off trail in potentially wet conditions. Please bring appropriate footwear and dress for several hours outdoors in whatever weather we may have that day. Please also take precautions for ticks. The DNR advises using permethrin treated clothing as well as checking for ticks after being in the field.

We will gather at 9:00 the Visitor Center. We will head out on the trail by about 9:20 and return to the Visitor Center before 1:00pm to wrap up. If you need to reach us the day of the outing, please call Jon's cell phone at 612-388-4700. Note that cell reception may be spotty in the park.

RSVPs are encouraged, but not required.

Click Here for Directions

Cleary Lake Regional Park


Trailing Practice: Sat, June 15

posted May 29, 2019, 1:47 PM by Jonathan Poppele   [ updated May 29, 2019, 1:52 PM ]

Welcome to Trailing Practice 

To support our members' growing interest in trailing, we host monthly practice sessions at a variety of locations in and around the Metro Area. This month we will meet at Coldwater Spring, located along the bike trail between Minnehaha Park and Ft, Snelling. With Pike Island and much of the Ft Snelling bottom lands still flooded, many deer are moving to higher ground. Let's see if we can pick up their trails up along bluffs.

Saturday, June 15
9:00 am - 12:00 pm

Because there is minimal parking near the Coldwater Spring entrance, we will meet in the parking lot for the Historic Ft. Snelling Visitor Center: 

Historic Fort Snelling Visitor Center
200 Tower Ave
Minneapolis, MN 55417

Let's gather toward the west end of the parking lot (away from the historic fort), near the picnic overlook.

This is an all-weather event and we spend time off trail. Please bring appropriate gear and dress for several hours outdoors in whatever weather we may have that day. Please also take precautions for ticks, as we expect to follow deer trails through grass and brush--prime tick habitat.

We will meet at 9:00 at the historic fort parking lot. We will head out on the trail shortly after 9:00 and return to the parking lot by noon. If you need to reach us the day of the outing, please call Jon's cell phone at 612-388-4700. Please note that once we are trailing, I will have my phone on vibrate and could easily miss an incoming call.

RSVPs are encouraged, but not required.

Click Here for Directions

Historic Ft Snelling Parking Lot


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