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Fall Cedar Creek Wildlife Survey

posted Oct 10, 2016, 9:35 AM by Jonathan Poppele   [ updated Oct 10, 2016, 10:45 AM ]

Its 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.

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 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.

Free Training, October 15-16

We highly recommend that anyone planning to join the survey for the first time attend our 2-day tracking workshop.

Saturday, October 15, 9:00am - 2:00pm
Sunday, October 16, 9:00am - 1:00pm

Ft. Snelling State Park Visitor Center
101 Snelling Lake Rd
West St Paul, MN 55111

Click here for directions

If you are new to wildlife tracking surveys, want to brush up on tracking basics, or just want a chance to get together with other tracking enthusiasts, please join us. The training is free, but registration is required. To register for the event:
  • Call Ft. Snelling State Park: 612-275-2724

Fall Survey, Saturday, October 22

Our fall Survey will take place one week 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.

Saturday, October 22
9:00am - 4:00pm

If you will not have attended a training, 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