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 Series

Lecture Schedule:

All lectures 6:30 - 8:00 p.m. in the New Science Center
unless otherwise noted below.

Feb. 17

15th Annual Owl Hoot, Marco Restani, St. Cloud State University biology

*Lecture 6:30 - 8 p.m.; Option Hike 8 - 9 p.m.

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 in the Abbey Arboretum is also an option!

Mar. 17

Swanning Around Saint John's, Marcus Webster, CSB/SJU biology

Trumpeter swans, the largest of North American waterfowl and one of our most majestic birds, have returned - or perhaps have only just arrived - to the wetlands of the Abbey Arboretum. Once extirpated in MN, reintroduction by the MN DNR and careful management have increased the state population dramatically to more than 5,500 birds in 2010 and likely more today. Since 2010, swans have been sighted in the summer along the Watab, and a pair has nested in the restored wetlands of the Abbey Arboretum. Join us to learn more about identification, natural history, and management of the beautiful Trumpeter swan.

Apr. 21

The Biology of Resurrection, Stephen Saupe, CSB/SJU biology

Some organisms such as yeast, tardigrades, nematodes, and the fairy ring mushroom are capable of being dried and then revived or brought back to life. This amazing ability, called anhydrobiosis, is an adaptation for life in ephemeral environments. Get a brief overview of the topic and end the night looking at the philosophical implications of this phenomenon.


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

Previous Lecture Topics:

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.