Summer Field Session

All FWCB students complete the three-week Summer Field Session as part of their degree requirements. Every year, a field session is held in August; in "even years", a session is also held in May. During the sessions, students are immersed in the study of Minnesota's flora and fauna in both aquatic and terrestrial settings. The field session is taken prior to the third year of a student's undergraduate program. Critical field skills developed during this summer session are used through the remainder of the undergraduate experience.

The summer field session will be held in May and August in 2016. Registration for these sessions will occur during spring semester. The first session will be held May 15-June 4; class will meet on Memorial Day. The second session will be held from August 14-September 3. For the May session, please register for Section 001 of FW 3106 & FW 3108. For the August session, register for Section 002 of FW 3106 & FW 3108.

In the May session, students spend a week each in Itasca State Park, Whitewater State Park, and around the UMN Crookston campus. Students in the August session spend the first half of the course at the Cloquet Forestry Center and the second half at the Itasca Biological Station.

Course Details

Audience

This program is a requirement in the Fisheries and Wildlife curriculum. Only students majoring in Fisheries, Wildlife, and Conservation Biology may register for these courses.

Prerequisites

Sophomore standing in the FW major or instructor consent.

Courses

FW 3106: Vegetation Sampling for Habitat Assessments (1cr) 

Instructors (May): Julia Bohnen
Instructors (August): Jason Husveth & Scott Zager

Course Description: Students are introduced to common vegetation sampling methods used for habitat assessments. Students learn to identify approximately 75 vascular plant species typical of Minnesota terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems using taxonomic keys and readily observable traits. The importance of these plants for providing food, cover, and nesting is also covered.

FW 3108: Field Methods in Research and Conservation of Vertebrate Populations (3 cr)

Lead Instructor (May): Dawn Tanner
Lead Instructors (August): James Forester & Ray Newman

Course Description: Planning and implementation of research and management projects, collecting and analyzing data in groups, group and individual oral and written reports; each student keeps a field journal.

Dates

(May): May 15-June 4; class will meet on Memorial Day
(August): August 14-September 3

Specific schedule, logistics, and course announcements will be made during spring semester.

Locations Itasca Biological Station | Crookston, MN | Cloquet Forestry Center | Whitewater State Park
Handbooks

May Field Session Handbook (.pdf)

August Field Session Handbook (.pdf)

Course Costs

The Summer Field Session costs are tuition (4 credits) in addition to fees covering transportation, food, lodging, & supplies. Scholarships are available –apply by March 1.

  • 2016 Course fee with own health insurance: $964
  • 2016 Course fee w/o own health insurance: $1539

Course Supplies (Required)

Personal needs

  • Pillow cases, bed linen and blankets must be furnished by students; pillows and mattresses are provided at the station
  • Field clothes adequate for protection against cold and rain, as well as any other clothing deemed necessary for a 3.5-week field course
    • Waterproof hat, jacket, pants, and waterproofed boots are an absolute necessity because field work is carried out regardless of the weather.
  • Toiletries - including insect repellent and sunscreen
  • Any medications including kits for insect stings, bee stings, etc.

FW 3106 - Vegetation Sampling for Habitat Assessments

  • Hand lens -- Doublet 10x
  • Pocket knife or similar sharp tool
  • 3x5-inch ruled index cards, one or two packages of 100 each
  • Boots, water-proofed to the ankle for bog and wet area walks.
  • Clipboard
  • Protractor
  • Field notebook
  • Compass
  • Digital camera or phone with camera - strongly recommended
  • Recommended: one or more plant/wildflower field guide, such as:Newcomb's Wildflower Guide. Newcomb 1989.
    • Wetland Plants of Minnesota: a complete guide to the wetland and aquatic plants of the North Star State. Chadde 2012.
    • Wildflowers of Minnesota. Tekiela 1999.
    • Trees of Minnesota. Tekiela 2002.

FW 3108 -- Field Methods in Research and Conservation of Vertebrate Populations

  • Rain suit
  • Chest waders (must be nonbreathable)
  • One orange Elan E64-8x4 inch field notebook
  • One Silva or Suunto mirror-sighting compass
  • Binoculars (highly recommended)
  • Digital camera (optional)
  • Fish, mammal, and bird field guides (optional)
  • GPS (optional)

Student Health

Both sessions of the Summer Field Session involve sustained physical activity. A medical examination prior to the session is advised. Students who are required to complete the field session, but will not be able to do so due to medical reasons, should contact Dr. Susan Galatowitsch (612-624-3242) Department Head, Fisheries, Wildlife, and Conservation Biology.

Immunization clearance is not required for the session; however, students attending the session should have had a tetanus booster vaccination within the last five years.

No medications will be stocked during either session. If you are susceptible to allergic reactions to pollen, insect bites, stings, etc. be sure to bring your own medication.

Lyme disease, a tick-borne illness, is present in northern Minnesota. Students should take precautions to avoid contracting the disease as well as understand symptoms of infection. Most Lyme infections come from nymphal and adult deer ticks. Nymphs are about the size of a poppy seed. Students should dress appropriately to limit tick access to skin, use insect repellent in the field, and conduct regular "tick checks" when changing clothes or bathing. Early symptoms may involve fever, headaches, and fatigue. In addition, a circular rash often (but not always) develops at the site of the tick bite. Lyme disease is easily treated with antibiotics but left untreated can cause serious, long-term, and irreversible health problems (joints, heart, central nervous system).

Additional references are:

2016 May Summer Field Session

2016 May field session - FWCB, Univ of MN

Video by Trurisa Pathoumthong

2015 Summer Field Session

FWCB Cloquet

Video by Peter Xiong