Cedar Creek Open House 2023

Come explore Cedar Creek Ecosystem Science Reserve at our 2023 fall open house on September 23! Stay for an hour or the whole day while taking part in activities, tours, talks and even s’mores while learning about the station, our research and the natural world. 

Parking will be available on site. Please follow all posted parking signage. 

Most activities will start at or near the Lindeman Discovery Center, 2660 Fawn Lake Drive NE, East Bethel. 

Sign for goldenrod plant in English and Ojibwe at Cedar Creek, along with goldenrod plant

Dedication and Construction Kickoff
9:30 - 11 a.m.

Celebrate new projects with us! We will dedicate the new Dick and Judi Huempfner Minnesota Ecology Walk Trail and ceremonially kick off construction for our classroom expansion, the Whitney and Elizabeth MacMillan Environmental Learning Center. We will serve snacks at 9:30 a.m. with the formal program beginning at 10 a.m. RSVP required.

Two bison standing at Cedar Creek Ecosystem Science Reserve

Bison Gazebo staffed by Naturalist Volunteers (DROP IN) 
10 a.m. - 4 p.m.

Walk the Oak Savanna Extension Trail (~2 miles round trip) and meet a naturalist volunteer to learn more about bison and Cedar Creek. The bison left Cedar Creek in August 2023 due to the drought. However, naturalist volunteers will still be on hand with fur, bones, a bison skull, and lots of information about the species and the bison project. Naturalists will be stationed at the Bison Gazebo from 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. weather dependent. 

Cedar Bog Lake

Cedar Bog Lake Hike (1.5 hours) 
11 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.
12:45 p.m. - 2:15 p.m.
2 - 3:30 p.m.

Enjoy a stroll and 'moving lecture' out to Cedar Bog Lake, where Ray and Eleanor Lindeman did their groundbreaking work on food webs in the 1930s. The walk is just over a mile round trip, and passes through natural examples of prairie, cedar swamp, mature deciduous forest, and tamarack swamp on the way to the lake itself. Your guide will talk about past and present research into topics like ecosystem dynamics, aquatic biogeochemistry, phenology, restoration, groundwater hydrology, and more. 

  • Walking distance: ~1.25 mile
  • Activity level: gentle walking over a variety of surfaces (sand, dirt, boardwalk) 

Field tours at Cedar Creek Ecosystem Science Reserve

Field Tours 
11 a.m. - 5 p.m.

See science in action and visit some of the renowned experimental sites at Cedar Creek including the Big Biodiversity experiment, Forests and Biodiversity field, and BioCON global change rings. Buses will transport visitors back and forth between the experimental research sites and Lindeman Lab. Tours will be lead by graduate students, faculty and Cedar Creek staff.

Sun shining through a partially cloudy sky

Solar Viewing Party
1 - 3 p.m. 

Cedar Creek is excited to offer a Solar Viewing Party in partnership with the Minnesota Astronomical Society. Come to Cedar Creek to learn more about the sun and its importance to plants and life on Planet Earth. During the event, float between family friendly activities and using special telescopes and telescope filters for safe solar viewing with experienced Minnesota Astronomical Society Members.*

*NOTE: Looking directly at the sun without specialized equipment and filters can cause permanent eye damage.

Two people working on scientific experiments at Cedar Creek using a microscope

Hands-on Family Activities 
1 - 3 p.m.

Explore photosynthesis, learn about watersheds, and more! Crafts and activities will be available for visitors of all ages. 


Dave Tilman standing in a field at Cedar Creek

Dr. David Tilman Science Talk on Biodiversity
3:30 p.m.

In 1994, the Big Biodiversity experiment was established at Cedar Creek to explore how biodiversity impacts the ecosystem functioning. This on-going, long-term experiment continues to teach us about the importance of biodiversity within ecosystems. Listen to the story of this important experiment from Cedar Creek’s Director, Dr. David Tilman. 

Portrait of Elizabeth Borer

Dr. Elizabeth Borer Science Talk on the Nutrient Network
4:45 p.m.

Research at Cedar Creek has been incredibly important for understanding the role of biodiversity, but it leaves open the question of whether grasslands around the world function the same way. Since 2007, we have been collaborating with colleagues in 29 countries on 6 continents to ask whether identical experimental changes cause the same outcomes for biodiversity and ecosystem functioning across the world’s grasslands.

Portrait of Sarina Partridge

S'mores and Songs featuring Sarina Partridge 
6 - 7 p.m. 

Join Musician and Songleader Sarina Partridge for a welcoming, fun community sing - learn songs Sarina wrote during her 2020-2021 Cedar Creek Artist Residency!

Sarina Partridge writes music inspired by the natural world. It is her passion to weave voices together, collectively singing our way back to remembering our deepest connections. Sarina thinks of herself as more of a song "catcher" than a songwriter -- a feeling that music permeates the world, and one of the beautiful gifts of being human is the ability to tune oneself with the natural world, to reach out, catch, and share that beauty and power through song.

Come learn some simple songs inspired by the woods, waters and wild places of Cedar Creek! All voices, ages, and experience levels are welcome.

Night sky

S'mores and Stars: Star Party 
7 p.m. 

Come and learn more about the night sky! Minnesota Astronomical Society members will walk you through interesting things occurring in the night skies in September. After the short presentation, a number of telescopes will be available for night sky viewing after the program, weather dependent. S'mores will also be available after the presentation, and telescope activities are great for all ages! NOTE: You do not need a telescope to attend.