Q: What is Saint John’s Outdoor University?

A: Saint John’s Outdoor University provides environmental and outdoor education through classes, events, and initiatives with the Abbey Arboretum, Saint John’s University, and the College of Saint Benedict.

Q: What is the Abbey Arboretum?

A: Saint John’s Abbey Arboretum is more than 2,500 acres of lakes, prairie, oak savannah, and forest owned by Saint John’s Abbey and surrounding Saint John’s University.

Q: Is the Abbey Arboretum public land?

A: No. The land surrounding Saint John’s Abbey and University is privately owned and managed by Saint John’s Abbey. The Abbey welcomes the public to enjoy the trails and natural beauty of the land. For questions about land policies and land use, contact the Abbey Arboretum land manager, John Geissler.

Q: How much does it cost to visit the Abbey Arboretum?

A: To walk around the trails, nothing! We just ask that you do so during daylight hours and respect the land. To organize a tour for a larger group (for a small fee), please contact Kyle Rauch. If you are an educator, please check out our environmental education programs.

Q: Can I walk my dog on the trails?

A: No. Saint John’s Abbey Arboretum is a game refuge. No pets, bikes, or unauthorized vehicles are to be on the trails at any time. Review our current pet policy for more information.

Q: Where can I ride my bike?

A: You may ride your bike on any paved roads or trails. You may not ride you bike on any unpaved trails since the Abbey Arboretum is a game refuge. However the Lake Wobegon Trail runs close to campus and welcomes bikes, rollerblades, and pets.

Q: How can I hold a bonfire on campus or purchase firewood for a bonfire?

A: Learn how to hold a bonfire and request firewood from the Abbey Arboretum.

Q: I have a special request for land use. Who do I contact?

A: If you are planning to hold a bonfire, you should follow these guidelines. For other land use queries, use the Abbey Arboretum land use request form. Contact John Geissler for questions or advice about your land use activity. Review a summary of current land use policies.

Q: I saw an injured deer on campus! What should I do?

A: Report it to SJU Life Safety Services (320.363.2144).

Q: Who was Father Paul?

A: Father Paul Schwietz, OSB was the founder of Saint John’s Arboretum in 1997. He worked for many years to formalize the education and land stewardship programming, making it possible for it to grow into what we are today. Fr. Paul passed away in 2000. You may see a memorial dedicated to him in the oak savannah.

Q: What is a membership to Saint John’s Outdoor U?

A: A membership to Outdoor U is a donation that supports our environmental and outdoor education programming for preK-12 students, college students, and the general community. Memberships also support land stewardship activities in the Abbey Arboretum. As a supporter, you also enjoy a variety of benefits, such as special invitations and discounts at most events, Sagatagan Seasons (our quarterly newsletter), and more! Your membership donation is a tax-deductibel donation to Saint John’s University. Contact Jenny Kutter with additional questions.

Q: Do I have to be a graduate of CSB or SJU to become a member?

A: Absolutely not. Memberships are open to everyone.

Q: Do I have to be a member to come to your events?

A: Aside from our Volunteer/Member Appreciation Open House, no. Members do receive discounted prices to most of our events, however, so join today!

Q: Can I work at Saint John’s Outdoor U?

A: We offer plenty of job opportunities for students and fellowship opportunities for recent graduates.

Q: Can I volunteer for Saint John’s Outdoor U?

A: We always welcome volunteers! We send emails to our volunteer list when we need help, so sign up as a volunteer today! Check out our list of ongoing projects and let us know if anything interests you.

Q: Where are your offices located?

A: We’re on the second floor of the Peter Engle Science Center at SJU, in offices 203 – 213. We are generally open weekdays from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Q: Why are there always buses at the kiosk?

A: More than 7,000 local preK-12th grade students visit the Abbey Arboretum every year as part of Saint John’s Outdoor University’s Environmental Education Program. Most of these visits involve a trip around the boardwalk loop, beginning and ending at the kiosk.

Q: What is the kiosk?

A: The prairie kiosk, located on the prairie just off of County Road 159, is a great place to find information about the Abbey Arboretum, or to stop from some shade in the inherently shadeless prairie! It is also the starting point for most of our preK-12 field trips that travers the 1.5 mile Boardwalk Loop.

Q: I want to use your logo in a publication or on a t-shirt. How do I get it?

A: You should contact us with your idea and we will work with you to see if using our logo is a good option.