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Cedar Creek Wildlife Survey Kickoff

posted Jul 13, 2016, 7:32 AM by Jonathan Poppele   [ updated Jul 13, 2016, 8:50 AM ]

New citizen science project – 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.

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

Great Tracking

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 can try your hand at distinguishing fisher from otter; fox squirrel from grey squirrel; and a variety of tiny mammal tracks.

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.

Free Training, Saturday, July 23

The program kicks off with a free training and orientation

Saturday, July 23
9:00am - 4:00pm
(Lunch provided)

Cedar Creek Ecosystem Science Reserve
2660 Fawn Lake Dr NE
Bethel, Minnesota 55005
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If you are new to wildlife tracking surveys, want to brush up on tracking basics, or just want a chance to do some tracking at Cedar Creek, please join us. The training is free, but registration is required. To register for the event:

First Survey, Sunday, August 7

Our Summer Survey will take place two weeks after the training session. We will head out in teams to survey sand road transects for animal tracks, then come back in to share our discoveries with one another. Each team will be led by an experienced wildlife tracker, certified in Track & Sign identification.

Sunday, August 7
9:00am - 4:00pm

If you cannot attend the training on July 23, but still want to participate in the survey, let us know. We will do our best to accommodate everyone who wants to take part. To sign up for the survey:

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

Cedar Creek Ecosystem Science Reserve