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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 provided by Cedar Creek's seasoned naturalists, and each session offers the opportunity to experience life as a scientist. 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

"Without this fantastic opportunity, [our students] would not be exposed to relevant science in the field, interaction with real scientists and a chance to live authentic science. The opportunity to collect genuine data and observe the results was eye opening. [Our students] walked away with a greater appreciation for nature and the many interactions that occur on a daily basis. The reflections heard on the ride back....were very touching."

"Having the chance to touch and experience technology associated with natural resources work and learn from experts was very helpful."

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
Bison & Savannas
Type
Workshop
Days
Th
Time
10:00AM to 3:00PM
Dates
Sep 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
Drop Request Deadline
Sep 11, 2019
Transfer Request Deadline
Dec 17, 2016
Section Details
Oak savannas are one of the most threatened ecosystems worldwide, and some of the most pristine remaining examples can be found at Cedar Creek. Savannas sit at the intersection of two of Minnesota’s major biomes - the prairie and the deciduous forest - and we will spend a day exploring the diverse plants of this habitat. We will have a chance to visit Cedar Creek's bison, prescribed burning and savanna research projects to investigate the dynamics of prairie, savanna and forest ecosystems, with a special focus on the impacts of large grazing mammals on plant communities.
Section Title
Soil Ecology
Type
Workshop
Days
Th
Time
10:00AM to 3:00PM
Dates
Oct 10, 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
Oct 03, 2019
Transfer Request Deadline
Oct 03, 2019
Section Details
The type of soil in an area determines what will live and grow there. We will spend a day collecting and analyzing soil cores and exploring the rates of decomposition. We will learn about the different layers in the soil and how soil impacts our groundwater and drainage. Come prepared to play in the dirt!
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
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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