Advanced Cloquet Field Session

The Advanced Cloquet Field Session takes place in May at the Cloquet Forestry Center—a 3,391 acre research and education forest located within the Fond du Lac Indian Reservation. The session is an intensive experience where students learn the field techniques and applications of resource survey, silviculture, and timber harvesting and road planning. All undergraduate Forest and Natural Resources Management (FNRM) majors within the Forest Ecosystem Management and Conservation (FEMC) specialization are required to attend.

Graduate students who are interested in on-the-ground practices and field skills development are encouraged to attend. Additionally, graduate students focusing on how society values and makes decisions about the use, management, and protection of natural and environmental resources will benefit from attending the session.

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Registration and Course Information

Audience and Prerequisites

The session is an intensive experience where students learn the field techniques and applications of resource survey, silviculture, and timber harvesting and road planning. Extensive time is spent examining and applying advanced concepts in the field. While each course includes unique meeting dates, there are times when content is integrated across the three courses through joint instruction and assignments. One way in which that integration occurs is through a final project in each course where students will meet with a private landowner, determine their ownership objectives, conduct a resource survey of their parcel to provide input for writing a “stewardship plan”, and designing a harvest and road access plan.

Registration opens on a rolling basis in early November for enrolled degree-seeking undergraduate and graduate students. Registration opens for non-degree-seeking students in early December. Degree-seeking students outside the Forest and Natural Resource Management (FNRM) major may register for the session. Students who do not meet the prerequisite course requirements may register with faculty permission and should discuss enrollment with their advisor. Undergraduate students may not register for more than 20 credits per semester without college approval (15 for summer session). Undergraduate students wishing to register for more than 20 credits per semester must petition the College of Food Agriculture and Naturals Sciences for permission using the Academic Policy Petition form available in the CFANS Student Services Office. Students must sign and return a Release of Liability form (.doc) to participate in any course-related field trips.

FNRM 4511 – Field Silviculture (2 credits), Dr. Marcella Campione-Windmuller, Instructor
Students learn how to collect field data and prepare/write silvicultural prescriptions for achieving management objectives within the context of stand, landscape, watershed, and wildlife habitat/biodiversity issues. They conduct field exercises that consider forest entomology, pathology, tree improvement, forest soils, and nontimber forest products. As a major part of the course, students work in groups to develop a “stewardship plan” for a Cloquet-area landowner’ property. This involves identifying landowner goals and objectives, inventorying and evaluating the land, and developing short- and long-term management prescriptions. Prerequisites for undergraduate students: FNRM 3104, FNRM 3411, or instructor consent.

FNRM 4515 – Field Resource Survey (1 credit), Dr. John Zobel, Instructor
This course builds student knowledge and skills in remote sensing and sampling and measurement methods for inventory, mapping, monitoring and analysis of forest and related natural resources. Students conduct exercises in field data collection and image interpretation, data synthesis and reporting, and learn about resource survey design options. These exercises expose students to a range of approaches and technologies for data capture, analysis and reporting. Problems considered range from describing trees and stands on the Cloquet Forestry Center to larger landscape and regional levels and issues from describing land use, resource condition, future condition, and management practices, including the impact of practices. Prerequisites for undergraduate students: FNRM 3218 and FNRM 3262 or instructor consent.

FNRM 4521 – Field Timber Harvesting and Road Planning (2 credits), Dr. Charlie Blinn, Instructor
Students learn about the process of planning and conducting timber harvesting and forest road design considering the economic, environmental, and social influences which impact those operations. The intent is to present and discuss those issues in the context of implementing natural resource management plans. Course emphasis is on providing field-based experiences with the various aspects of timber harvesting and road planning. As site and stand conditions, landowner objectives, regulations, and other factors vary across the landscape, there are a variety of approaches used to accomplish timber harvesting and road planning. The course will address many of the different methods, presenting more detail for some than others. The course includes field trips to forests managed by public and private landowners to view on-the ground practices. Grading is based on four exercises (application of forest management guidelines, timber appraisal, road design, and timber sale design) and a final exam. Prerequisites for undergraduate students: FNRM 3411 and FNRM 3431, or instructor consent.

Tuition and Fees

Estimated Course Tuition

According to the 13-credit policy, a degree-seeking undergraduate student must pay a flat undergraduate tuition rate based on 13 credits, regardless of actual credit load. The general graduate tuition rate includes a 6-14 credit band for full-time registration, and each credit above or below the plateau is assessed on a per-credit basis. There are no additional course tuition expenses for undergraduates who register during Spring Semester for at least 13 credits or for graduate students who register during Spring Semester for at least 6, but not more than 14 credits. Standard student fees apply to these courses.

Estimated Course Fees

Undergraduate students may be eligible for financial aid. The College of Food Agriculture and Natural Resources and/or Department of Forest Resources may offer scholarship support for undergraduate students who applied through the CFANS scholarship process. A billing statement for tuition and fees will be sent to your student account when you register for Spring Semester. A late fee will be assessed if the balance is not paid in full by the due date indicated on your billing statement.

Student Health

Student Health

The Advanced Field Session courses involve sustained physical activity. A medical examination prior to the session is advised. Students who are required to complete the field session, but will not be able to do so due to medical reasons, should contact the department head. Immunization clearance is not required for the session; however, students attending the session should have had a tetanus booster vaccination within the last five years. The Cloquet Forestry Center does not stock any medications. If you are susceptible to allergic reactions to pollen, insect bites, stings, etc. you should bring your own preferred medication to the session. Students who have paid their Student Service Fee are regular members of the University Health Service. Coverage is similar to that available on the Twin Cities Campus. All injuries must be reported immediately to the Cloquet Forestry Center staff and the course instructor.

Lyme disease, a tick-borne illness, is present in northern Minnesota. Students should take precautions to avoid contracting the disease as well as understand symptoms of infection. Most Lyme infections come from nymphal and adult deer ticks. Nymphs are about the size of a poppy seed. Students should dress appropriately to limit tick access to skin, use insect repellent in the field, and conduct regular tick checks when changing clothes or bathing. Early symptoms may involve fever, headaches, and fatigue. A circular rash often (not always) develops at the site of the tick bite but may not be visible black or brown skin. Lyme disease is easily treated with antibiotics but left untreated can cause serious, long-term, and irreversible health problems (joints, heart, central nervous system).

Mental Health

As a student you may experience a range of issues that can cause barriers to learning, such as strained relationships, increased anxiety, alcohol/drug problems, feeling down, difficulty concentrating and/or lack of motivation. Further, we recognize that the field session can be additionally stressful. You are away from your normal routines, living together with others in dorms, eating cafeteria food in a collective space, and doing intensive physical and mental work. The compressed time frame of the field session means that most evenings are spent on assignments and preparation for the next field day making it hard to recharge.

Mental health concerns or stressful events may affect your academic performance or reduce your ability to participate in daily activities. Do not hesitate to talk with staff about barriers you are experiencing. We are here to support you in gaining the best educational experience possible. This includes helping find resources and solutions if you are struggling. We can make adjustments during the field session itself. In addition, University of Minnesota services are available to assist you with addressing these and other concerns you may be experiencing. You can learn more about the broad range of confidential mental health services available on campus.

Because the session begins the day after the last day of Spring Semester finals, the instructors are aware that this may put a strain on student well-being and mental health. As any individual may at times experience an impact on their well-being or mental health during a field session, it can be important to have a plan. This may involve taking some time to before the session to establish social/therapeutic/self-care supports and strategies that can be accessed remotely, planning around consistent access to medication if applicable, and academic accommodations if needed. Field session instructors are always a resource. The Disability Resource Center (DRC) can be a resource to those who would like to explore accommodations related to a disability or health condition. If possible, students should register with the DRC in advance of the field session if they think they may need accommodations during the session.

Course Supplies

These supplies are not available at the Cloquet Forestry Center. You must purchase and bring them with you. Many supplies are available at the university bookstore on campus.

Personal Items

  • Pillows, pillow cases, bed linen for a twin-sized mattress, and blankets must be furnished by students. Mattress pads are provided by the station.
  • Field clothes adequate for protection against cold and rain.
  • Waterproof hat, jacket, pants, and waterproofed boots are an absolute necessity. Field work is carried out regardless of the weather.
  • Footwear appropriate for walking on uneven ground, through dense brush, and over wet and soggy soil and vegetation. You will likely visit some wetlands and bogs, so tall rubber boots are recommended.
  • Clothing and toiletries appropriate for a 3.5 week extended field course.
  • Field clothes treated with permethrin, either by the manufacturer or aftermarket, are recommended to reduce exposure to disease-carrying insects such as ticks and mosquitoes. Permethrin treated field pants, calf-high socks, and shirts can be more effective than DEET-based insect repellent for tick protection. Follow the directions on the container when applying insect repellent containing DEET or permethrin.
  • Any medications, including kits for insect bites and stings.
  • Sun protection.
  • Glasses or other eye protection for working in the woods.

Course Materials

  • Your course notes for all prerequisite classes.
  • Hand compass (Silva Ranger 2.0 or Suunto Navigator MCD2D in azimuth are recommended)
  • Tatum holder or clipboard to hold 8.5 x 11-inch paper with lid or compartment to protect pages in the field.
  • Paper for reports and a packet of graph paper.
  • Pencils, pens, colored pencils, etc. for note taking and report writing.
  • Solar-powered pocket calculator. Do not rely exclusively on your smart phone.
  • Ruler marked in inches and tenths.
  • USB flash drive.


Each student will be issued equipment when they check-in for use in one or more courses. Each student is responsible for the care of the equipment they are issued. Tapes, increment borers, and other tools or equipment needing protection from rust should be kept oiled. Losses or unwarranted damage will be paid for by the responsible student or crew. Hard hats will be issued and must be worn when you are visiting an active timber sale. Eye and ear protection are available, but we recommend you bring your own if you have it.

Equipment issued to all students:

  • 100 ft. tape
  • Diameter tape
  • Suunto clinometer
  • Increment borer
  • Tree and Log Scale Stick with angle gauge (hinge attachment)
  • Prism 20 BAF
  • Hard hat
  • Safety Glasses and ear protection (optional)

Equipment that may be issued for short periods

  • Laser rangefinder
  • For students with smartphones or tablet devices, the Avenza PDF maps application, or some other geoPDF map app, can add to a student’s field experience. Cloquet Forestry Center staff can provide appropriate geoPDF maps for student use while working at the Forestry Center and other experimental forest properties.



During the session, students are required to stay at the Cloquet Forestry Center along with course faculty. Housing is available at the Center in cabin 45 (for students who begin in the second week) and 46 (for students who begin in the first week) in single person hotel-style rooms. Camping facilities are not available. Please respect the buildings. Do not deface any walls by carving or writing. Do not put nails or tacks in the walls. Abnormal breakage or damage to dormitories or dorm rooms will be assessed against the individuals involved. Do not wear hobnail or caulk boots in buildings. Do not move any beds or furniture from one area to another. Smoking is prohibited in all buildings.

Students are responsible for providing their own meals. Complete cooking facilities (e.g., two full-size refrigerators, a range with an oven, microwave, coffeemaker, dishes, pots and pans, silverware) are available in Cabin 46. Cooking is not permitted in the rooms. You may bring a mini-refrigerator for your room.

Dates and Times

Arrival and Departure

The Advanced Field Session will begin at the Cloquet Forestry Center on Thursday, May 14 at 8:00 a.m. in the Administration Building with class and lodging check-in, equipment sign-out, briefing, and an introductory tour of the forest. This tour is a required part of the first course, FNRM 4515. Park your car in the large parking area next to Cabin 46. If you are unable to report to Cloquet by 8:00 a.m. on May 14, please contact Dr. John Zobel as soon as possible.

Dorm rooms will be inspected at the end of the session or after your last course to make sure they are clean. Non-emergency requests for early releases to accommodate personal plans cannot be approved. University vans will be available for course-related activities.

Course Schedule

Approximate class times are from 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. and 12:45 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. everyday. Some evening work will also be scheduled. Class will meet on Monday, May 25 (Memorial Day). Individual instructors may make adjustments in the schedule as necessary for their specific courses. All students for each class will participate in:

  1. Organizational meeting in March to introduce the overall structure of the Advanced Field Session and discuss the March field trip.
  2. Field trip in University vans to Cloquet and Grand Rapids which will depart at approximately 1:00 p.m. on March 27 and return to campus by 6:00 p.m. on March 28.
  3. Debriefing meeting scheduled in April (date TBA) to discuss the completed March field trip.
  4. Group project presentations on May 27.

Course Dates

  • FNRM 4515 — Field Resource Survey | March 27-28, May 14 – 16 and May 27
  • FNRM 4511 — Field Silviculture | March 27-28, May 17-20, May 22, May 27
  • FNRM 4521 — Field Timber Harvesting and Road Planning | March 27-28, May 21, May 23-27




Emergency Contact Information
Student must complete and return the Emergency Contact Information form to Dr. Charlie Blinn by March 20.

Individual dorm rooms do not have phones. The Cloquet Forestry Center office number is (218) 726-6400. In addition, several courtesy telephones are located throughout the Center. One is located in the vestibule as you enter the Classroom Administration Building (218) 726-6489. A phone is also located in the kitchen units of cabin #45 (218) 726-6492 and cabin #46 (218) 726-6493.

A 24-station computer lab is available to students for class assignments, e-mail, and internet access via a fiber optic line.

Incoming mail can be sent to the Cloquet Forestry Center. Mail arrives in the mid-to-late afternoon, Monday-Friday. Outgoing mail can be placed in the mailbox located on the road between the Administration Building (#44) and the Forest Management Building (#2) by 11:30 a.m. each day.

Attn: [recipient]
Cloquet Forestry Center
175 University Road
Cloquet, MN 55720-9594

A washer and dryer are available in the basement of Cabin #36. Additionally, two laundromats are located in the City of Cloquet.

Alcoholic Beverages
Students must follow state law, which prohibits consumption, purchase, or possession of alcohol by individuals younger than 21.

The Cloquet Forestry Center is a smoke and tobacco-free campus.

Room check for supplies
A member of the Center staff will enter student rooms weekly sometime between 10:00 a.m. and noon on Mondays to check for supply needs, damage, etc.

Storage of miscellaneous items
Do not store items in your room which can block the way in an emergency situation, destroy the interior of a building, or which can cause fire. Specific items which have been a concern in the past include bicycles, car batteries, motorcycles, and canoe paddles. Please store these items outside. Bring a lock to secure them, if necessary.

Pets are not permitted. This policy is rigidly enforced.

As per University Board of Regents policy on the possession and carrying of weapons, no person, whether a student, employee, or visitor, shall possess or carry a weapon while on University property unless they are a licensed peace officer, security guard, other law enforcement agent or military personnel when acting in the course of their official duties and when authorized to carry weapons; they are participating in military training when acting in the course of their official duties or performing duly assigned tasks involving weapons; acting under University Presidential approval; or for the purposes of lawful storage of a firearm inside a personal motor vehicle.

Course instructors may take photos of the class at various times for a number of reasons in support of the Department of Forest Resources' educational, promotional and publicity efforts. Students are requested to sign and return a photo release form to allow the photographs to be used in a publication, print ad, direct mail piece, electronic media or other form of promotion.