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Education and Outreach at Cedar Creek Ecosystem Science Reserve

Description

Science options are often limited for homeschool students once they reach middle school. Why not come study science at Cedar Creek, where students have the opportunity to explore many different topics alongside professional scientists and their experiments? Homeschool programs for ages 12-18 are offered at the Reserve  on the second Thursday of each month from 10am - 3pm. See the section listings for specific details about each month's class.

Each month focuses on a specific topic studied by world-class researchers at Cedar Creek, and provides the opportunity to go in depth into subjects of importance to the world, to our research community, and to society as a whole. Instruction is led by Cedar Creek naturalist and experienced homeschool educator Lauren Borer, assisted by Cedar Creek staff, graduate students and eduactors. Each session offers the opportunity to experience life as a scientist and hands-on explorations! Students will spend time indoors and out, conducting hand-on investigations, meeting scientists, visiting long-term scientific experiments, and exploring nature. Come prepared to be outside in the dirt, regardless of the weather!

Classes are drop-off; parents do not attend the class with their student. We are happy to provide suggestions on places to go for a hike, go shopping or grab a cup of coffee and get some work done while your student is learning with us! Please note as well that no tobacco use or pets (except service animals) are allowed outside of vehicles on the Cedar Creek property, including the buildings, parking lots and nature trail. Learn more about Cedar Creek's mission and legacy here.

Outline

2019-2020 school year

September 12th:   Bison and Savannas

October 10th:   Soil Ecology

November 14th:   Stream Ecology I

December 12th:   Math in Nature

January 9th:   Astronomy

February 13th:   Pond Mapping

March 12th:   Winter Ecology

April 9th:   Stream Ecology II

May 14th:   Water Quality and Macroinvertebrates

June 11th:   Habitat Biodiversity

 

There are no classes in July and August.

Testimonials

"Cedar Creek has been extremely enjoyable. Not just because of the study of the natural world right here (as opposed to some fascinating but far away biome), but also because it’s an awesome group of people I get to hang out with for most of a day. I haven’t really been part of a group of homeschoolers who all just do something for an entire day like that."

"My daughter has shared information she learned at each and every one of Cedar Creek's programs. She especially enjoyed showing us how to hold dragonflies and damselflies and how to distinguish between different varieties. She's now exploring how to volunteer with the Minnesota Dragonfly Society."

"The classes were well thought out and provided an opportunity to collaborate with other students, and it provided hands-on learning experiences."

"It’s the only ongoing hands on science opportunity at a research facility that I have found. It is also the only one that is geared towards high school aged students. We have found the program to be very high quality and a great value for the price."

"[My son] is paying more attention to the nature around him, paw prints, bones and skulls of dead animals, etc!"

Questions? Contact Dr. Caitlin Barale Potter, education and community engagement coordinator (caitlin@umn.edu)

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Enroll Now - Select a section to enroll in

Section Title
Stream Ecology I
Type
Workshop
Days
Th
Time
10:00AM to 3:00PM
Dates
Nov 14, 2019
Campus
Off-Campus
Schedule and Location
Contact Hours
5.0
Location
  • Off-Campus
Delivery Options
Workshop  
Course Fee(s)
Tuition non-credit $18.00
Drop Request Deadline
Nov 07, 2019
Transfer Request Deadline
Nov 07, 2019
Section Details
Streams come in all different shapes and sizes and have different characteristics depending on many factors. We will spend a day exploring Cedar Creek, the reserve’s namesake! This will include graphing a cross section of the stream profile, taking a stream bottom survey, and calculating the flow of the stream among other activities.
Section Title
Math in Nature
Type
Workshop
Days
Th
Time
10:00AM to 3:00PM
Dates
Dec 12, 2019
Campus
Off-Campus
Schedule and Location
Contact Hours
5.0
Location
  • Off-Campus
Delivery Options
Workshop  
Course Fee(s)
Tuition non-credit $18.00
Potential Discount(s)
Drop Request Deadline
Dec 05, 2019
Transfer Request Deadline
Dec 05, 2019
Section Details
Math principles are found throughout nature if you just look! We will explore Fibonacci Numbers, bilateral and radial symmetry, and ratios. We will look at species populations in different habitats and determine diversity and also simulate a mark and recapture survey. Come ready to compute!
Section Title
Astronomy
Type
Workshop
Days
Th
Time
10:00AM to 3:00PM
Dates
Jan 09, 2020
Campus
Off-Campus
Schedule and Location
Contact Hours
5.0
Location
  • Off-Campus
Delivery Options
Workshop  
Course Fee(s)
Tuition non-credit $18.00
Drop Request Deadline
Jan 02, 2020
Transfer Request Deadline
Jan 02, 2020
Section Details
Explore our universe’s stars, planets, and satellites! We will learn about the phases of the Moon, the constellations in the sky, create craters, explore the Doppler Effect, take a stroll to the Sun, and more.
Section Title
Pond Mapping
Type
Workshop
Days
Th
Time
10:00AM to 3:00PM
Dates
Feb 13, 2020
Campus
Off-Campus
Schedule and Location
Contact Hours
5.0
Location
  • Off-Campus
Delivery Options
Workshop  
Course Fee(s)
Tuition non-credit $18.00
Drop Request Deadline
Feb 06, 2020
Transfer Request Deadline
Feb 06, 2020
Section Details
Cedar Bog Lake is a small lake, but a mighty one in the field of ecology! We will map this lake’s surface area, depth, and volume using simple methods (and some math!). This information is important for the health of the lake and to record the rate of succession.
Section Title
Winter Ecology
Type
Workshop
Days
Th
Time
10:00AM to 3:00PM
Dates
Mar 12, 2020
Campus
Off-Campus
Schedule and Location
Contact Hours
5.0
Location
  • Off-Campus
Delivery Options
Workshop  
Course Fee(s)
Tuition non-credit $18.00
Drop Request Deadline
Mar 05, 2020
Transfer Request Deadline
Mar 05, 2020
Section Details
How do those animals who choose to stay here all winter long survive? We will design and test our own insulation methods recording the difference in temperature. We will learn about the subnivean layer and the role it plays in the survival of the plants and animals of the north.
Section Title
Stream Ecology II
Type
Workshop
Days
Th
Time
10:00AM to 3:00PM
Dates
Apr 09, 2020
Campus
Off-Campus
Schedule and Location
Contact Hours
5.0
Location
  • Off-Campus
Delivery Options
Workshop  
Course Fee(s)
Tuition non-credit $18.00
Drop Request Deadline
Apr 02, 2020
Transfer Request Deadline
Apr 02, 2020
Section Details
As the winter snows melt, spring flooding becomes an issue. We will revisit Cedar Creek to test the flow of the stream and compare it to the fall flow numbers. We will learn how groundwater hydrology and soils influence flooding patterns. We will learn about flood risk through a hands on activity designing and testing different urban planning options. We will discuss options for helping to control floods and their pros and cons.
Section Title
Water Quality and Macroinvertebrates
Type
Workshop
Days
Th
Time
10:00AM to 3:00PM
Dates
May 14, 2020
Campus
Off-Campus
Schedule and Location
Contact Hours
5.0
Location
  • Off-Campus
Delivery Options
Workshop  
Course Fee(s)
Tuition non-credit $18.00
Drop Request Deadline
May 07, 2020
Transfer Request Deadline
May 07, 2020
Section Details
Benthic Macroinvertebrates (or BMIs) are an important part of the aquatic food chain and scientists use these tiny creatures to determine the health of local body of water. We will spend the day exploring Cedar Bog Lake collecting macroinvertebrates and water samples. Back in the classroom, we will get a closer look at the macros and use them and chemistry to determine the health of Cedar Bog Lake.
Section Title
Habitat Biodiversity
Type
Workshop
Days
Th
Time
10:00AM to 3:00PM
Dates
Jun 11, 2020
Campus
Off-Campus
Schedule and Location
Contact Hours
5.0
Location
  • Off-Campus
Delivery Options
Workshop  
Course Fee(s)
Tuition non-credit $18.00
Drop Request Deadline
Jun 04, 2020
Transfer Request Deadline
Jun 04, 2020
Section Details
Not only is Cedar Creek full of different habitats, but there are also many biodiversity experiments in progress on site. We will visit the “BigBio” experiment that looks at biodiversity in grassland habitats and the Nutrient Network plots that explore what happens when you add or take away nutrients and grazing. We will collect and analyze data and discuss what is happening in each of the experiments.
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