City Council meets at science reserve to mark 75th anniversary

In a break from tradition, and to bring attention to the upcoming 75th anniversary celebration, the East Bethel City Council held its July 12 meeting at the Cedar Creek Ecosystem Science Reserve.

The East Bethel City Council held its July 12 meeting at the Cedar Creek Ecosystem Science Reserve. Photo submitted
The East Bethel City Council held its July 12 meeting at the Cedar Creek Ecosystem Science Reserve. Photo submitted

The 5,600-acre research site, established in 1942, is operated by the University of Minnesota with the Minnesota Academy of Science. The 75th anniversary will highlight the history of the site as well as ongoing scientific research, public education and events.

City staff presented a resolution recognizing the research site for its accomplishments and contributions to the city of East Bethel, which was approved 5-0 by the council.

While access to the Cedar Creek Ecological Science Reserve is limited due to the research being done, there are many opportunities available to the public to visit. Throughout the year various activities are held, and the public can even pitch in on projects.

During a presentation preceding the council meeting July 12, Cedar Creek education and outreach coordinator Caitlin Barale-Potter said citizen scientists help with the site’s bird and wildlife counts and other conservation work.

Barale-Potter led a short hike prior to the meeting to Cedar Bog Lake and pointed out the three types of biodiversity that make Cedar Creek Ecological Science Reserve a world-class location for research: western prairie, northern evergreen forests and leafy eastern forests. She said Minnesota is one of the few places where this combination exists, which has earned the research site not only a reputation for excellence in research opportunities but also has attracted top staff. David Tilman and Peter Reich, two well-known ecologists, currently conduct their primary research at Cedar Creek.

With lakes formed over 10,000 years ago, when the last chunks of ice age remnants melted away, and trees that have been dated at over 250 years old still growing strong, the site is a goldmine of flora and fauna.

As the official 75th anniversary date of Sept. 9 draws near, locals can make time to get to know the reserve by attending one of several upcoming events. Information can be found at www.cedarcreek.umn.edu.

“This is a gem that not many people know about,” Mayor Steve Voss said, “and we hope that by having this meeting at the Ray Lindeman building here at the Cedar Creek Ecosystem Research Center will bring more attention to it.”