Celebrating the Avon Hills

A conference for the whole family!

Register to attend a variety of sessions throughout the day and instead of finding childcare, sign the kids up (ages 5-10) to attend sessions designed specifically for them! KID SESSIONS (ages 5-10) ARE CURRENTLY FULL.

NEW! Outdoor U received a generous donation from John Taylor and Leigh Dillard to cover the registration fees for the 25 children attending our kid sessions. Register your child for free (and sign yourself up) early to claim a spot!

Saturday, January 27, 2024
Peter Engel Science Center, SJU | Campus Map

Register Now Print & Mail Session Descriptions


image of a native pollinator on a flower, provided by Heather HolmKeynote: Attracting Bees and Beneficial Insects with Native Plants

Most insects have a positive impact in our landscapes. Native plants can be selected to attract specific bees and beneficial insects including predatory and parasitic wasps, beetles, flies, true bugs, and lacewings. Learn about the predator-prey relationships of these beneficial insects and how they help balance populations of problem insects. Discuss life cycles, diversity, and nesting habitat as well as examples of native plants for different site conditions.

Heather Holm is a pollinator conservationist and award-winning author of four books: Pollinators of Native Plants (2014), Bees (2017), Wasps (2021), and Common Native Bees of the Eastern United States (2022).


image of a native pollinator on a flower, provided by Heather HolmLive Raptors with the UMN Raptor Center

Learn about raptors with live raptor ambassadors from the Raptor Center. The presentation features four raptors (typically an owl, hawk, falcon, and bald eagle) to help you learn about what makes them raptors and what makes them standout amongst other birds.

Raptor Center staff will present a morning session for the adult participants and an afternoon session for the kids’ track.

The Raptor Center mission is to ensure the health of raptors and the world we share. We specialize in the medical care, rehabilitation, and conservation of eagles, hawks, owls, falcons, osprey, and vultures.


Registration Prices

NOTE: Kids sessions are designed for ages 5-10 and are limited to the first 25 registrations. Older children and teens should attend the regular sessions. Parents/guardians are expected to pick their children up to escort them to lunch.

Member Pricing: for members of Outdoor U, MN Forestry Association, MN State Horticultural Society, and MN Women’s Woodland Network

Conference registration fee includes: keynote, all sessions, class materials, exhibit hall, lunch, and refreshments.

Register Now Print & Mail


2024 Conference Schedule:

Kids Track (ages 5-10)

Session Descriptions


Thank you to our 2024 Sponsors:

Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund MN Forestry Association logoMN Women's Woodland Network logo    MN State Horticultural Society logo    University of Minnesota Extension logo    Stearns County Soil and Water Conservation District logo    Avon Hills Initiative Logo    Saint John's Outdoor University logo

John Taylor and Leigh Dillard (Kid Session Sponsors)