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. Early in the process, please contact Jerald Dosch at , or Mike Anderson, .

Weather and Water Data


Jerald J. Dosch
Associate Professor of Biology (NTT)
Olin-Rice 210


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

On campus:
Olin-Rice 110
651-696-6230 office


In the News

Honey Bee Colonies Come to Ordway Field Station

Beekeeper Erin Rupp ’04 is bringing honey bee colonies to Ordway on May 1 as part of an initiative to educate students and others about bees and to support the imperiled honey bee population. Read more about Rupp, Beez Kneez, and Pollinate Minnesota.

Grant Awarded for Archaeological Survey

Scott Legge

Anthropology professor Scott Legge was awarded a Minnesota Historical and Cultural Heritage Grant for a Phase I archaeological survey of the Ordway field station. The goal was 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 allowed students to participate in an archaeological Phase I survey from start to finish.

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.”