Macalester’s Ordway Field Station was selected as the site for the 2011 BioBlitz. Every year Minnesota BioBlitz attracts hundreds of families and scientists from around the state who use sonar detectors, bug lights, live traps and laptops to count and chronicle an area’s floral and fauna. Volunteers of all ages work alongside biologists to collect plants and insects and live-trap animals, which are identified before being released back into the wild. A total of 611 species and plants, animals and fungi were identified, including 11 species of plants discovered in Dakota County for the first time.

The event aims to increase the public’s awareness of an area’s biological diversity (locations change every year), offers a chance for citizens to work with scientists, and provides an environmental benchmark for natural resources managers of Minnesota parks. Minnesota BioBlitz is co-sponsored by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

In the spring of 2010 the Biodiversity and Evolution (BIOL270) class initiated a project which aims to describe the biological diversity present at the field station one species at a time. The project will be repeated most semesters and, for each species found, students will create a web page describing its basic biology, distribution, ecology and taxonomy, as well as information about the collecting locale for the specimen. Below is the current list of inventoried species with links to student-created web pages.

    Apple Serviceberry, Amelanchier laevis; page1 page2
    Billbug, Sphenophorus australis
    Chorus Frog, Pseudacris triseriata; page1
    Common Earthworm, Lumbricus terrestris
    Dark Fishing Spider, Dolomedes tenebrosus    
    Dog Tick, Dermacentor variabilis
    Harbinger of Spring, Erigenia bulbosa
    Mealworm Beetle, Tenebrio molitor
    Millipede, Diplopoda
    Millipede, Parajulidae
    Northern Leopard Frog, Rana pipiens; page2
    Poplars, Populus spp.
    Red Velvet Mite, Trombidium spp
    Rue Anemone, Thalictrum thalictroides; page1 page2
    Sowbug, Armadillidium spp
    Tree Swallow, Tachycineta bicolor
    Turkey Tail Fungus, Trametes versicolor; page1 page2
    Whirligig Beetle, Dineutus hornii
    Wood Tick, Dermacentor variabilis