Minnesota Phenology Network: Sat, Oct 13

posted Oct 9, 2018, 10:28 AM by Jonathan Poppele   [ updated Oct 9, 2018, 10:28 AM ]

Fall is creeping into the forests, fields and gardens and is filling the calendars of phenology lovers all across Minnesota. Soon enough the first frost, peak fall color, and the 9th Annual Minnesota Phenology Network conference will be upon us. 

Join phenologists from across the State the weekend of October 12th through the 14th, 2018 at the at the Cedar Creek Ecosystem Science Reserve, East Bethel, MN for a wonderful gathering of naturalists, educators, researchers, and phenology enthusiasts from all walks of life.

Jonathan Poppele, co-founder of the Cedar Creek Wildlife Survey, will offer a workshop on Animal Tracking and the Cedar Creek Wildlife Survey on Saturday, Oct 13.

Get more details about the whole conference and register online here.

Bird Language at St. Paul Audubon, Mar 8

posted Feb 15, 2018, 1:41 PM by The Center for Mind-Body Oneness   [ updated Feb 15, 2018, 1:42 PM ]

I will be presenting a program on bird language to the St. Paul Audubon Society at their March meeting.

Thursday, March 8
6:45 pm - 8:30 pm

Fairview Community Center
1910 W. County Road B
Roseville, MN 55113

St. Paul Audubon meetings are free and open to the public. Get more information here

Animal Tracking Workshop at Silverwood Park: Feb 22

posted Feb 15, 2018, 1:35 PM by The Center for Mind-Body Oneness   [ updated Feb 15, 2018, 1:36 PM ]

Silverwood Park Visitors Center 
2500 County Rd E 
St Anthony, MN 55421

Thursday, February 22, 2018
5:00 - 7:00pm 

Get a glimpse into the secret lives of the animals who live around us. Though many animals keep out of sight, they leave behind their tracks for us to read. The snow-covered landscape of Minnesota winters is the perfect time to explore the tracks that appear in our neighborhoods. Come experience the winter landscape through the eyes of a tracker with Jonathan Poppele—local nature guidebook author, certified tracker and founder of the Minnesota Wildlife Tracking Project. This program will include significant time outdoors. Please come prepared to get close to the ground in whatever weather we have that evening. 

This event is hosted by Silverwood Park in partnership with Backyard Phenology

For more information, or to register, click here 

Winter Wildlife Tracking in the Field, Mar 24

posted Nov 30, 2017, 1:26 PM by Jonathan Poppele   [ updated Nov 30, 2017, 1:29 PM ]

Join me for a day-long wildlife tracking workshop at North House Folk School

Saturday, March 24, 2018
North House Folk School
Grand Marais, MN

Wildlife tracking may be the most ancient of all sciences. Tracking is the study and interpretation of the footprints and other signs left behind by animals as they go about their lives. Tracking begins with identifying the animal that left the tracks and signs behind for us to see. Over time, it grows into an intimate understanding of the lives of those animals. All our distant ancestors knew how to read the tracks and sign of passing animals. For them, it was a matter of survival. For us, tracking is a way to learn about our local ecology and to connect more deeply with the natural world around us. This class will introduce you to the fundamentals of this ancient art, and give you a foundation for continuing your own exploration of animal tracks.

In this class, you will: learn the fundamentals of identifying animal tracks and trail patterns in the snow; work in small groups to build a collective knowledge and understanding of the natural world; and begin to build a connection to the northern landscape by literally waking in the footsteps of other animals.

Get more information and register

Bird Langauge at Springbrook Nature Center, Dec 2

posted Nov 30, 2017, 1:23 PM by Jonathan Poppele   [ updated Nov 30, 2017, 2:11 PM ]

hawkI am honored to present on Bird Language for the December Springbrook Nature Center Discovery Dinner. 

Saturday, December 2
5:30p - 8:00p   
Springbrook Nature Center 
100 85th Ave NW, Fridley, MN 55432

Springbrook Discovery Dinners pair lively educational programs with a catered meal for the perfect night out. Leave the kids at home and enjoy the night with friends or a date. Registration is required and space is limited. Call Springbrook at 763-572-3588 to sign up or for more details. Tickets are $25 each or $22.50 each when purchasing multiples.

Winter Animal Tracking at North House Winterer's Gathering, Nov 17

posted Nov 14, 2017, 12:43 PM by Jonathan Poppele   [ updated Nov 14, 2017, 12:43 PM ]

Celebrate the crafts, customs, landscape, history and stories of winter travel and traditional life ways in the North. Featuring winter-centric coursework, a winter tent camp, gear swap, dancing, film festival, speakers, this is a classic event to welcome the season of snow. Jonathan Poppele will share about Winter Animal Tracking, discussing how we can use track and sign to peer into the secret lives of the animals living around us.

November 17 - 19, 2017
North House Folk School
Grand Marais, MN

Jonathan's Talk
Friday, November 17, 1:00pm

Get more details

Bird Language Weekend: Sep 9-11

posted Jul 14, 2016, 8:40 AM by Jonathan Poppele   [ updated Jul 14, 2016, 8:40 AM ]

Please join me for a special Bird Language Weekend

Friday, September 9, 5:00 pm through
Sunday, September 11, 12:00 noon

Audubon Center of the North Woods
54165 Audubon Road
Sandstone, MN 55072

Experience Life Through the Eyes of the Birds

Birds and animals share a common language. Their calls and alarms help them stay safe from danger. We can learn to understand this language. In fact, we are “hard-wired” to learn this, as countless generations of our ancestors depended on this ancient skill to survive, around the world. Largely forgotten by modern peoples, this understanding is sorely needed at this time of cultural upheaval and natureʼs shifting patterns.

During this weekend-long program, you will be immersed in a community of nature connection mentors and learners. Through exercises, instruction, games and lots of time sitting in the woods, the community setting amplifies each individual’s learning journey. Together as a group we will begin to uncover unique patterns of the local  birds and animals, and what they are telling us through their behavior and language. There are a limited number of spots available for this special program. Please join us!

Click Here to Register

The Program

This program follows the principles of Bird Language shared by Jon Young in his book, What the Robin Knows: How Birds Reveal the Secrets of the Natural World. Our team of facilitators combine decades of experience in birding, wildlife tracking, group facilitation, and nature connection mentoring. We are one of the groups piloting Jon Young's Bird Language Leaders program and have been running bird language programs across the state for the past two years. Lead facilitator Jonathan Poppele has trained with Jon Young since 1998 and is the Minnesota coordinator for Bird Language Leaders. The weekend will include instruction, exercises, storytelling, games, and lots of time sitting quietly in the woods observing and connecting with nature.

The Facility

The Audubon Center of the North Woods is a residential environmental learning center and retreat center located on the shores of Grindstone Lake near Sandstone, MN, 90 miles north of Minneapolis/St. Paul. The center's mission is to instill a connection and commitment to the environment in people of all communities through experiential learning.

We encourage carpooling and can help to coordinate rides from the Twin Cities, including MSP Airport. Please contact us if you would like to share a ride.


Our program will be hosted in Schwyzer Lodge, the Center's beautiful, historic lakeside house. Schwyzer Lodge offers bunk beds. There are no private bedrooms. We expect to fill all of the upper and lower bunks during the weekend. Please contact us if you need lower bunk accommodations. You can rent linens for $10, or bring your own sleeping bag. Take a peek at Schwyzer Lodge here.

We will eat all of our meals in the Audubon Center's main dining hall. Meals begin with dinner on Friday and end with lunch on Sunday.
Schwyzer Lodge also has a full kitchen which you are free to use during the weekend.


Basic Price: $250 (includes the full weekend program, on-site lodging and all meals)
Scholarship Price: $150 (discounted price for students, seniors, part time naturalists and others on limited incomes)

Contact us:

If you have any questions about the program, here is how you can reach us:
If you have questions about the facility, please contact the Audubon Center of the North Woods.

For a map & directions click here

Audubon Center of the North Woods

Animal Tracking Class at River Bend Nature Center

posted Jul 14, 2016, 8:37 AM by Jonathan Poppele   [ updated Jul 14, 2016, 8:37 AM ]

Tracking 101River Bend Nature Center will host Twin Cities wildlife tracker Jonathan Poppele of the Minnesota Wildlife Tracking Project for a one-day introduction to the fundamentals of animal tracking. Our ancesors learned to read the tracks and signs of the animals living around them in order to eat, understand their world, and to survive. Course participants will learn the theory and practice of tracking as a way to be more deeply connected with the natural world.

Tracking begins with finding tracks and other clues left by animals in the wild and using them to deduce the identities of that wildlife; as trackers gain experience, tracking leads to a deeper understanding of the lives and behaviors of those animals. Dress to be comfortable inside (presentations and lecture) and outside on and off the trail. Bring your own lunch. You may also wish to bring a notebook and writing utensil, a small ruler (6" plastic rulers work well), a measuring tape, and a camera.

Registration is required for this one day event. Register online here.

Cedar Creek Wildlife Survey

posted Jul 14, 2016, 8:34 AM by Jonathan Poppele   [ updated Jul 14, 2016, 8:34 AM ]

Jonathan Poppele is helping launch a new Citizen Science project:

The Cedar Creek Wildlife Survey!

The Cedar Creek Wildlife Survey is a joint venture between the Jonathan Poppele's Minnesota Wildlife Tracking Project and the University of Minnesota's Cedar Creek Ecosystem Science Reserve. It is a unique opportunity to improve your tracking skills, connect with nature, and help Cedar Creek scientists learn about the wildlife living on their property.

Cedar Creek Ecosystem Science Reserve is a 5,400 acre experimental ecological reserve operated by the University of Minnesota. It is located about 35 miles north of Minneapolis and St. Paul, just east of Bethel.

Cedar Creek lies at the boundary between prairie and forest. It is a mosaic of uplands dominated by oak savanna, prairie, hardwood forest, pine forests, and abandoned agricultural fields and of lowlands comprised of ash and cedar swamps, acid bogs, marshes, and sedge meadows. The area was first set aside in the early 1940s to be kept in its natural condition for scientific and educational purposes. Much of the land remains pristine, and has never been developed for agriculture. You can learn more at

Great Tracking

The diverse, pristine habitat supports a wide variety of mammals. Species seen on the property over the Reserve's 75 year history include white-tailed jackrabbits, badger, fisher, fox squirrels, porcupine & spotted skunks. Reserve staff and scientists are looking for our help to update their index of mammals. If you are a beginner, the surveys will offer an overview of the diversity of Minnesota Mammals. For the advanced tracker, you can try your hand at distinguishing fisher from otter; fox squirrel from grey squirrel; and a variety of tiny mammal tracks.

The property includes 25 miles of sand roads, which catch tracks beautifully. The roads will be grated shortly before our surveys, offering optimal tracking conditions for us to locate and identify a rich diversity of species.

Public access to the Reserve is limited. The Cedar Creek Wildlife Survey program offers you the rare opportunity to explore this exceptional landscape.

Free Training, Saturday, July 23

The program kicks off with a free training and orientation led by Jonathan Poppele, members of the Minnesota Wildlife Tracking Project, and Cedar Creek staff.

Saturday, July 23
9:00am - 4:00pm
(Lunch provided)

Cedar Creek Ecosystem Science Reserve
2660 Fawn Lake Dr NE
Bethel, Minnesota 55005
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If you are new to wildlife tracking surveys, want to brush up on tracking basics, or just want a chance to do some tracking at Cedar Creek, please join us. The training is free, but registration is required. To register for the event:

First Survey, Sunday, August 7

Our Summer Survey will take place two weeks after the training session. We will head out in teams to survey sand road transects for animal tracks, then come back in to share our discoveries with one another. Each team will be led by an experienced wildlife tracker, certified in Track & Sign identification.

Sunday, August 7
9:00am - 4:00pm

If you cannot attend the training on July 23, but still want to participate in the survey, let us know. We will do our best to accommodate everyone who wants to take part. To sign up for the survey:

For a map & directions to Cedar Creek Ecosystem Science Reserve, click here

Cedar Creek Ecosystem Science Reserve

Outdoor Adventure Expo, April 23

posted Feb 2, 2016, 2:28 PM by The Center for Mind-Body Oneness   [ updated Feb 2, 2016, 2:30 PM by Jonathan Poppele ]

I will offer two presentations at this spring's Outdoor Adventure Expo.  I hope you can join me. Link to the Expo website here.

Saturday,  April 23, 9:15a.m.
U of M – Hanson Hall, Room 109
When we venture into the wilderness, the phases of the moon dominate the hours between evening and morning twilight. Today, most of us live in communities that are brightly lit 24 hours a day.  We may not even notice the changing face of our nearest celestial neighbor as we go about our evening or nighttime activities.  Away from the artificial lights, we reconnect with the natural rhythms that our ancestors lived by. Come learn about the phases of the moon, and how they affect our time in the wilderness, including tips for stargazers, campers, and outdoors people of all stripes.

Bird Language: Understanding the Universal Language of Nature
Saturday, April 23, 1:00p.m.
U of M – Hanson Hall, Room 107
Birds talk to each other, we can learn to understand it, and it's fun. Birds are the alarm system of the forest, broadcasting the whereabouts of hawks, owls, foxes and more through their calls and postures. Learning bird language allows us to see more wildlife and feel more connected to the natural world. This presentation will give you the fundamental tools for interpreting bird language to enhance your own birding and nature experiences, plus information about local bird language programs and gatherings.

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