Education and Outreach at Cedar Creek Ecosystem Science Reserve


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.


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.


"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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