Katharine Ordway Natural History Study Area


Katharine Ordway Natural History Study Area

Jerald J. Dosch
Visiting Associate Professor, Biology
Olin-Rice 215


Mike Anderson
Associate Director
On site:
9550 Inver Grove Trail
Inver Grove Heights, MN 55076

On campus:
Olin-Rice 115
651-696-6230 office

The Katharine Ordway Natural History Study Area (Ordway Field Station) is located on the bluffs of the Mississippi River in Inver Grove Heights, Minnesota, 17 miles from campus. The nearly 300- acre site was established in 1967 by Macalester College with the help of a major gift from Katharine Ordway. The many natural habitats found at Ordway Field Station include:

  • tall grass prairie
  • oak savanna and woodland
  • riparian forests
  • seasonal and permanent ponds and springs
  • a backwater lake, adjacent to the Mississippi River

These lands have been set aside by the college for biological and environmental education, research, and the protection and management of natural environments. Many different academic departments use this extraordinary facility for teaching and research including the departments of biology, environmental studies, geology, and theater and dance.

Any group or individual wishing to visit or utilize the field station for exploratory, teaching, research, management or other activities needs to receive prior approval. Please plan to contact the director or the associate director early in the process.

In 2009 the college was awarded a $25,000 grant from the National Science Foundation to fund the development of a strategic plan for Ordway field station. Work on the strategic plan is ongoing and continues to focus on the field station’s four part mission of education, research, sustainability and civic engagement.

Weather and Water Data

In the News

Grant Awarded for Archaeological Survey

Scott Legge

Anthropology professor Scott Legge has been awarded a Minnesota Historical and Cultural Heritage Grant for a Phase I archaeological survey of the Ordway field station. The goal is two-fold: to complete a site report detailing any cultural resources found there and to provide practical experience in cultural resource management for classroom-trained students. This will allow students to participate in an archaeological Phase I survey from start to finish during summer 2013.

Macalester Permanently Protects Open Space Along the Mississippi River
Macalester has taken steps to permanently protect 150 acres of the Katharine Ordway Natural History Study Area working in partnership with Dakota County,the city of Inver Grove Heights and the Friends of the Mississippi River. The Ordway field station's executive director Jerald Dosch called it, "a great win-win situation" and "a wonderful way to mark the 45th anniversary of Macalester’s purchase of the land."

Forty-fifth Anniversary
May 14 marked the 45th anniversary of Macalester's field station, the Katharine Ordway Natural History Study Area, in Inver Grove Heights. The college purchased the land in 1967 with funds generously donated by Katherine Ordway.

Ordway summer research student wins top award at MN GIS/LIS Consortium Conference

Maggie Pearson

Maggie Pearson, a 2011 double major in Geography and Environmental Studies, from San Mateo, California, won the first prize for best undergraduate oral presentation at the 2010 Minnesota GIS/LIS Consortium Conference in Duluth, MN on October 15.