Events

Track & Sign BioBlitz: Sun, Mar 18

posted Feb 23, 2018, 11:23 AM by Jonathan Poppele   [ updated Feb 23, 2018, 11:23 AM ]

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

Sunday, March 18
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


Join us for a fun activity to see how many species of wildlife we can identify in the short amount of time we're in the field using track and sign. We will gather for a short time to get acquainted then divide up into groups and venture out on the landscape to see who's there.

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 Donnie's cell phone at 952-334-5471. 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, Mar 3

posted Feb 6, 2018, 9:38 PM by Jonathan Poppele   [ updated Feb 6, 2018, 9:39 PM ]

Please join us for our next Bird Language Gathering

Saturday, March 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!

March is the beginning of meteorological spring, when some migrant and resident songbirds are just 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. Meanwhile, the owls are well into their nesting season and keeping the songbirds on alert. 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 in this transition from winter to 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


**RESCHEDULED** Cloquet Forestry Center Wildlife Tracking Survey: Sun, Mar 25

posted Feb 6, 2018, 9:34 PM by Jonathan Poppele   [ updated Feb 23, 2018, 11:15 AM ]

The Cloquet Forestry Center is launching a wildlife tracking survey, in cooperation with the Minnesota Wildlife Tracking Project and the University of Minnesota Fisheries, Wildlife and Conservation Biology Club. Short term goals for this project include assessing what animals are using the forest and providing a learning experience for Cloquet Forestry Center management staff and University students. Long term goals include monitoring trends in mammal diversity and abundance with possible links to forest management and climate change. To register, email Rachael Olesiak <rolesiak@umn.edu>


Project Kick-Off has been Rescheduled for, Sunday, March 25

**UPDATE** Due to heavy snow expected the morning of February 25, we are rescheduling our kick-off survey for Sunday, March 25.

Our initial survey will be an all day affair. We plan to divide into teams and survey the snowpacked 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:

8:30    Gathering in the Library
9:30    First survey route
12:00   Lunch break
12:30   Second survey route
2:30    Meet back in Library to share the story of the day
3:30    Depart


Registration

Advanced registration is required. To ease our planning, please register no later than Thursday, February 22.

To register, email Rachael Olesiak <rolesiak@umn.edu>


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
Overnight lodging is normally available year round in clusters of cabins with single or double occupancy. These are dorm-style rooms with kitchen access and private baths. A few cabins have self-contained kitchens.

Lodging costs, including linens, are $40 per night for single occupancy or $60 per night for double occupancy. For more information, or to request a room, call 218-726-6400 or email Steph Oberg <oberg086@umn.edu>



Cross Country Skiing Nearby
Extensive networks of cross country ski trails are available in Fond du Lac State Forest and Jay Cooke State Park, just 10-15 miles from the Cloquet Forestry Center. You can get more information, and perhaps some information about trail conditions, from the Skinny Ski website:


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

Feb 18 Tracking Club: Otter Be Fun

posted Feb 2, 2018, 2:05 PM by Jonathan Poppele   [ updated Feb 2, 2018, 2:05 PM ]

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

Sunday, February 18
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. For the past couple of years, we have been sharing our sightings of otter track and sign with the National Park Service through our iNaturalist project, the Minnesota Metro Otter Survey. 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


Cedar Creek Winter Survey, Sat Feb 10

posted Jan 15, 2018, 9:48 AM by Jonathan Poppele   [ updated Feb 6, 2018, 1:11 PM ]

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. For our winter survey, we will spend a full day in the field, then gather to share our stories from the day.


Winter Survey, Saturday, February 10

Our Winter Survey will be an all day affair. We will head out in teams to survey snow-packed roads and trails 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. Last winter, our survey teams identified the tracks of about 20 species including southern flying squirrel, fisher, mink, red fox and grey wolf. Since then, many of our observations have been verified by the new trail cam network at Cedar Creek. A lot has changed in the past year, and we are looking forward to what we will find this year. Here is the schedule for the day:

8:30am    Gathering at Lindman Center
9:00am    Tracking teams leave for the field
~2:30pm  Return from the field for sharing, mapping, debriefing and lunch!
5:00pm    Complete


Bring your own lunches and snacks. Weather permitting, some teams may eat lunch in the field, but it is more likely we will all have a late lunch after we return to the Lindman Center. 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.


"Rain" Date

Inclement weather may keep us out of the field on February 10. We are keeping February 17 as a back-up date if we need to postpone the survey due to weather.


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, Feb 3

posted Jan 15, 2018, 9:44 AM by Jonathan Poppele   [ updated Jan 16, 2018, 6:35 AM ]

Please join us for our next Bird Language Gathering

Saturday, February 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!

The first week of February marks mid-winter--the half-way point between the winter solstice and the spring equinox. Chickadees and nuthatches are still moving about in their winter feeding flocks. The robins are still feeding high in the canopy. But owls are beginning to nest--and the songbirds will be keeping an eye on them. Come join us on the slopes of the Minnesota River Valley as we listen in on the birds conversations and see a bit of the winter forest through their eyes.

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
Warm clothing for sitting still outside

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


Reindeer Games! Sun, Jan 28

posted Jan 15, 2018, 9:16 AM by Jonathan Poppele   [ updated Jan 25, 2018, 8:42 AM ]

Come join friends for mid-winter fun and a community potluck at Wargo Nature Center! 

Sunday, January 28 
2:00 pm to 7:00 pm 

Wargo Nature Center 
7701 Main Street 
Lino Lakes, MN 55038 

Come join friends for mid-winter fun and a community potluck at scenic Wargo Nature Center! Gather at the Nature Center at 2:00 pm to meet old friends and new acquaintances. Activities include games for all ages and exploring the winter landscape.

After enjoying an afternoon outdoors, we’ll share a potluck dinner in the Nature Center. Musical instruments are welcome! The evening will wrap up around 7:00 pm.


What to bring:

• Warm boots
• Winter clothing (see below)
• Snowshoes (optional)
• Indoor shoes
• Food (feel free to bring a dish to share)
• Plates, silverware, cups


Schedule & Activities

1:00: Gate opens allowing access to the park
2:00: Meet at the Nature Center for active outdoor games and exploring the winter landscape
4:30: Meet back at the Nature Center for warm drinks and prep potluck dinner
5:00: Potluck dinner, stories, and song
7:00: Wrap-up


RSVP

We would love to know if you are coming!

Questions (and some answers):

Are there fees for parking?
There is no fee for parking at Wargo Nature Center.

Is there cross country skiing?
Participants are welcome to ski on trails and the lake before the event starts. Some of the trails may be groomed. Feel free to arrive after 1:00 pm when the parking lot gate will open.

What should I bring for potluck?
Bring a dinner main or side dish. We have access to a kitchen, so you can store food in a refrigerator. We can also plug in crock pots or other warming devices. Please bring your own plates, silverware, and cups.

What should I wear? It’s cold out there!
Hats, mittens, gloves, scarves, layers of warm clothes, and warm boots. Bring indoor shoes for the evening. If you would like, bring a change of dry clothes as we will be more active in the afternoon and less active in the evening. There are places in the Nature Center to change clothes.

Who should I call with questions, including the day of the event?
Rob at 612-369-2718.

Is that really a reindeer in the event picture?
No, he is a white-tailed deer.



For a map & directions click here

Wargo Nature Center

Winter Wildlife Tracking for Everyone: Sat, Jan 20

posted Jan 8, 2018, 11:29 AM by The Center for Mind-Body Oneness   [ updated Jan 8, 2018, 11:29 AM ]

Back by popular demand! 
Bring your family for a nature connection experience at the Bruce Vento Nature Sanctuary: 

Saturday, January 20
11:00am - 12:30pm

Meet just inside the Bruce Vento Nature Sanctuary entrance:

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


Members of the Minnesota Wildlife Tracking Project will lead a variety of fun activities for all ages to learn wildlife tracking, behavior, and communication. Hot beverages provided as well! Free to attend, but maximum of 40 participants - register to save a spot.

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

RSVPs are encouraged, as space is limited.

Click Here for Directions

Bruce Vento Nature Sanctuary


Jan 21 Tracking Club: Squirrel Appreciation Day

posted Jan 2, 2018, 1:11 PM by Jonathan Poppele   [ updated Jan 2, 2018, 1:16 PM ]

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

Sunday, January 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
 

January 21 is Squirrel Appreciation Day. Who knew? Come celebrate with us by tracking our arboreal neighbors. Depending on the weather, we may dig into the details of squirrel track morphology: differences between red squirrel, grey squirrel, fox squirrel and flying squirrel; differences between right and left feet. If we have new snow, we may let ourselves by distracted ("Squirrel!") and follow some fresh trails instead. Either way, we can spend the day appreciating the squirrels among us. #SquirrelAppreciationDay

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: Sat, Jan 6

posted Dec 8, 2017, 10:01 AM by Jonathan Poppele   [ updated Dec 8, 2017, 10:11 AM ]

Please join us for our next Bird Language Gathering

Saturday, January 6
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!

In past winters, mixed feeding flocks have kept watch over owls roosting near the Hillside Trail. After several sits, our group started to get familiar with the subtle bands of suppression and excitement that surrounded the owls. Last winter, the barred owls seemed to be roosting in a different part of the Refuge. Will they return this winter? Will we get indications of a great-horned owl in the area again? One thing is for sure--the songbirds will know. Join us as we gather to eavesdrop on their conversations. And perhaps catch sight of an owl in the process.

 


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 whatever weather we have that day
Warm footware

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


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