With your help, we’ve protected 4,206 acres of Bog for future generations!

Field Trips and Events

2023-2024 Winter Field Trips, Education Programs, and Speakers

We are excited for yet another field trip season in the Sax-Zim Bog! This winter we will continue our Friday Speaker Series in the Lois King Education Center. Field Trips will meet at the Friends of Sax-Zim Bog Welcome Center in the Lois King Education Center unless otherwise noted. NOTE: There may be updates to the program schedule as field trips and workshops get confirmed and added to the list!

Field trip attendance is free for members (those who have donated $25 or more within the past year). If you are interested in membership, the $25 fee covers membership and free attendance to any field trip or program in a 12 month period! You must register each member of your party separately for each field trip you wish to attend. If you have questions on membership status, please contact Head Naturalist Clinton at naturalist@saxzim.org.

Moving ahead, we will be working to address accessibility challenges and barriers on our field trips. To give everyone better expectations of what to expect on each field trip, we will be including relative activity levels for each field trip this season. The approximate ratings are as follows:

Field Trip Activity Level Ratings

1- Easy (travel over even terrain on roadways/boardwalks or limited hiking up to ½ mile total)

2- Moderate (travel over even or uneven terrain, dry to wet conditions, or hiking over ½ mile total)

3- Average (travel over even or uneven terrain, hiking off trail possible, or hiking up to 1 mile total)

4- Difficult (travel primarily over uneven terrain, wet conditions, or hiking over 1 mile total)

5-Strenuous (mostly off trail with travel primarily over uneven and wet terrain or hiking up to 2 miles)

If you have any questions about any of the field trips listed, field trip registration process, questions about the accessibility of a field trip, or feedback on our activity rating scale please contact Head Naturalist Clinton Dexter-Nienhaus via email at naturalist@saxzim.org.

Friday, February 23

Northern Lights for Newbies

presented by Elizabeth Miller, local Wildlife and Night Sky Photographer

12:00- 1:30 pm Meeting in the Lois King Education Center at the Welcome Center

Activity Rating- 1

“Northern Lights for Newbies” is a very basic introduction to what the northern lights are, how they occur, and how to maximize your chances of catching them. It just so happens that the Sax-Zim Bog is a great place to watch auroras as it has fairly dark night skies, being situated between Duluth and the Iron Range. We get questions every year about watching auroras in the Bog and this talk will help prepare you to see this wonderful phenomenon! Topics covered by this talk will include how to read some of the real time data, and which sources to trust for northern lights information. 

Elizabeth Miller is a retired elementary school teacher and local photographer. She has also done work as a naturalist. Her passions are photographing wildlife and the night sky. Beth began chasing the northern lights with her WWII pilot father before she had even started school. She has been photographing the northern lights since 2013.

*No registration required for this program.*

Saturday, February 24

Tracking and Animal Sign Field Trip

9:00- 1:00pm Meeting in the Lois King Education Center at the Welcome Center

Activity Rating- 2-3

Winter offers a lot of opportunities in our area to find and interpret animal sign! Many mammal species are hard to see in the Sax-Zim Bog, but their sign is all around us. This field trip will work to hone your skills finding, interpreting, and documenting animal tracks and sign. Do you need practice determining if you are looking at a dog or wolf track? What is the difference between Black-backed Woodpecker and Pileated Woodpecker sign? This field trip will hope to answer these questions and more while investigating the roadsides and trails around the Welcome Center and beyond. Snowshoes will be helpful during this field trip, but are not required. If you wish to use a pair from the Welcome Center, please email Head Naturalist Clinton at naturalist@saxzim.org to reserve a pair or two!

Register for this field trip here: Tracking and Animal Sign Field Trip

Sunday, February 25

FOSZB Property Snowshoe Hike: Starflower Bog

9:00- 1:00pm Meeting in the Lois King Education Center at the Welcome Center

Activity Rating- 4

Snowshoes are a great way to continue being active during the winter season and are a great way to explore hard to get to locations in the Bog. Join us for a leisurely hike through the recently purchased Starflower Bog, and learn a little bit about boreal forests and animal sign present during the winter. Snowshoes are required for this field trip and can be borrowed from the Welcome Center by emailing Head Naturalist Clinton at naturalist@saxzim.org to reserve a pair or two.

Register for this field trip here: FOSZB Property Snowshoe Hike: Starflower Bog

Saturday, March 2

Northern Owls Evening Program

Program- 4:00- 5:00pm, with field trip until 8:00 pm

Meeting in the Lois King Education Center at the Welcome Center

Activity Rating- 1-2

Most often, visitors to the Sax-Zim Bog are looking for owls, but do you really know “hoo” owls are? Come and learn a little about some of the owls that can sometimes be found in the Sax-Zim Bog and the surrounding area. Following a short talk, we will caravan looking for some owls at dusk!

Sunday, March 3

Master Naturalist Advanced Training: Owls 101

To register for this course, head over to the Minnesota Master Naturalist website: Owls 101

Thursday, March 7

Winter Webinar Series

Living too close to the edge: An update on the ecology and behavior of Canada Jays in Algonquin Provincial Park

presented by Dr. Ryan Norris, University of Guelph, Department of Integrative Biology

6:30-8:00 pm, Zoom Presentation

In 2017, I was honored to speak about Canada Jays at the Sax-Zim Bog Winter Birding Festival and I am delighted to provide you with an update of what our team has been doing since then. Since 1964, Canada Jays have been closely followed in Algonquin Provincial Park, Ontario, making it one of the longest running avian studies in North America. Unfortunately, we are also witnessing their demise in real-time. In this talk, I will draw on a variety of projects we have undertaken to discuss the year-round ecology of this fascinating and highly intelligent bird, including what factors influence their survival and reproductive success. I will then talk about what might explain the over 70% decline of Canada Jays we have observed in Algonquin Provincial Park and why this long-term study has been so valuable for understanding how animals respond to changing environments.

Ryan Norris is a Professor in the Department of Integrative Biology at the University of Guelph, Ontario, Canada (www.norrislab.ca). He has studied the ecology and behavior of a number of species, including migratory warblers and sparrows, seabirds, and monarch butterflies. He is particularly interested in how events throughout the annual cycle interact to shape fitness and population abundance.

Register for this webinar here: Living too close to the edge: An update on the ecology and behavior of Canada Jays in Algonquin Provincial Park

Friday, March 8

Winter Raptor Surveys in the Sax-Zim Bog

presented by Clinton Dexter-Nienhaus, Head Naturalist, Friends of Sax-Zim Bog

12:00- 1:30 pm Meeting in the Lois King Education Center at the Welcome Center

Activity Rating- 1

This winter, we will be hosting a variety of talks for visitors in the newly constructed Lois King Education Center! These talks will cover a wide variety of topics and will be given by FOSZB Staff or Volunteers. Join us for the final Friday Speaker of the winter season with Head Naturalist Clinton talking about the Winter Raptor Surveys in the Sax-Zim Bog! The Sax-Zim Bog is home to the longest running Winter Raptor Survey (supported by Hawk Migration Association of North America) in Minnesota and has documented some interesting trends in use by our overwintering birds of prey. Stop by over your lunch break from birding and check out this final talk of the winter!

Clinton is the Head Naturalist for the Friends of Sax-Zim Bog, a position that he has held for 9 seasons! A naturalist with a wide range of interests Clinton leads education and outreach in the Sax-Zim Bog and participates in and coordinates a wide range of citizen science endeavors in the Sax-Zim Bog.

*No registration required for this program.

Saturday, March 9

Bird Anatomy and Artifacts

10:00- 2:00 pm Meeting in the Lois King Education Center at the Welcome Center

Activity Rating- 1

Sometimes birds have negative interactions with human-made infrastructure. Those birds often times get found by folks who take them to science museums, collections at Universities, or seek out nature centers to utilize those birds for education purposes. Over the years, we have been able to collect feathers, wings and feet, skulls, nests, and professional mounts from a number of species under our education permit and now have a space to share those items with you all! If you have ever wanted to learn about birds through their feather adaptations or skulls, this program is for you! Our time will be spent in the Lois King Education Center investigating the bird artifacts collection at the Welcome Center.

Register for this field trip here: Bird Anatomy and Artifacts

Sunday, March 10

Late Winter and Early Spring Insects Field Trip

9:00- 1:00pm Meeting in the Lois King Education Center at the Welcome Center

Activity Rating- 2-3

Throughout the winter, there are a number of insects that are active as the winter air warms during bright, sunny days. Spiders, craneflies, caddisflies, and springtails all can be found wander across the surface of the snow, looking for prey or even to breed during the deep winter months. This final field trip of our winter season hopes to explore the later part of winter to see a few of these interesting critters and learn about how in the world these cold-blooded creatures can survive the frigid north.

Register for this field trip here: Late Winter and Early Spring Insects Field Trip

Directions to the Friends of Sax-Zim Bog Welcome Center

ADDRESS: The address is Sax-Zim Bog Welcome Center 8793 Owl Avenue, Toivola, MN 55765

[NOTE: THIS IS NOT A MAILING ADDRESS…but put this address into Google Maps or Apple Maps.]

Directions from Cotton, MN on US HWY 53:

*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 East 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

Newsletter