Minnesota Master Naturalist

Course Registration

PP - Cowling Arboretum, Carleton College, Northfield

Cowling Arboretum, Carleton College, Northfield website

710 Three Oaks Drive
Northfield, MN 55057

Join us to discover the Prairies and Potholes biome at the beautiful Cowling Arboretum at Carleton College in Northfield, Minnesota. Learn about the physical landscape, plants, animals and history of the biome, while exploring the Arboretum’s unique and wonderfully diverse 800 acre site which includes restored prairies and oak savanna, upland and floodplain forests, marshes and the Cannon River.

Gain valuable knowledge and a deeper appreciation about the intricate interplay between the prairie landscape and the plant and animal life found there, while learning the tools and techniques to help you share your interest about the natural world with others. And as an added bonus, do all this in the company of people who are just as enthusiastic and curious about this important Minnesota biome as you are!

Guest instructors will expand on the basic curriculum, allowing us to get deeper into selected topics. Each evening will be a mix of classroom and field activities. All participants will contribute to a group capstone service project which will be explained in class.

The course will convene on Tuesday and Thursday evenings from 6:00 pm to 8:30 pm, from June 20th to July 27th. Classes will not be held the week of the Independence Day holiday.

The field trip will be the weekend of July 15th and 16th. Planned site visits include: Blue Mounds State Park, Touch the Sky Prairie Unit of the Northern Tall-grass Prairie National Wildlife Refuge, nearby Scientific and Natural Areas, and Native American Heritage sites in Southwest Minnesota

The instructor team will reserve a group campsite at a nearby State Park. Students who wish to camp will be expected to provide their own camping equipment. Hotels, at the student’s expense, are available in the area if participants prefer not to camp. Whether camping or staying in a hotel, students will be responsible for their meals, transportation and State Park vehicle permit. Carpooling is encouraged.

If the weekend field trip presents mobility obstacles for a participant, alternate learning opportunities can be arranged.

The course cost is $295 and includes course manuals and supplies.

If the course cost is a hardship, please fill out the scholarship application. After the scholarship is fully processed, you will receive a code to be entered in the on-line registration process. Please wait until you receive that code to complete registration.

Course Dates:

Meeting from 6:00 P.M. to 8:30 P.M. on:

Instructor Information

Jim Platt

Jim has been a Master Naturalist since 2018, an instructor since 2019, and has been a member of the instructor team for all three biome courses. Jim spent his career as a Geographic Information Systems Manager, working primarily on large-scale landscape conservation projects, most recently for The Nature Conservancy. An avid student of nature, Jim can usually be recognized as the guy looking up at the weather (and for birds he can hear but not quite see), or down at plants, bugs, ponds, streams and really cool rocks.

Nancy Braker

Nancy Braker (BA Carleton College; MS University of Minnesota - Entomology) is a conservation biologist. As the Director of the Carleton College Cowling Arboretum she oversees all aspects of management of the 800 acre site, and works with faculty, students and outside users on educational and recreational use of the property. Nancy has 20 years of experience working for The Nature Conservancy in land management, conservation planning, and monitoring of rare species populations, specializing in management of fire adapted natural communities.

Sponsor Information

Carleton College Cowling Arboretum

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