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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.

Lecture Schedule:

Monday, February 15 | 6:30 - 8:00 p.m. indoor lecture
8:00-9:30 p.m. outdoor hike

17th Annual Owl Hoot, Sarah Gainey, Saint John's Outdoor U

Owls may dazzle us with their calls but they are also full of other amazing adaptations for survival. Learn about the twelve owl species that can be found in Minnesota and how they survive year round. An outdoor hike under the moon to call for owls living at Saint John's is also an option! This is a great event for kids so bring the whole family!

Monday, March 14 | 6:30 - 8:00 p.m.

Historic Naturalists in Collegeville, MJ Bach, Saint John's Outdoor U

This lecture will introduce early prolific naturalists of our area - four monks and a nun - who contributed to natural history records and specimen collections from the 1850s-1930s. Through stories and photographs I will highlight these noteworthy individuals, their contributions and the significance of their work.

Monday, April 18 | 6:30 - 8:00 p.m.

Geography of Old Growth Forests, Kyle Rauch, Saint John's Outdoor U

We'll explore old-growth forest types, characteristics, history and locations. We'll consider old-growth trees at the local, state and national level with a special emphasis on Eastern forests.

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

Previous Lecture Topics:

Photo-a-Day: Two Years with a Naturalist
Joe Walewski, Wolf Ridge Environmental Learning Center

Soils in a Changing Climate
Joe Storlien, CSB/SJU Environmental Studies

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

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

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.,
    unless otherwise noted
  • Monthly, Sept-Nov & Feb-Apr
  • Free - Outdoor U Members
  • Free - Students of all ages
  • Free - Teachers who currently bring students on field trips
  • $5 - Nonmembers/ Nonstudents