Article Written by Olivia Stephes. Photo provided by Mikhail Blinnikov. 

Mikhail Blinnikov or better known as Dr. Blinnikov is a key figure in the conservation, ecology, and study of natural sciences here at St. Cloud State University. Between teaching classes here on campus and at the University of Minnesota Dr. Blinnikov’s experience has given students interested in these fields tons of hands on opportunities. 

From camping in the depths of Costa Rica or taking students to Minnesota’s own backyard, Dr. Blinnikov has traveled far and wide continuing his research and sharing his love of nature and the outdoors to eager students. 

Dr. Blinnikov has always had an interest in nature. He grew up in a family of scientists. “My dad looked through a telescope and my mom a microscope, and I wanted to look through binoculars,” stated Dr. Blinnikov. He was born in Moscow, Russia, a city of approximately 12 million people in northern Asia, and grew up studying birds and started his education there as well. His interest in nature conservation sparked when Moscow construction grew immensely, destroying the natural habitats where he used to watch birds and nature. Dr. Blinnikov then went to the University of Oregon for 6 years and earned his PhD before coming to Minnesota to teach here. “Minnesota chose me. I love the four seasons and the city of St Cloud,” stated Blinnikov. He said the crime is minimal, the area is beautiful, close to the main metropolitan area of Minnesota, and the city of St Cloud is a great place to raise a family and reside in. Dr. Blinnikov’s favorite class is anything to do with being, teaching and exploring outside. He has taken students to Costa Rica, Mongolia, and the Boundary Waters in northern Minnesota for example. Teaching about and living in the wilderness with students interested in conservational science, ecology, biology and all things nature! 

Imagine waking up to birds chirping, sun beaming through the window and the warm jungle air surrounding you. With a day packed with site seeing, eating foreign foods, and exploring a new country- this is a reality for Dr. Blinnikov’s students who go on these trips abroad and could be for you too! Earlier this year, students traveled to Costa Rica and had “the experience of a lifetime,” stated Lilly Marohn, student at St. Cloud State. Going to places like the village of Tortugeuro, Sarapiqui, or the La Fortuna Waterfall was something students normally don’t have the opportunity to visit and learn more about. Dr. Blinnikov made this possible for his students though. “We ate foods, visited sites, and learned so much being there in person that never could have been possible without this research trip,” Lilly stated. Because of Dr. Blinnikov’s ambition to travel and continue his research, students at St. Cloud State have amazing opportunities to learn, grow, and research fields of interest to them within the realm of natural sciences. 

Dr. Blinnikov says, “St. Cloud State is very supportive of my research ambitions and values my teaching here.” He hopes to continue teaching about his passion that has existed for a lifetime. 

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