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The Lake Itasca Mississippi Headwaters on a sunny day, with the clouds in the sky reflecting on the lake

Science of Craft

Sharpen your observation skills, seek inspiration from nature, and learn the science behind craft.

Pushing back on the digital age and attention economy, folks have been “getting down to Earth” in new ways. Maybe you are someone who has dabbled in woodworking, baking, drawing or writing. You might be someone who has found a new appreciation for spending time outdoors and observing the natural world. No matter your experience level, take it up a notch and learn more deeply about the skills that you are honing. The University of Minnesota’s Itasca Field Station offers a unique twist on a “Folk School” as a place to do crafts alongside scientists who are craftspeople and experts in their field. Come join us in a new type of field station course - the Science of Craft.

Summer 2024 Courses


Register now

General Program Information

Courses are limited to 20 participants. Participants must be 18 or older. All participants will share cabin accommodations with modern facilities at the historic Itasca Field Station. Daily meals will be provided by the Itasca Station Dining Hall. The Science of Craft program is run by Itasca Station staff alongside invited instructors, including University of Minnesota faculty. Please contact with any questions.

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  • July 28 - July 31st, 2024 | Drawn to Nature
  • August 1 -August 4, 2024 | Wild Words


Inclusive of tuition, meals and lodging

  • $530 for a half-week course
  • $1110 for two back-to-back courses*

*Participants who enroll in two courses will have a break day where they will be free to explore Itasca State Park and the surrounding area. Back-to-back course price includes lodging and meals between courses.

Cancellation policy

If you have registered for a course and need to cancel, you may receive a full or partial refund depending on your date of cancellation:

  • 100% refund if cancellation is requested by June 28th, 2024
  • 50% refund if cancellation is requested by July 12th, 2024
  • 0% refund if cancellation is requested after July 12th, 2024


Participants will share rooms in "faculty cabins" at the Itasca Biological Station. Participants may submit roommate and cabinmate requests during their registration. No pets or unregistered guests will be allowed at the station.

Participants will need to bring their own bed linens, pillows, and bath/swim towels. See packing list tab.

IBSL cabins


Meals will be provided on-site by the Itasca Station Dining Hall. Meals are self-served buffet-style. The first meal is dinner on arrival day and the final meal is breakfast on departure day. In addition to climate-controlled indoor seating, there are picnic tables outside, which allow participants to take their meals on the shore of Lake Itasca.

During registration, participants will be able to request dietary accommodations. Our kitchen staff is familiar and experienced with accommodating special dietary needs, and dishes are strictly prepared and labeled for people with food allergies. We provide vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, dairy-free and other dietary options as needed. The kitchen will attempt to accommodate requests, but it may not be possible to prepare separate options to meet requests for every meal.

Itasca food

Packing list

  • Bed linens for a twin-sized bed (or sleeping bag), pillow
  • Bath towel
  • Variety of clothes (for layering)
  • Long pants and socks (for protection from ticks, mosquitoes, and poison ivy)
  • Raingear
  • Walking shoes/hiking boots
  • Swimsuit
  • Sun hat and sunglasses
  • Toiletries and medications
  • Bug spray and sunscreen
  • Day backpack (large enough for water, snacks, course materials)
  • Portable chair
  • Towel or blanket to sit on
  • Binoculars
  • Camera

A course-specific material list will be provided prior to the course start-date.

Recreational opportunities

Because the station is situated within Itasca State Park, there are ample opportunities for outdoor recreation, both on our station campus and in the park, including biking, hiking, fishing, hammocking, swimming, canoeing and kayaking. The station provides canoes and kayaks for general use. There are also bikes and helmets available to check out. There are great paved biking trails in the park. Participants are welcome to bring their own bikes and fishing gear. 

Kayakers on Lake Itasca