Overlooking a lake at the Wilderness Field Station in Minnesota

Wilderness Field Station

Are you ready to get the most out of a wilderness experience?

Wilderness Field Station Logo

Imagine that you are sampling aquatic organisms in an ecosystem where the water is so clean you can actually drink it straight from the lake! Imagine you are working on your Writing Wilderness essay, propped against a rock looking up a lake where the forest stretches unbroken for miles and you see no human sign, and hear no human sound! Imagine you satisfy your lab science requirement studying island biogeography on a 10-day canoe trip into the unfragmented wilderness of Minnesota's Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. Imagine you are describing the evolving dynamics of your own group in your journal around a campfire, as wolves howl in the distance. Imagine you are taking a class at the Coe College Wilderness Field Station.

The Wilderness Field Station is a unique summer program of field study in the Superior National Forest in Northern Minnesota. All classes are very small and personal, with no more than eight students per instructor. Students stay in our rustic lodging while at the Field Station, integrating lectures and laboratory investigation with frequent canoe outings. Once prepared, each class takes a lengthy canoe camping trip into the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness and/or Quetico Provincial Park to learn more about their academic topic .

Student paddling a canoe

2023 Course Schedule

Session 1: June 10 - July 8, 2023
Session 2: July 8 - August 5, 2023

Application deadline:

April 8, 2023

View application

Credit, Costs, and Information

2023 Courses


If you have any questions about the programs at the Wilderness Field Station, please contact:

Jesse Ellis

Director Jesse Ellis

Coe College 

1220 1st Ave NE 
Cedar Rapids, IA 52402 

Phone: 319.399.8104 
Email: jellis@coe.edu

Kalina Eskew

National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow

Kalina Eskew '21

"Coe has given me a lot of opportunities to get field experience and know how to set up my own research projects. I spent two summers at the Wilderness Field Station, first taking a class and then working on both my own independent study and Dr. Ellis’s work on Ovenbirds. I also had chances to practice writing proposals and lab reports in my science classes and then presenting my information to other students.”

Eskew is a biology and environmental science major at Coe, and their graduate studies will focus on animal behavior.