Big Woods and Cannon River Kayaking
8:00 am – 4:00pm
Trip Leader: George Weiblen, university of Minnesota
Cedar Creek Ecosystem Science Reserve
8:00 am – 5:00pm
The Cedar Creek Ecosystem Science Reserve is situated at the intersection of the three largest biomes in continental North America: prairie, deciduous forest, and boreal forest. We will visit an oak savanna with an ongoing 50+-year burn experiment; Cedar Bog Lake where Raymond Lindeman founded ecosystem ecology, Beckman Bog; a 25-year Prairie Biodiversity Experiment (“BigBio”); 20-year Biodiversity, CO2 and Nitrogen (BioCON) experiment; the recently established Forest and Biodiversity (FAB) experiment; and the bison enclosure at the savanna. https://vimeo.com/232084985
Recommended: Hiking shoes or boots, long sleeves/long pants, hat and protection from bugs. Rain gear just in case. Expect moderate exertion with bogs and swamps, and sandy roads. Bring sunscreen, bug spray. The weather will likely be in low to mid 80s but can vary dramatically during the day - layers advised! Box lunches and water will be provided.
Trip Leader: Jeannine Cavender-Bares
Sedge and floristic field trip at Whitewater Wildlife Management Area
8:00 am – 5:00pm
The Whitewater Wildlife Management Area is a highly diverse ravine within the driftless region of Minnesota. It supports numerous high-quality communities: mesic and lowland hardwood forests, floodplains, wet meadows, and dry lime prairies. Hiking boots recommended; rubber boots not necessary, but participants should plan on getting their feet wet in some of the swampier areas and floodplain. Long pants are essential, as we will be in areas with nettles. We will also be on at least one dry lime goat/prairie, so participants should be prepared to climb on inclines. Mosquitoes and flies will probably be bad, so insect repellent is recommended. Participants should bring a hand lens. Participants are encouraged to obtain a copy of Welby Smith’s Sedges and Rushes of Minnesota prior to the trip. Participants can however bring other books as they see fit (e.g., Voss and Reznicek’s Field Manual of Michigan Flora or Hipp’s Field Guide to Wisconsin Sedges, the latter of which overlaps particularly well with the flora of the area).
Participants can collect in the WMA without obtaining an additional permit. We may also visit an adjacent state park, where collecting will not be permitted. Box lunches and water will be provided.
Trip Leaders: Andrew Hipp and Jason Husveth
Weaver Dunes sand prairie and Weaver Bottoms marshes canoe trip
8:00 am – 5:00 pm
The Weaver Dunes area offers a large sand/barrens prairie on an extensive dune field with nearby Mississippi River floodplain forest, alluvial marsh, and backwaters. We will hike parts of the extensive sand prairie and see a wide variety of plants and animals, including some that are uncommon elsewhere. We will also paddle the Weaver Bottoms marsh, which is full of emergent vegetation in mid-summer. The spectacular American Lotus should be in bloom. Both sites have examples of successful ecological restoration.
Walking the sand prairie of Weaver Dunes is easy, even though there are no trails, as long as participants are dressed appropriately. That time of year can be quite warm. Water, boots or solid hiking shoes, a hat, sunscreen, bug spray, and long pants are recommended. Bring rain gear if rain is in the forecast. We will go through areas of Poison Ivy. For the canoe trip, you may want to have water-resistant footwear for launch and landing. Box lunches and water will be provided.
Trip Leaders: Joel Dunnette and Ed Lagace
Fire and Ice: Glacial Relicts to Fire-Dependent Plant Communities at Whitewater State Park and Great River Bluffs State Park
8:00 am – 5:00 pm
We will explore the rugged topography of Whitewater State Park. A diverse mix of plant communities are found within this 3200-acre state park including cold and wet north slopes, bottomland hardwood forests, groundwater seepage communities, mesic maple and basswood forests, dry oak forests, and dry cliffs. Along the way we will see historic CCC/WPA-era structures, coldwater streams, and scenic overlooks.
Great River Bluffs State Park is dominated by south and west facing bluffs with large bluff prairies and fire-dependent woodlands. The towering bluffs and cliffs offer scenic vistas of the Mississippi River. We will discuss some of the challenges of managing fire-dependent communities while balancing the protection of other rare species. We may visit disjunct populations of Montia chamissoi and Thuja occidentalis if time and energy allows.
Hiking conditions at both locations will be moderate to strenuous depending on the route. Some trails have stone or wooden steps and climb 250-300 feet of elevation. Plan to be on and off the trail on uneven terrain. Hiking boots, hat, and long pants are recommended. Insect spray, sunscreen, binoculars, and rain gear (depending on the forecast) are advised. Both parks are in high risk areas for deer ticks. Tick gaiters, light colored clothing, repellants, and/or tucking pants in socks are recommended. Box lunches and water will be provided.
Trip Leader Erika Rowe and Shawn Fritcher, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources
Ferns and Lycophytes of the Driftless Area Option 2
10:00 am – 5:00 pm
The day will begin by visiting the areas surrounding Whitewater State Park, just east of Rochester. Here, we will meet up with the “overnighters” (Fern Foray Option 1). Together, we will travel to Frontenac State Park, there exploring ferns and lycophytes on the shores and flood plains of the Great Mississippi River.