Events

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


Bird Language: Sun, Jun 2

posted May 13, 2019, 9:25 AM by Jonathan Poppele   [ updated May 13, 2019, 9:28 AM ]

Please join us for our next Bird Language Gathering 

Sunday, 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


*Location Change* May Tracking Club: Coyote Questions

posted Apr 24, 2019, 1:31 PM by Jonathan Poppele   [ updated May 16, 2019, 7:53 PM ]

Come join us for our next Tracking Excursion under the Cedar Ave Bridge for a deep dive into the Art of Questioning.

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

We will gather at the *Old Cedar Ave Bridge Trailhead*

In our May Tracking Club, we will place an emphasis on asking questions and following our curiosity as we find tracks. Come explore how this focus on questions helps us find our edge and keep growing - as individual trackers and as a community. With the water levels finally receding, we will explore one of the most track-rich spots we have found along the Minnesota River.

*Our original plan was to park under the Cedar Ave Bridge, but that parking lot is flooded. We will instead park at the Old Cedar Ave Bridge Trailhead and approach the river from the north, instead of the south.*

This is an all-weather event and we spend time off trail in potentially muddy conditions. Please bring appropriate footwear and dress for several hours outdoors in whatever weather we may have that day. The current forecast is for all day rain. We suggest full rain gear and rubber boots. We will likely spend much of our time under the bridge, to stay out of the rain.

We will gather at 9:00 in the parking lot at the Old Cedar Ave Bridge Trailhead. We will head out on the trail by about 9:20 and return to the parking lot 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.

RSVPs are encouraged, but not required.

Click Here for Directions

Old Cedar Ave Bridge Trailhead


Trailing Practice: Sat, May 18

posted Apr 24, 2019, 1:27 PM by Jonathan Poppele   [ updated Apr 24, 2019, 1:32 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 explore Murphy-Hanrehan Park Reserve in Savage - a mostly undeveloped park with winter ski trails, summer hike/bike trails, and plenty of deer.

Saturday, May 18
9:00 am - 12:00 pm

We will gather at the main parking lot: 

Murphy-Hanrehan Park Reserve
15501 Murphy Lake Blvd
Savage, MN 55378

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 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

Murphy-Hanrehan Park Reserve


5th Anniversary Bird Language: Sun, May 5

posted Apr 9, 2019, 7:37 AM by Jonathan Poppele   [ updated Apr 9, 2019, 7:58 AM ]

Please join us for our next Bird Language Gathering as we celebrate our 5th Anniversary at the Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge

Sunday, May 5
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!

This May marks five years that the Minnesota Wildlife Tracking Project has been hosting our Bird Language Gathering at the Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge. Come join us this Cinco de Mayo as we celebrate in the best way we know how--by sitting on the slopes of the Minnesota River Valley to get a glimpse into the lives of the area's avian residents. And there might even be cake.


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


April Tracking Club: Test Prep

posted Apr 9, 2019, 7:20 AM by Jonathan Poppele   [ updated Apr 18, 2019, 10:49 AM ]

Come join us for our next Tracking Excursion:

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

**Final Location**


Meet at Historic Ft. Snelling Visitor Center
200 Tower Ave
St Paul, MN 55111

We will study the track and sigh along the Axel Von Bergen Trail under the Mendota Bridge at Ft. Snelling. This is the dirt and gravel trail on the bluff that we normally access by climbing the stairs behind the Visitor Center. Fort Snelling State Park is closed due to flooding, so we will access the trail from Historic Fort Snelling.

We will gather at 9:00 in the parking lot under the Cedar Ave Bridge. 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 may be poor.

In early May, a group group of us will participate in a CyberTracker Track & Sign Evaluation with Dave Moskowitz. Time for some final test prep! Come join us as we challenge each other to identify and interpret tracks and sign and support our friends as they prepare for their evaluation.

RSVPs, while not required, are strongly encouraged.

Click Here for Directions

Historic Fort Snelling Visitor Center


Trailing Practice: Sat, Apr 20

posted Mar 20, 2019, 11:05 AM by Jonathan Poppele   [ updated Mar 20, 2019, 12:16 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 be at Reservoir Woods in Roseville, a 115 acre undeveloped park with a dense population of suburban deer. 

Saturday, April 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


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