Winter Naturalist Series

Spruce up your naturalist skills this winter with Outdoor U!

Saturdays, Jan 16, 23, & 30 and Feb 20, 27, & Mar 6 from 10:00-11:00 a.m.

Register Now Suggest More Topics!

  • FREE - Outdoor U Members & CSB/SJU students
  • $10/session - Nonmember household. Sign up for 3 sessions and receive a $5 discount!
  • The beginning of each Saturday session will include a short kid/family/beginner activity to get us started.
  • Any pre-recorded videos will be made available to registered participants 1 week before the Saturday event. The videos will be taken down 1 week after the event.
  • Zoom links for each Saturday will be emailed the Friday before the event.

Session Descriptions

Saturday, January 16
Winter Tracks & Signs - with guest naturalist, Larry Weber
Pre-recording available Jan 9-23.

Features award winning naturalist and teacher Larry Weber sharing knowledge, photos, and stories about Minnesota critters that leave tracks in the snow. Watch a pre-recorded video on the topic at your convenience before attending the live Saturday Zoom Q&A.

Saturday, January 23
Ice Age Megafauna - with Kyle Rauch

Join Outdoor U for a virtual field tour of the fantastic and charismatic mega-mammals of Ice Age North America. Explore the Pleistocene and draw connections to current wildlife and ecosystems. Fun and interesting for the whole family. We’ll begin the program with a megafauna ID quiz to sharpen your field skills. We recommend using a computer for the Zoom presentation and a mobile device for participating in the ID quiz.

Saturday, January 30
Winter Tree ID - with John Geissler
Pre-recording available Jan 23-Feb 6.

Learn the tricks and tips to identifying native Minnesota trees and shrubs in winter. Watch a pre-recorded video on the topic at your convenience before attending the live Saturday Zoom Q&A.

Saturday, February 20
Lichens in Minnesota - with guest naturalist, Joe Walewski
Pre-recording available beginning Feb 13

Lichens are right in front of us. Everywhere. Perhaps because they are so common, and so small, we inadvertently overlook them. Joe Walewski, Director of Naturalist Training at Wolf Ridge Environmental Learning Center, wrote the book on lichens (literally). Join us to find out what they are, where and how they grow, and more. Watch a pre-recorded video at your convenience before attending the live Saturday Zoom Q&A.

Saturday, February 27
Squirrels: Little Critters, Big Adaptations - with guest naturalist, Vanessa Bezek
Pre-recording available beginning Feb 20

Squirrels can be found from the tropics to the Arctic and even in your own backyard! If you're "nuts" about squirrels, join us to learn all about squirrel biology and how these little critters adapt to life in so many different environments. Vanessa (Hensley) Bezek completed the Outdoor U environmental education fellowship in 2019-20 and we are thrilled to welcome her back for this session! Watch a pre-recorded video at your convenience before attending the live Saturday Zoom Q&A.

Saturday, March 6
Wintering Wildlife: Turtles & Frogs - with guest naturalist, Brandon Baker '09
Pre-recording available beginning Feb 27

What do turtles and frogs do in winter? It's a lot more complicated than a long winter's nap. Join Brandon Baker '09, award winning co-host of the Wandering Naturalist podcast and interpretive naturalist with the Three Rivers Park District to learn more. Watch a pre-recorded video at your convenience before attending the live Saturday Zoom Q&A.