Events

Bird Language: Sat, Sep 8 (Second Saturday)

posted Aug 10, 2018, 12:59 PM by Jonathan Poppele   [ updated Aug 10, 2018, 1:26 PM ]

Please join us for our next Bird Language Gathering  

Saturday, September 8 
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!

Nesting season has wrapped up. Migration is beginning. The first "snowbirds" have arrived from the north and the neotropical migrants have begun their journeys south. Older birds know the routine--but for this year's hatchlings, it's all new. As we move past Labor Day weekend--the unofficial transition from summer to fall--we will gathering on the slopes of the Minnesota River Valley to watch and listen to the birds as they talk to each other about all that's going on in the woods.

You can read about our August gathering here on our blog.


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


August Tracking Club: Test Prep

posted Aug 10, 2018, 12:58 PM by Jonathan Poppele   [ updated Aug 10, 2018, 12:58 PM ]

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

Sunday, August 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


On Labor Day weekend, a group from our club will participate in a CyberTracker Track & Sign Evaluation with Michelle Peziol. Time for some final test prep! Come join us at Fort Snelling State Park as we challenge each other to identify and interpret tracks and sign and support our friends as they prepare for their evaluation.

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. 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


Small Mammal Survey: Sun, Aug 5

posted Jul 21, 2018, 2:50 PM by The Center for Mind-Body Oneness   [ updated Jul 23, 2018, 9:17 AM by Jonathan Poppele ]

Saint Paul Parks and Recreation is organizing a small mammal survey exclusively for members of the Minnesota Wildlife Tracking Project. We will work alongside Dakota Rowsey, 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.

Sunday, August 5
8:00am - 10:00am

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 Dakota Rowsey 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.

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, use our contact page, or email Jonathan Poppele <poppele@umn.edu>


Click Here for Directions

Bruce Vento Nature Sanctuary

**Cloquet Wildlife Survey DATE CHANGE: Sun, Aug 19**

posted Jul 9, 2018, 9:50 AM by The Center for Mind-Body Oneness   [ updated ]

The Minnesota Wildlife Tracking Project is happy to partner with the Cloquet Forestry Center for our 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 Sunday, August 19 

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:

9:45    Gathering on campus
10:00  Shuttle to survey routes
1:30    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 the primary way 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 2,662 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: Sat, Aug 4

posted Jul 8, 2018, 7:16 PM by The Center for Mind-Body Oneness   [ updated Jul 9, 2018, 10:31 AM ]

Please join us for our next Bird Language Gathering  

Saturday, 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


Cedar Creek Summer Survey, Sun Jul 15

posted Jun 12, 2018, 7:52 AM by Jonathan Poppele   [ updated Jun 12, 2018, 7:54 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 on our blog.

Summer Survey, Sunday, July 15

Our Cedar Creek Summer Survey will take the place of our July Tracking Club. This survey will also be our first after the introduction of bison to the property. The bison will be in a large enclosure in the southern section of the reserve. They will have a dramatic affect on the plant communities, which may cascade over to influence the behavior of other wildlife as well.

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, certified in Track & Sign identification. Here is the schedule for the day:

8:30am    Gathering at Lindman Center
9:30am    Tracking teams leave for the field
  --Lunch in the field--
~2:30pm  Return from the field for mapping, debriefing and sharing
4:30pm    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.

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 have come up in recent surveys include:
  • Why is an apparently solitary wolf apparently maintaining a relatively small and defined home range? And why does that range appear to end so abruptly around Cedar Bog Lake when there are so many deer in the southern half of the reserve?
  • How will the newly introduced bison affect the behavior of other wildlife on the property?
  • Was the bobcat that left the scat our team found in the spring a transient or a resident? Where might we find more bobcat sign?
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: Sat, Jul 7

posted Jun 11, 2018, 11:47 AM by Jonathan Poppele   [ updated Jun 11, 2018, 11:55 AM ]

Please join us for our next Bird Language Gathering 

Saturday, 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


Trackspotting: Tracking Club on Sun, Jun 17

posted Jun 11, 2018, 11:44 AM by Jonathan Poppele   [ updated Jun 12, 2018, 7:36 AM ]

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

Sunday, June 17
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


Trackspotting: noun, chiefly British English, referring to the hobby of recording the footprints one has observed, particularly when an identifying feature of the footprint is a spot.

Come join us this coming Sunday as we spot a few tracks of our own.
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. 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, Jun 2

posted May 18, 2018, 11:27 AM by Jonathan Poppele   [ updated May 18, 2018, 11:50 AM ]

Please join us for our next Bird Language Gathering 

Saturday, June 2
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
Bug protection
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


Cedar Creek Spring Survey, Sat Apr 28

posted Mar 28, 2018, 12:18 PM by Jonathan Poppele   [ updated Apr 12, 2018, 9:47 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 on our blog.

Spring Survey, Saturday, April 28

This year, our Spring Survey will be an official part of the iNaturalist City Nature Challenge--a friendly competition between 60 cities around the world do document biodiversity near urban centers. Our teams will conduct our regular surveys, while guests will be invited to tag along with survey teams and record their own observations.

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, certified in Track & Sign identification. Here is the schedule for the day:

8:30am    Gathering at Lindman Center
9:30am    Tracking teams leave for the field
  --Lunch in the field--
~2:30pm  Return from the field for mapping, debriefing and sharing
4:30pm    Complete

This is an all-weather affair. 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.

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 southern flying squirrel, 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 spring. Some of the questions that have come up in recent surveys include:
  • Why are the coyote moving so freely in the north unit, even when there is fresh wolf sign in the area? What has changed since last spring when they were avoiding this area?
  • Where are the bobcat? One showed up on a trail camera last year, but we have not seen tracks on any of our surveys. Was that individual a dispersing male just passing through, or are they in the reserve and we are just missing their sign?
  • Are there badger in the area? We found one, tantalizing, partial track that looked like it might have been from a badger on East Bethel Blvd over a year ago--but no sign since then. They have been sighted in the reserve, but not recently.
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


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