Early Activities

Saturday Early Access

7-8:30 a.m.

Early-Morning Birding and Phenology Walk at Chanhassen Nature Preserve

West Metro Master Naturalist Chapter

Join West Metro Chapter members Ann Cathcart and Holly Einess for an early-morning walk at Chanhassen Nature Preserve. 

This 113-acre preserve just east of the Arboretum features seven ponds, a bog, an oak savannah, and lots of wildlife (some past sightings: a 10-point buck, fawns, coyote, fox, ermine, mink, jack-in-the-pulpit, bloodroot, columbine, forget-me-nots...). Be prepared for a 2- to 3-mile walk on an asphalt path. Please park at an adjacent business, Control Concepts (8077 Century Blvd, Chanhassen). 

7:30-8:30 a.m. 

Arboretum Spring Peeper Meadow

Take an Educational Walking Tour with Arboretum Experts

Located on the Eastern corner of the Arboretum the Spring Peeper Meadow is open to the public,  early access walks will start at the Peeper Meadow parking lot at 107 West 82nd St.

It is a great place for observing and learning about nature. The trail swings through the prairie, down into the wet meadow and across the marsh on a broad boardwalk. It then contours along the hillside up to the Gallistel Overlook with views over the marsh. The trail continues to the north boardwalk and onto the Oak Knoll before leading visitors through a small remnant maple basswood forest. The loop continues through tallgrass prairie before returning to the start. Along the way there are 12 interpretive signs that provide insights to the significance of this wetland restoration. Visit Spring Peeper any season of the year. Birdwatching is excellent in the spring with migrating birds. 

More about the history of the Spring Peeper Meadow restoration. 

Sunday Early Access 

7:30-8:30 a.m. 

Arboretum Birding with John Loegering 

John Loegering, University of Minnesota Crookston 

7:30-8:30 a.m. 

Arboretum Birding with Lisa Keitel

Lisa Keitel, Minnesota Master Naturalist volunteer 

Maximum 12 people

Bring your own binoculars if desired; binoculars are not necessary as Lisa will talk about other ways to ID.

Check back for more early access opportunities - included with the conference registration.