Biology students conducting an outdoor Earthworm Lab

As an educational institution, Carleton College strongly encourages use of its lands for research, teaching, and student projects. But to maintain natural areas for long-term use, it is necessary for projects to be carried out in ways that minimize disturbance. It is also important for Arboretum staff to know where ongoing research projects are located so that routine management activities (burning, mowing, clearing brush, etc.) do not impact study areas.

A permit is required for research projects (including class exercises) in the Arboretum or McKnight Prairie that include any of the following:

  • flags or tags that will remain when the researcher is not present
  • collection of plants or plant parts, including seeds or tree cores
  • trapping or tagging of animals, including invertebrate animals
  • use of a drone
  • introduction of living organisms
  • soil disturbance

Individuals or groups wishing to conduct research in the Arboretum or McKnight Prairie should complete the  on-line research permit application. Contact the Arboretum Research Supervisor, Mark McKone, by email ( or phone (507-222-4393) if you have questions about your application.

Research Permit Application for Carleton Students or Faculty

Research Permit Application for NON Carleton applicants