With your help, we’ve protected 644 acres of Bog for future generations!

Field Trips and Events

2022 Spring, Summer, and Fall Field Trips

We are excited for yet another field trip season in the Sax-Zim Bog! This spring, summer, and fall our field trips will have increased registrations and will no longer require masks. Please feel free to mask to your comfort level on each field trip you attend. Carpooling may also resume, up to the comfort level of participants.

*** Meeting location for each field trip subject to change with Welcome Center Construction this summer! Please check your email prior to the start of each field trip with updates. ***

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 entry to any field trip or program in a 12 month period! You must register below for each field trip you wish to attend.

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.

Saturday, July 2 and Sunday, July 3

FOSZB Property Mini Blitzes

9:00 am- 2:00 pm Meeting at the Welcome Center

Activity Rating: 2-3

In celebration of the 10th Annual Sax-Zim Bog Bioblitz, August 6, we have put a focus on the biodiversity of the region in social media posts and field trips. Rarely on a Bioblitz, do groups get to spend time in just one location, choosing to visit multiple locations to showcase diversity across the landscape. These field trips hope to flip the script and show off the biodiversity in one location over an extended period of time! Similar to a birding “Big Sit” these field trips will hope to identify and document the biodiversity on a couple of Friends of Sax-Zim Bog properties in hopes to build our understanding of each property: from the trees, shrubs, bugs, lichens, birds, and more! This is a great trip for naturalists hoping to build or share their ID skills across multiple species groups or the casual observer, hoping to get out and experience biodiversity.

Register for this field trip here: FOSZB Property Mini-Blitz, July 2

Register for this field trip here: FOSZB Property Mini-Blitz, July 3

Saturday, July 9

Understanding Dragonflies and Damselflies

10:00 am – 4:00 pm Meeting at the Welcome Center

Activity Rating: 2-3

Dragonflies and damselfies (collectively known as odonates) are a fascinating group of insects! Most of their lives are spent as an effective aquatic predator in their nymph stage, even though most of us may better know them from their terrestrial and aerial adult stages. This field trip will spend time focusing on each life stage: swooping the ditches and lakes of the Sax-Zim Bog for nymphs and plying the skies for adult odonates. If you are interested in learning more or getting a deeper understanding of this group of insects, this field trip is for you!

Register for this field trip here: Understanding Dragonflies and Damselflies Field Trip

Sunday, July 10

Summer Through a Hand Lens

10:00 am – 2:00 pm Meeting at the Welcome Center

Activity Rating: 1-2

Hand lenses are a great way to investigate something up close and personal! Naturalists tend to have a hand lens in their bags, whether or not they use them, as a good way to take a closer look at a subject. In the summer months, there are so many things happening that we cannot see with our un-aided eyes: scales on butterfly wings, feather barbs, the fuzziness of plant leaves, and tiny fungi growing in the understory… the list goes on! Join us for a new field trip, which will focus on looking closely and slowing down. Please bring a hand lens, if you have one. We do have hand lens for use at the Welcome Center, if you would like to borrow one!

Register for this field trip here: Summer Through a Hand Lens

Saturday, July 16

Moths and More Evening Field Trip

8:00- 11:00 pm Meeting at the Welcome Center

Activity Rating: 1

At almost 600 species, moths are the most species rich group documented in the greater Sax-Zim Bog! Even though they are one of the most species rich groups of insects, moths don’t get the same attention as their day flying relatives: butterflies! Moths often surpass their cousins in color, pattern, behavior, and specialized relationship to plants. This field trip will serve as a good introduction to the moth diversity in Northeastern Minnesota. We will also use some of our time waiting for moths to arrive by listening for night singing insects, birds, mammals, and more! Because this field trip is at night, plan on bringing a head lamp or flashlight.

Register for this field trip here: Moths and More Evening Field Trip

Sunday, July 17

Sax-Zim Bog Butterflies Field Trip

12:00- 5:00 pm Meeting at the Welcome Center

Activity Rating: 1-2

The Sax-Zim Bog is home to a diverse set of plants, most of which have a particularly close relationship to butterflies or moths. This field trip will focus on exploring the diversity of butterflies in the Sax-Zim Bog! We will hope to find bog specialists like Bog Copper, to southern species like Black Swallowtail, to fast moving Skippers and Blues. The Sax-Zim Bog offers a lot for the casual butterfly watcher, as well as the seasoned butterfly enthusiast! All ages and ability levels are welcome!

Register for this field trip here: Sax-Zim Bog Butterflies Field Trip

Saturday, July 23

Introduction to Mosses Field Trip

9:00 am- 1:00 pm Meeting at the Welcome Center

Activity Rating: 2-3

Mosses are all around us in the Sax-Zim Bog and make up an incredibly part in the creation and support of bog ecosystems. However, mosses and their bryophyte relatives can be incredibly hard to identify. With a group of species that is hard to identify, it is always important to start by learning the familiar and common species, which is what we will be doing on this field trip! Come and begin your journey into the wonderful world of mosses on this introductory field trip focusing on both natural history and identification of this diverse and difficult to identify group. 

Register for this field trip here: Introduction to Mosses Field Trip

Sunday, July 24

Lichens Field Trip

12:00-5:00 pm Meeting at the Welcome Center

Activity Rating: 2-3

Northern Minnesota is home to a diverse lichen community. These species cover nearly 8% of the terrestrial surface of the earth, yet are relatively unknown to most of us. Join us on this trip to get firsthand experience in lichen identification, as well as to learn a few of the more common lichens in our area. Unlike winter lichen field trips, we will be able to cover rock and ground based lichens, as well as the tree growing species!

Register for this field trip here: Lichens Field Trip

Saturday, July 30

Spiders Field Trip

12:00- 5:00 pm Meeting at the Welcome Center

Activity Rating: 1-2

Spiders are an interesting bunch: some have nothing but nice things to say about them, while others cannot bear to be within several hundred feet of these eight-legged wonders. The Sax-Zim Bog has over 100 species of spider, including several first state record and dozens of new county record species in the last few years. Come out to learn a little more about the different species of spiders in Minnesota and spend some time observing these misunderstood critters!

Register for this field trip here: Spiders Field Trip

Sunday, July 31

Grasshoppers, Crickets, and Katydids… Oh my!

9:00 am- 1:00 pm Meeting at the Welcome Center

Activity Rating: 1-2

Recently, Head Naturalist Clinton has dove head first into grasshoppers and their relatives in hopes of shedding some light on this relatively common, but underappreciated group of species. Nearly omnipresent on the landscape, grasshoppers, crickets, katydids, and tree crickets not only contribute to the local soundscape, but offer important prey options for birds and mammals alike. This field trip will serve as an introduction to this wonderful group of species and experience the diversity of these insects across the Sax-Zim Bog.

Register for this field trip here: Grasshoppers, Crickets, and Katydids… Oh my!

Saturday, August 6

10th Annual Sax-Zim Bog Bioblitz!

9:00 am-2:00 pm meeting at the Welcome Center

Accessibility Rating: Each trip will be given a specific rating

It is hard to believe that this annual event is in it’s 10th year! The Sax-Zim Bog Bioblitz is one of our hallmark field experiences in a season and every year we look forward to sharing this place with experts and excited field trip participants! Every year is different and field trips could cover butterflies, dragonflies and damselflies, moths, aquatic insects, fish, birds, fungi, lichens, bees and wasps, and so much more!

Confirmed and tentative field trips for this season include: Spiders, Insects, Wetland Plants, Plants and Shrubs, Butterflies and Ladybeetles, Moths and Nighttime Creatures, Galls and Non-metazoan plant diseases, Fishes and Aquatic Insects, Dragonflies and Damselflies, and Fungi.

If you are interested in leading a field trip different than what is listed above and have expertise in that field, email Head Naturalist Clinton with your interest and expertise! We are always looking for more insect based field trip leaders!

Registration for individual field trips are done on the day of the event, but if you are interested in attending the Bioblitz, please register below. If you have any questions about the field trips, or accessibility for each field trip, send an email to Head Naturalist Clinton at naturalist@saxzim.org.

Register for the Bioblitz here: 10th Annual Sax-Zim Bog Bioblitz

Saturday, August 20

In a Patch of Goldenrod Field Trip

9:00 am- 2:00 pm Meeting at the Welcome Center

Activity Rating: 1-2

Now, this field trip will not feature Larry Weber’s book of the same title, but is certainly honoring the book’s vision! It may seem like an odd field trip, focusing on a stand of goldenrod, but goldenrods are a diverse bunch offering much to the patient observer. This field trip will look at the diversity of goldenrods blooming at this time of year, as well as their associated insect communities. We will likely encounter crab spiders, wasps, butterflies, bees, flies, and insects of all kinds, but hopefully we will all enjoy taking a moment to experience the going’s on in a patch of goldenrod!

Register for this field trip here: In a Patch of Goldenrod Field Trip

Monday, August 22 to Friday, August 26

Minnesota Master Naturalist Biome Course

Join us for our first ever Minnesota Master Naturalist Biome Course! Head Naturalist Clinton will be teaching the North Woods, Great Lakes Biome Course this year for prospective Minnesota Master Naturalists! If you are interested in the Master Naturalist Program or would like to register for this course, please head over the Minnesota Master Naturalist website through the link below:

Registration for the Master Naturalist Biome Course can be found here!

Saturday, August 27

Fall Migration Field Trip

8:00 am – 2:00 pm Meeting at the Welcome Center

Activity Rating: 1-2

Migration season offers some difficult bird watching in northern Minnesota, as many of the breeding species rush out of our area on their way south! The last bird-based field trip of the season will hope to experience a little of what migration has to offer in the Sax-Zim Bog! Because of the amount of habitat, it can be quite difficult to find birds in the Sax-Zim Bog and this field trip will hope to show you how to best navigate the Sax-Zim Bog during migration. At this time of year birds are migrating, but there might be a chance to experience migration from insects (like Painted Lady butterflies and Common Green Darner dragonflies could be moving at this time of year)!

Register for this field trip here: Fall Migration Field Trip

Saturday, September 3

Stream Study: Upper St. Louis River

10:00 am- 4:00 pm Meeting at the Welcome Center

Activity Rating: 3-4

The St. Louis River is an incredible waterway: It drains 2.4 million acres of Northern Minnesota, differs greatly in geology across its reach from east-central St. Louis County to Duluth, and is home to some interesting biodiversity. Rivers are diverse and ever-changing waterways, so you never know what we might find! This field trip will not only investigate the St. Louis River and what it has to offer biologically, but will give participants a chance to observe and interpret a truly dynamic ecosystem. You will definitely be getting wet during this field trip!

Register for this field trip here: Stream Study: Upper St. Louis River

Sunday, September 4

Tiger Beetles Field Trip

12:00- 5:00 pm Meeting at the Welcome Center

Activity Rating: 2

Tiger beetles are a colorful, yet overlooked group of beetles that are becoming quite popular to amateur entomologists and naturalists. Often, you find these species very commonly in gravel pits or open sandy areas. Their large eyes, bright colors, and tenacious attitudes are something to experience! Come out to learn a little more about these colorful and fast predators.

Register for this field trip here: Tiger Beetles Field Trip

Saturday, September 17

Stone Lake by Canoe and Kayak Field Trip

9:00 am- ??? Meeting at the Stone Lake Boat Launch

Activity Rating: 4-5

There are plenty of opportunities to navigate the terrestrial biodiversity of the Sax-Zim Bog, but it is not often that folks choose to explore the waterways in and around the Sax-Zim Bog during a visit to the region. In the past, we have had a canoe trip on the Whiteface River so why not explore a lake? This trip will be a relaxed paddle around Stone Lake! Please bring your own canoe/kayak, paddles, and life jackets. Other details to come closer to the date.

Register for this field trip here: Stone Lake by Canoe and Kayak

Saturday, October 15

Fall Colors in the Sax-Zim Bog Field Trip

9:00 am- 1:00 pm Meeting at the Welcome Center

Activity Rating: 1-2

Mid-October seems to be prime time to experience when we hit peak tamarack colors in the Sax-Zim Bog! This field trip will highlight the biology behind the change of color we see by trees in Minnesota as the seasons change. Depending on the timing of color change, the exact date of this field trip may be pushed back one week and all registrants will be apprised of any changes to the field trip date! 

Register for this field trip here: Fall Colors in the Sax-Zim Bog

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

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