Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 66.40
Liaison Margaret Lo
Submission Date June 12, 2023

STARS v2.2

Ball State University
OP-10: Biodiversity

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 2.00 / 2.00 Michael Planton
Associate Director for Landscape and Environmental Management
Facilities Planning and Management
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Does the institution own or manage land that includes or is adjacent to legally protected areas, internationally recognized areas, priority sites for biodiversity, or regions of conservation importance?:

A brief description of the legally protected areas, internationally recognized areas, priority sites for biodiversity, and/or regions of conservation importance:

Ball State University owns or manages six properties for environmental education, ecosystem research natural areas protection and restoration, and sustainable agriculture. Of those areas, the 74ha Ginn Woods is considered the second largest old-growth forest in Indiana, and is managed as a nature preserve. Of the remaining areas, active effort is made to increase native biodiversity, restore impacted lands, implement best management practices, and convert conventional agriculture to more sustainable methods. Each aspect of management feeds into research and student immersive learning.

Ginn Woods was dedicated as a state nature preserve under protection of the Indiana Department of Natural Resources, Division of Nature Preserves.

Has the institution conducted an assessment to identify endangered and vulnerable species (including migratory species) with habitats on land owned or managed by the institution?:

A list of endangered and vulnerable species with habitats on land owned or managed by the institution, by level of extinction risk:

No endangered or vulnerable species were found on university property during the time the inventories were conducted. Recent work (2021) on arachnids indicates there may be some rare species at Ginn Woods that are not listed for protection, and potentially a species new to science (Marc Milne, personal communication).

Has the institution conducted an assessment to identify areas of biodiversity importance on land owned or managed by the institution?:

A brief description of areas of biodiversity importance on land owned or managed by the institution:

Eastern deciduous forest of varying degree of integrity occurs on all six properties, and ranges from intact or original forest to highly degraded woods and successional areas. As listed above, complete, published floras exist for four of the properties. Data on migratory birds, herptiles, arthropods, and other organisms is less complete but does exist. Habitats of interest are mapped related to species occurrence, including the buttonbush swamp at Ginn Woods.

The methodologies used to identify endangered and vulnerable species and/or areas of biodiversity importance and any ongoing assessment and monitoring mechanisms:

Four of the six properties have had complete floral inventories published, dating back to 1950 for Christy Woods, 2004 for Ginn Woods, and 2017 for Cooper Woods and Skinner Field Area. Permanent forest monitoring plots have been established in each of these areas to document changes over time, going back to 2002 for Cooper Woods and 2003 for Christy Woods. All the canopy trees have been mapped with associated GPS coordinates and assessment of tree health at time of sampling. Systematic surveys of fauna, including bird mist-netting, herptile counts have been ongoing for years on four properties. While there are no documented cases of state or federally listed species, the floral and faunal assemblages in these woods approximate the diverse natural heritage of Indiana and likely include species such as Indiana Brown Bat. Ginn Woods, for example, was listed as a classified forest in 1929 and has documented 452 taxa of vascular plants representing 267 genera in 99 families. A total of 164 species were reported for the first time from Delaware County. All plant species are vouchered in the Ball State Herbarium located in the new Foundational Science Building. This collection of over 25,000 specimens is currently being curated for online publication through the Consortium of Midwest Herbaria.

A brief description of the scope of the assessment(s):

Appropriate sampling methods were used to collect data various taxa at different properties over the years. Publications are listed below.

A brief description of the plans or programs in place to protect or positively affect identified species, habitats, and/or ecosystems:

Active management to control invasive species, reintroduce native plant species, and return fire where appropriate have all contributed to maintenance and increased biodiversity of Ball State Field Station’s natural areas. In 2016 and 2017, supplemental pollinator habitat was established in the 40 acre constructed prairie at Cooper Farm. Invasive species management has been standard procedure in woodlands and prairie areas since 2000. At the Cooper Farm we have constructed 3 ephemeral wetlands since 2017 as educational workshops. Wildland and prescribed fire workshops are held to educate safe use of prescribed fire to manage grasslands and other ecosystems.

Estimated percentage of areas of biodiversity importance that are also protected areas :

Website URL where information about the institution’s biodiversity initiatives is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:

A systematic study of the herbaceous plants and shrubs in Christy Woods. Rector, Marion Agnes, 1907- Advisor: Miller, Donald E. Date: 1950. Other Identifiers: LD2489.Z72 1950 .R42. CardCat URL: http://liblink.bsu.edu/catkey/416021 Degree: Thesis (M.A.)

Ruch, Donald G., et al. "The lignicolous fungi of Ginn Woods, Delaware County, Indiana." Proceedings of the Indiana Academy of Science, 2001, p. 79+. https://www.academia.edu/30231741/The_Lignicolous_Fungi_of_Ginn_Woods_Delaware_County_Indiana

Ruch, Donald G., et al. "THE FLORA AND VEGETATION OF GINN WOODS, BALL STATE UNIVERSITY, DELAWARE COUNTY, INDIANA." Proceedings of the Indiana Academy of Science, 1999, p. 17. https://www.thefreelibrary.com/Additions+to+the+flora+of+Ginn+Woods%2C+Delaware+County%2C+Indiana.-a0118742586.

Badger, Kemuel S., et al. "STRUCTURE AND COMPOSITION OF GINN WOODS, AN OLD-GROWTH FOREST IN EAST-CENTRAL INDIANA." Proceedings of the Indiana Academy of Science, 1999, p. 1.

Orientation of salamanders during breeding migration. Hinty, Hamad M. Date: 1978. Other Identifiers: LD2489.Z9 1978 .H56. CardCat URL: http://liblink.bsu.edu/catkey/278241. Degree: Thesis (M.A.)

Ruch, Donald G. "Recent macromycetes records from three east-central Indiana counties." Proceedings of the Indiana Academy of Science, vol. 113, no. 2, 2004, p. 99+.

How will EAB change our forests? : predicting forest canopy gaps using GIS. Schuck, Stephanie L. Advisor: Gruver, Joshua B. Date: 2013-05-04. CardCat URL: http://liblink.bsu.edu/catkey/1712475. Degree: Thesis (M.S.). Department: Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Management.

Spring wildflowers of Christy Woods. Stultz, Kristy L. Advisor: Badger, Kemuel S. Date: 2005. Other Identifiers: LD2489.Z8 2005 .S78. CardCat URL: http://liblink.bsu.edu/catkey/1332250. Degree: Thesis (M.A.). Department: Department of Biology.

A dendroclimatological analysis of white oak (Quercus alba L.) growth rings from Christy Woods, Muncie, Indiana, with local climatic data. Stahl, James Richard. Thesis (M.S.)--Ball State University, 1982. Crankshaw, William B., advisor. URL: http://cardinalscholar.bsu.edu/handle/handle/182601

The information presented here is self-reported. While AASHE staff review portions of all STARS reports and institutions are welcome to seek additional forms of review, the data in STARS reports are not verified by AASHE. If you believe any of this information is erroneous or inconsistent with credit criteria, please review the process for inquiring about the information reported by an institution or simply email your inquiry to stars@aashe.org.