Minnesota Natural History Lecture Series

Interested in learning more about Minnesota's natural world? Join us each month for a lecture and discussion on a variety of natural history topics. All ages are welcome to all of our lectures, however we have designated some lectures as kid-friendly when the topics and presentation styles are more suitable for kids. Lectures that are designated as teacher-friendly indicate that there will be classroom resources available for teachers at the lecture.

Lecture Series


Lecture Schedule:

Monday, Apr 20 | 6:30 - 8:00 p.m.

Jumpstarting Life: Applying Hibernation Strategies to Emergency Rooms and Long-distance Space Travel, Clark Cotton, CSB/SJU biology

This lecture is a general introduction to hibernation with a broad survey of animals that undergo multi-day torpor and the basic physiological changes that take place. What are the challenges hibernators face and how do they overcome them (muscle atrophy, bone loss, kidney failure)? How might we be able to apply some of these principles in a clinical setting for human benefit? Read an article on this topic in Sagatagan Seasons!

Tuesday, July 14 | 6:30 - 8:30 p.m .

Nature, Culture, and Two Friends Talking, Kim Chapman and Jim Armstrong

Nature, Culture and Two Friends Talking book cover

Ecologist Kim Chapman and poet Jim Armstrong, co-authors of a new book Nature, Culture, and Two Friends Talking, will use an essay about an emotional response to sudden change in the landscape and another essay on land stewardship to frame a discussion of how people and nature interact.  Afterwards they will lead a walk in the Abbey Arboretum examining plants, birds, and other natural features along the trails.  We will stop at the 1896 conifer planting, the oldest in the state and at a nearby site where oaks are being replanted following the 2011 blowdown to continue our discussion of change on the land and how people and nature interact. Refreshments will be provided.


Have an idea for a topic or speaker we should pursue? Tell us!

Previous Lecture Topics:

Shoreline Restoration 
Greg Berg, Stearns Co. Soil & Water Conservation District                                                          

16th Annual Owl Hoot
Sarah Gainey, Outdoor U

The Biology of Resurrection
Stephen Saupe, CSB/SJU biology

Swanning Around Saint John's
Marcus Webster, CSB/SJU biology

15th Annual Owl Hoot
Marco Restani, St. Cloud State University biology

Night Gliders: Nocturnal Denizens of the Abbey Arboretum
Kristina Timmerman, CSB/SJU biology

The Science & Psychology of Survival
Tom Kroll, Saint John's Outdoor U

MN Lakes: Past, Present, and Future
Bill Lamberts, CSB/SJU biology

14th Annual Owl Hoot
Marco Restani, St. Cloud State University biology

The Future of Food
Diane Veale-Jones, CSB/SJU environmental studies

Stargazing at Saint John's
Mike Lynch, WCCO meteorologist

Climbing the Grand Staircase: A Journey Through 1.2 Billion Years of Earth's History
Larry Davis, CSB/SJU geology

Another Look at Genetically Modified Foods
Dr. Jean Lavigne, CSB/SJU environmental studies

13th Annual Owl Hoot
Marco Restani, SCSU professor of biology

Our Place in the Universe
John O'Reilly, Saint John's Outdoor University

Tree Rings and the Tales They Tell
Troy Knight, CSB/SJU Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies

Seeing Through the Lens: Photography in the Great Outdoors
Ken Bachofer, Nature Photographer, MN Master Naturalist Volunteer

Worm Watch: Invasive Earthworms
Ryan Hueffmeier, Great Lakes Worm Watch, University of Minnesota Duluth

The Botany of Harry Potter
Steve Saupe, CSB/SJU professor of biology

Loons at Saint John's
Carol Jansky, CSB/SJU Biology Lab Coordinator
Read more about Saint John's Loons.


About the Series
  • 6:30 - 8:00 p.m.
  • Monthly, Sept-Nov & Feb-Apr
  • Meet at the pendulum in the New Science Center at Saint John's unless otherwise noted
  • During the fall season, some of our lectures may be outside! Check the event description for more info!
  • Free - Saint John's Outdoor University Members
  • Free - Students of all ages
  • Free - Teachers who currently bring students on field trips
  • $5 - Nonmembers/ Nonstudents