Cedar Creek Tracking Workshop & Wildlife Survey

Friday, May 31 & Saturday, June 1

Cedar Creek Ecosystem Science Reserve

2660 Fawn Lake Dr NE, East Bethel, MN 55005 

The Spring 2024 Cedar Creek Wildlife Survey is coming up on Saturday, June 1. In addition to our Saturday Wildlife Survey, we are delighted to announce an opportunity to join our certified trackers for a Friday afternoon tracking workshop and overnight stay in the bunkhouse. Both programs are free, and registration is required through this online form. There is a small charge and a separate registration for overnight accommodations.

About the Cedar Creek Tracking Workshop

Friday, May 31

4:30 PM - 7:00 PM

Join certified trackers of the Minnesota Wildlife Tracking Project to learn about the art and science of track and sign identification and interpretation. If you're new to tracking, or wish to build your confidence with track and sign identification, this is a great way to practice your skills ahead of Saturday's Wildlife Survey. The workshop is free, and open to participants of all levels from beginner to certified professional. Register here for the workshop.

Housing Information at Cedar Creek

Before  the wildlife tracking survey, you can stay in the bunkhouse at Cedar Creek ($9/night). The bunkhouse has sleeping spaces for 6-8 people in a shared room with a shared multi-stall bathroom (separate sides for men and women). There are also kitchen and laundry facilities shared by all bunkhouse residents.

Items to bring with you include bedding, personal items, laundry soap (if needed), and food. Cedar Creek provides a fridge and freezer, oven and stove, microwave, pots/pans, cooking and eating utensils, dishes, and laundry facilities (if needed). 

You can request lodging by completing our housing request form online and Lydia Winkler will reach out with next steps. Be sure to include "Wildlife and Tracking Workshop" at the bottom of the form under "Additional information."

Housing spaces will be assigned on a first come/first served basis. 

About the Cedar Creek Wildlife Survey

Saturday, June 1

9:00 AM - 4:30 PM

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 the property. You can read about our Spring 2022 survey here.

Our Spring Survey will be an all day affair. We will head out in teams to survey the sand 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 who holds a Level III or higher in Track & Sign identification. In past surveys, our teams have identified the tracks and sign of more than 30 species of mammals including gray fox, flying squirrel, and black bear.  With the bison enclosure vacant this year, we have a broader range of places we can roam. Who knows what we will find? Here is the schedule for the day:

8:30am    Doors open at Lindeman Center

9:00am    Program begins: Tracking teams organize to leave for the field

~3:00pm  Return from the field for sharing, mapping and debriefing

4:30pm    Complete


Register here for our Spring Wildlife Survey. We look forward to getting out in the field with you.

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 in East Bethel, about 35 miles north of Minneapolis and St. Paul.

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. Mammals 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, or look read about our past surveys on our blog.

Public access to the Reserve is limited. The Cedar Creek Wildlife Survey program offers you the rare opportunity to explore this exceptional landscape.