University of Minnesota
University of Minnesota
College of Biological Sciences

Cedar Creek Ecosystem Science Reserve

Cedar Creek Ecosystem Science Reserve

BioCON Experiment

Cedar Creek Ecosystem Science Reserve is a University of Minnesota biological field station with many ecosystems and species found throughout the forests and grasslands of North America. Faculty, staff and students who work at Cedar Creek are dedicated to understanding how human activities, such as agriculture and fossil fuel combustion, are changing ecosystems. 
Many of the experiments at Cedar Creek consider the long-term consequences of human-driven environmental changes. These include ecosystem responses to:
  • Biodiversity loss
  • Nitrogen deposition
  • Elevated carbon dioxide
  • Warming and changes in precipitation
  • Exotic species invasions

Cedar Creek is part of the College of Biological Sciences and a member of the Long Term Ecological Network.



Ski in to see woodpeckers!

Red-headed woodpecker on snowy branchCedar Creek's red-headed woodpeckers seem to be overwintering this winter! You may have read about this special and charismatic species in recent Star Tribune articles - now is a wonderful (if somewhat chilly) time to pay them a visit. They do not always stay in Minnesota for the winter, and we are researching why they choose to stay or go. With more than 100 individuals onsite this winter, your chances of spotting them are good! The birds are most easily seen from the Fish Lake Nature Trails and the ungroomed ski trails that extend south from the normal hiking trail. In the winter, you may find them cracking open cached acorns, flying from perch to roost trees, or exploring their territories. Flickers, bald eagles, trumpeter swans and many other birds can also be seen from the trail this time of year! Please keep in mind that the trail begins from Durant St and NOT Cedar Creek's headquarters building - directions and a map are at the link above. Please also remember that Cedar Creek is an active research station rather than a nature center. Dogs are not allowed, amenities are minimal, and the trails are not groomed. We ask that you stick to the established trail system and obey all posted signage. Our natural landscapes are part of the reason why so many birds call the reserve home! Thanks for your help in keeping them that way. (Photo by Siah St. Clair)