With your help, we’ve protected 326 acres of Bog for future generations of birds and birders!

Upcoming Events

Field Trips & Programs Summer 2017

The Friends of Sax-Zim Bog is continuing to build and offer diverse programming for all of the seasons! The spring and summer listings include a mix of public programs, field trips, naturalist hikes, and workshops!  All of programs are FREE. All of the field trips are FREE for members who have donated over $20 in the last year. If you are not a member, the $20 Field Trip fee includes a membership and 12-months of free field trips. If you have any questions about any of the programs, field trips, naturalist hikes, or workshops, and to RSVP, please contact Head Naturalist Clinton Nienhaus via email at naturalist@saxzim.org.

Naturalist programs are new for the FOSZB, funded in part by grants by the Lloyd K. Johnson Foundation and the Carl and Verna Schmidt Foundation.



Saturday July 22

Bog to Ridge BioBlitz V

9 am- 3:00pm Meeting at the Welcome Center (BIRD trip leaves at 6:00 am and returns to Welcome Center so folks can join another field trip)

Join experienced naturalists in the field as you explore scattered areas around the Sax-Zim Bog.

BioBlitzes have been a trademark event for the Friends of Sax-Zim Bog and this year will be different than most as we will be partnering with Hawk Ridge Bird Observatory and competing to see who can find the most species between two different sites: The Sax-Zim Bog and the Hawk Ridge Nature Preserve! This two day event will allow the avid naturalist and outdoor enthusiast to explore familiar sites with greater detail. Join experts on topics as diverse as spiders and lichens, to wildflowers and birds! A compilation for Day 1 will occur on the 22nd with Day 2’s compilation to come later.

To prepare for field trips, bring footwear and gear that will most closely follow your ideal trip! For example, if you are planning on attending the fishes and aquatic plants field trip, plan on getting wet! Rubber boots, hiking boots, or old shoes make good footwear choices for the day! Also prepare for bugs, sun, and to bring a lunch. Water and snacks will be provided before and after trips.

Field Trip Schedule

6:00 am- 9:00 am: Bird Field Trip [We will return to Welcome Center so folks can join other 9am field trips…Sparky will then lead a birds and insects field trip from 9am to 2pm field trip]

9:00 am- 2:00 pm: Bog Blitz Field Trips

BUTTERFLIES & LADYBUGS (Jerry McCormick), DRAGONFLIES (Jim Lind, Dave Grosshuesch), WILDFLOWERS (shrubs, sedges, etc) with Kelly Beaster, GRAVEL PIT EXPLORATION (tiger beetles, plants, spiders etc), BIRDS (Sparky from 6am-9am), INSECTS with UMD professor Dr. Tim Craig, FISHES with Head Naturalist Clinton Nienhaus. Larry Weber will join us for the compilation with his spider finds.

We will then all meet back at the Welcome Center around 2:30 to share our finds. Each leader will give a synopsis of what they found and even bring some specimens back.

Leaders include Jerry McCormack, Dr. Tim Craig, Clinton Nienhaus, Sparky Stensaas, Jim Lind, Dave Grosshuesch, Kelly Beaster, Bill Tefft, David Bixler and more. Larry Weber will join us for the compilation with his spider finds.

Be sure to pack a lunch, water, bug dope, sunscreen, rubber boots, hat.

POP and GRANOLA BARS will be for sale at Welcome Center

This is always a popular event…You will learn an amazing amount in a short time. No need to RSVP…just show up. See you Saturday July 22!

–Field Trips

  • Insects
  • Plants
  • Butterflies
  • Dragonflies and Damselflies
  • Fishes and Aquatic Plants
  • Gravel Pit Exploration

2:30-3:30 pm: Species Compilation and Specimen Viewing


Sunday July 23

Ridge BioBlitz 

9:00 am- 1:00 pm Meeting at the Hawk Ridge Overlook

For the second year, there will be a BioBlitz at Hawk Ridge Nature Reserve in order to highlight a weekend of biodiversity in northern Minnesota! Hawk Ridge Nature Reserve is a well known location for bird migration in the fall season,  but much of the diversity that can be found at the Nature Reserve never leaves! Last year, we found interesting lichens, Boreal Long-lipped Tiger Beetle, Diamond Spider, and Ragged-fringed Orchid. This year, we hope to add to the diversity that can be found in Hawk Ridge Nature Reserve!

To prepare for the field trips at Hawk Ridge Nature Reserve, plan on traversing uneven terrain, with some wet conditions persisting. Much of the trail hiking done at Hawk Ridge Nature Reserve is uneven, but each trail is different. Plan on bringing a lunch to this event as well!

Field Trip Schedule

9:00 am- 1:00 pm: Ridge Blitz Field Trips

–Field Trips

  • Spiders
  • Non-native Plants
  • Birds
  • General Species Hike

1:30-2:00 pm: Species Compilation and Specimen Viewing


Saturday, August 5


Early Registration: $80 (All participants will receive a FREE copy of Kurt Mead’s Dragonflies of the North Woods: 3rd Edition!…and expert instruction from some of the top dragonfly folks in Minnesota)

Registration after July 20: $90

Registration now open on our website store!

9am to 5pm. August 5, 2017

Meet at the Friends of Sax-Zim Bog Welcome Center north of Meadowlands, MN (directions here)

Bring: Water, bag lunch and snacks (no food available anywhere close), bug dope, hat, sunscreen, rubber boots!! (mandatory…unless you want to “wet foot” it), camera, butterfly net (not necessary and we will have some for you to use), binoculars (absolutely!) and a sense of curiosity!

This adventure-filled Workshop will introduce you to the hidden world of our northern dragonflies and damselflies. Experts from the Minnesota Dragonfly Society will guide you to several spots in the world-famous Sax-Zim Bog to see and capture some rarely seen boreal species (all will be released back into the wild). At this time of year there are many of the big species of darners flying….and also an abundance of the small but colorful meadowhawks. Other skimmers and emeralds may also be seen. This is a hands-on experience so please come ready for several hours in the field (rubber boots, hat, bug dope, sunscreen). We will also scoop for nymphs and you will learn the basics of identifying them to family…and learn about their fascinating life history. Back at the Welcome Center we’ll take an up close look at our finds.

Meet at Welcome Center by 8:45 am.
9:00-9:15 am- Introduction and Welcome
Welcome info about Friends of Sax-Zim Bog and intro to the work of the Minnesota Dragonfly Society
Overview of the plan for the day
9:15-9:45 am- Nymphs and their Identification
We’ll learn the fascinating basics of the dragonfly/damselfly life cycle.
Examine some aquatic nymphs and learn basics on identifying them to family
9:45 am- 12:00 pm- Field Session #1: St. Louis River, Stone Lake Road, etc (TBD)
During this session, we will confirm what we just learned about basic dragonfly and damselfly ID and anatomy by catching some adults. We’ll point out tips on quickly placing the dragonfly to family. There will also be a focus on nymphs and we’ll scoop some out of the water bottom.
12:00-12:45 pm- Lunch and Common Green Darner talk by Ami Thompson
Ami has been studying the phenology of our only true migrant dragonfly—the Common Green Darner. It is one of our most common dragonflies, one of our largest, and also one of the most amazing critters in the North Woods.
1:00-4:00 pm- Field Session #2: Toivola Swamp—Catch odes and nymphs!
Take a journey into one of the more remote parts of the Sax-Zim Bog…the Toivola Swamp. Fortunately an old railroad grade bisects this amazing place and we’ll only have to walk a quarter mile or so. Hopefully we will be able to target Black Meadowhawk, Zigzag Darner, and Subarctic Darners here. Maybe some rare Emeralds too??
4:15- 5:00 pm- Wrap up at Welcome Center.

Saturday, August 12

WORKSHOP: LICHENS & FERNS with Joe Walewski 

Cost: $80 preregistration; $90 after August 1 (All participants will receive 1 FREE copy of one of Joe’s books…either Ferns or Lichens…and expert instruction from one of the top field naturalists in Minnesota)

Registration now open on our website store!…LIMITED TO 30 PARTICIPANTS

9am to 4pm. August 12, 2017

Meet at the Friends of Sax-Zim Bog Welcome Center north of Meadowlands, MN (directions here)

Joe Walewski, author of Ferns of the North Woods and Lichens of the North Woods, will lead this all day workshop on Sax-Zim’s often ignored organisms…the lichens and ferns. Spend the day learning about the lives of these fascinating groups. You’ll go in the field to learn identification tips and tricks, and closely inspect our varied species at a variety of locations. We’ll also bring specimens back to the Welcome Center to examine them under a microscope. Joe’s books will be available for purchase!

Car pooling.

Joe will also have both his books for sale.

Bring your own lunch, water, drinks, hat, rubber boots, sunscreen, bug dope. There will be off-trail walking in wet conditions. More details coming!

ABOUT THE INSTRUCTOR: Joe Walewski is the Director of Naturalist Training at Wolf Ridge Environmental Learning Center in Finland, Minnesota. He earned a B.S. in Fisheries and Wildlife Biology from Iowa State University and an M.Ed. in Environmental Education from the University of Minnesota – Duluth.
Every year he works with future leaders of environmental education. He challenges them to pay close attention to the natural world around them and to critically examine how they share meaningful stories with their students. They reciprocate the challenge and help him to see, experience, and learn about more new things every day.
When away from work, Joe finds plenty to do helping his wife, Lori, in the garden and banding birds (especially hummingbirds). He thoroughly enjoys rambling and exploring life with his daughter Jenny. Joe continually strives to reduce his ecological footprint. In an effort to reduce his contribution of global warming gasses, Joe commutes to work by foot, bike or ski at least fifty percent of the time.

Joe is the author of both Ferns of the North Woods and Lichens of the North Woods.

Sunday, August 13

Fall Migration Field Trip

8:00- 12:00 pm Meet at the Welcome Center

By early to mid-August many of the breeding species in the Sax-Zim Bog are ready to head back south for the winter. Many of our warblers have now changed to their drab fall plumage, shorebirds may be stopping through the agriculture fields on their way to South America, and many waterfowl have begun to collect and ready themselves for a long trip south. This field trip will look for migrant species that can be found in the Sax-Zim Bog and may not nest in the bog exclusively.

Saturday and Sunday, August 26-27

Fall Migration Workshop


Directions to Welcome Center on Owl Avenue

**Open mid December to mid March from 10am-3pm daily

**Also marked on our birding map

Directions from Cotton, MN on US53…

*Go West from Cotton on CR52/Arkola for 11 miles

*Turn South (left) on Owl Avenue

*Go 1.75 miles (second curve) to Welcome Center


Directions from Meadowlands, on CR133…

*Go West on CR133 to CR229/29

*Turn North (left) on CR229/29

*Go North to T at Correction Line Rd

*Turn West (left) on Correction Line Rd

*Road curves North and becomes Owl Ave

*Go North on Owl Avenue for 2.5 miles to Welcome Center



Naturalist programs are new for the FOSZB, funded in part by grants by the Lloyd K. Johnson Foundation and the Carl and Verna Schmidt Foundation. Public programs are free to attend, but donations are always welcome! All field trips are free for members who have donated $20 in the last year. Membership is $20 and includes free entry to any field trip in a 12 month period! If you have any questions about any of the programs, please contact Head Naturalist Clinton Nienhaus via email at naturalist@saxzim.org.

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