Cedar Creek Ecosystem Science Reserve

University of Minnesota
2660 Fawn Lake Dr NE
East Bethel, MN 55005

Field tripsRentalGetting there

Description: CCESR is a 5600-acre ecological field station run by the University of Minnesota. In addition to serving as a location for world-famous scientific research for 75 years, CCESR strives to be an inspiring catalyst and outstanding resource for lifelong science education in Minnesota and beyond with the goal of connecting students, teachers, community members and scientists through engaging hands-on experiences that increase science literacy and help our community better understand scientific principles, processes and concepts.

CCESR provides high-quality science and nature field trips for students of all ages on a variety of topics. Students who visit CCESR can participate in a variety of activities, including nature hikes, inquiry-driven investigations, art and observation activities, educational games, and interactions with on-going scientific research. Staff will work with homeschool groups to customize existing programs to fit specific needs or to help develop a new program just for your homeschool group!

Below is a sampling of current offerings.

Classroom space and access to certain areas of the property may be rented for you to deliver your own programs.

Phone: 612-301-2602
Email: caitlin(at)umn.edu

Field trips

Description: The core of CCESR is research and no visit is complete without experiencing the world-renowned study sites. Walking around a working large-scale ecology experiment gives students a unique, tangible, inside look into the scientific process. Each group that visits is encouraged to explore one of the unique nature trails and to take part in an age-appropriate field investigation led by a trained naturalist.

Field trips are generally 4 hours long and include a combination of tours and field investigations. 2-hour programs are available by request.

4-hour field trips generally include …

  1. a nature walk on one of the Reserve's private trails
  2. a visit to and exploration of a long-term field experiment
  3. an age-appropriate hands-on science investigation.

2-hour programs include …

  1. a nature walk
  2. a visit to a long-term field experiment


  1. a stand-alone science investigation
  2. a science game

Current topics for investigations include …

  • ecosystem comparisons
  • savanna conservation
  • insect diversity
  • water quality
  • phenology (the study of cyclic seasonal changes in nature)
  • classification

Staff will also work with you to develop a new program that meets your students' needs.


  • Some activities, primarily visits to the research sites, require you to provide your own transportation to additional sites on the property, a 5 to 10 minute drive.
  • All students should bring a pencil, a bag lunch with drink, a water bottle, sunscreen and insect repellent.
  • Students and adult chaperones and educators should wear long pants (light colors are best), sturdy closed-toe shoes (sneakers or hiking boots), long socks (white knee-highs are best), a shirt with sleeves, and a sun hat.

For more information, on K-12 programs, visit cedarcreek.umn.edu/educationoutreach/k12programs

Cost per child/student:
2 hours: $7
4 hours: $12

Adults educators and chaperones are not charged unless actively participating in the program.

Minimum group size: 10 students or equivalent payment
2 hours: $70 minimum
4 hours: $120 minimum

Maximum group size: 120. Groups larger than 30 will be split up and assigned separate naturalists.

Minimum of one adult/educator per group of students.

Target grade level: K-12th grades, with programs specifically designed for K-2nd, 3rd-5th, 6th-8th and 9th-12th grade groups. No prerequisite skills aside from an interest in science and nature!

For more information, contact Dr. Caitlin Potter, Education and Outreach Coordinator, at 612-301-2602 or caitlin(at)umn.edu, or visit cedarcreek.umn.edu/educationoutreach.


The Lindeman Reception Hall is 1,300 square feet and seats up to 80 in an auditorium format and up to 24 in a conference format. The Hall features a adjacent open kitchen and projection system.

For more information and current rental fees, visit cedarcreek.umn.edu/about/facilities

Getting there

Parking information: There is a large gravel lot with free parking in front of the main education building, the Lindeman Center.

Driving directions: CCESR is located about 35 miles north of the University of Minnesota's Minneapolis Campus.

When you turn in the driveway from Fawn Lake Drive, bear left at the fork following signs for Visitors and Lindeman Center. Park in the gravel parking lot on your left. Detailed directions are available at cedarcreek.umn.edu/about/directions

Information subject to change. Please check with Cedar Creek Ecosystem Science Reserve for the most current information. Last updated on Tue, Jan 17, 2017.