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. Lectures that are designated as teacher-friendly indicate that there will be classroom resources available for teachers at the lecture.

Lecture Series


Lecture Schedule:

Monday, Feb 16 | 6:30 - 8:00 p.m. | 8:00 - 9:00 p.m. Optional Hike

Owl Hoot Sarah Gainey, 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!

Tuesday, Mar 17 | 6:30 - 8:00 p.m.

Shoreline Restoration, Greg Berg, Stearns Co. Soil & Water Conservation District

Why are natural shorelines with native vegetation important? What is the value of restored shorelines to fish, wildlife and water quality? What tools, resources and funding are available to help design and implement your project? Walk away from this lecture knowing why to conduct a shoreline restoration and the things to consider when implementing a shoreline restoration.

Monday, Apr 20 | 6:30 - 8:00 p.m.

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

This lecture is a general introduction to hibernation with a broad survey of animals that undergo multi-day torpor and the basic physiological changes that take place. What are the challenges hibernators face and how do they overcome them (muscle atrophy, bone loss, kidney failure)? How might we be able to apply some of these principles in a clinical setting for human benefit? Read an article on this topic in Sagatagan Seasons!

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

Previous Lecture Topics:

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.
  • Monthly, Sept-Nov & Feb-Apr
  • Meet at the pendulum in the New Science Center at Saint John's unless otherwise noted
  • During the fall season, some of our lectures may be outside! Check the event description for more info!
  • Free - Saint John's Outdoor University Members
  • Free - Students of all ages
  • Free - Teachers who currently bring students on field trips
  • $5 - Nonmembers/ Nonstudents