FWCB Field Classes

All FWCB students complete two field classes as part of their degree requirements. During these classes, students are immersed in the study of Minnesota's flora and fauna in both aquatic and terrestrial settings. Your path through the curriculum will be most successful if you take these classes during sophomore or junior year. The classes help you develop critical field skills that are used through the remainder of your undergraduate experience.

FW 3106 Vegetation Sampling for Habitat Assessments is a 1 credit class. FW 3108 Field Methods in Research and Conservation of Vertebrate Populations is 3 credits. These classes are offered in tandem and you must register for both at the same time. The pair of courses is offered during both fall and spring semesters.

The two options—Fall or Spring—for taking the field course series (FW3106, FW3108) are slightly different.

  1. The Fall option begins with both courses being held at Itasca Field Station during the last week of August and continues through the fall semester as typical courses on the Saint Paul campus (FW3106 - 7 weeks, FW 3108 - 14 weeks). The course fees for this option are approximately $700 including the food and lodging at the Itasca Field Station. However, for Fall 2021, the initial week will be based out of the Saint Paul Campus because of concerns with COVID-19 and the course fee will be approximately $200.

  2. The Spring option is based entirely out of the Saint Paul campus. FW 3108 meets weekly and begins in January, while FW 3106 meets weekly and begins after Spring Break. Both courses then continue for the entire week after finals week and this week is based out of the St. Paul campus as well. The course fee for this option is approximately $200.

Course Descriptions

(Information on logistics provided in info-sessions during the preceding semester)

FW 3106

Vegetation sampling for habitat assessment (1 cr. Fall, Spring, must be taken concurrently with FW 3108)

Common vegetation sampling methods used for habitat assessments. Identify approximately 75 vascular plant species typical of Minnesota terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems using taxonomic keys and readily observable traits. Importance of plants for providing food, cover, and nesting habitat.

FW 3108

Field Methods in Research and Conservation of Vertebrate Populations (3 cr, Fall, Spring, must be taken concurrently with FW 3106).

The goal of this course is to help students develop skills and confidence in planning and implementing effective field research. The topics we will cover include species identification, basic statistical analysis, aquatic ecological assessments, and wildlife research. 1. Students in the course will gain experience in planning and conducting field-based research projects and will be introduced to a variety of techniques used in assessing and/or monitoring terrestrial and aquatic wildlife populations. 2. Students will learn to (a) identify common terrestrial and aquatic vertebrate species in Minnesota, (b) design, plan and conduct field-based research, (c) collect, analyze, and interpret field data including telemetry, bird point counts, amphibian surveys, and trap-grid and remote-camera data, (d) put data findings into a context of management implications and decisions, and (e) communicate findings in written formats.