Minnesota Seasons




These are locations in Minnesota where native plants, birds, and other wildlife can be viewed. With very few exceptions, these destinations are open to the public.

Visitors can share their own photos, videos, plant and wildlife sightings, and other observations.

  Lebanon Hills Regional Park
  Photo by Kirk Nelson

Species Profiles



crown vetch

Native, naturalized, invasive, or simply planted—any plant growing outside of cultivation in Minnesota.

More than 780 plant pages include photos, a description, a multi-sourced distribution map, and a list of sites where the plant has been sighted.

Insects and Arachnids


ebony jewelwing

Insects and arachnids found in Minnesota.

Species pages include photos, a description, a list of sightings by MinnesotaSeasons.com, visitor sightings, and distribution maps.


  Texas brown snake

Birds and bears, snakes and squirrels, toads and turtles—wildlife found in Minnesota.

Wildlife pages include photos, a description, and a list of sightings, as well as distribution maps for amphibians, mammals, and reptiles.

Fungi and Lichens
  Purple-spored Puffball

Lichens, mushrooms, and other fungi found in Minnesota.

Fungi and lichen pages include photos, a description, a list of sightings by MinnesotaSeasons.com, visitor sightings, and distribution maps.


    Photo by James Folden



Download free high resolution wallpapers (screen backgrounds). These are photos of destinations featured on MinnesotaSeasons.com. The wallpapers are grouped by ecological season. Each wallpaper is optimized for the screen resolutions used most often in 2014 on desktops, laptops, and tablets.


Minnesota Valley State Recreation Area - Lawrence Unit














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Hibernal Season


The hibernal ecological season corresponds to the winter calendar season. In our area it is characterized by cold temperatures, a usually snow-covered landscape, and an absence of migratory bird species. Deciduous trees are bare and fallen leaves begin to decay. Migrating birds have settled in winter habitats. In Minnesota the hibernal season usually begins about December 1 and lasts until about March 1.

Snow Cover
The average date for the first one-inch snow fall in the Twin Cities is November 18. The average date for “permanent snow cover” in the Twin Cities is unknown but is probably mid-December. Permanent snow cover here is defined as at least one centimeter of snow cover that lasts at least one month.

On November 10, 2014, Minnesota was hit with its first major snow storm leaving a snow cover that persisted for more than one month. However, unusually warm weather in mid-December melted it all. On Christmas day most neighborhoods in the south metro area of the Twin Cities had not even a trace of snow left on the ground.

On average, cold temperatures arrive in the Twin Cities on December 3. On that date the average high temperature is below freezing. The first stretch of cold weather arrived with the November 10 snowfall. The unscientific term “stretch of cold weather” here is defined as a week with more daily high temperatures below freezing than above. Between November 11 and November 20 the temperature (in Lakeville) did not rise above 24°.

This year the winter calendar season began on Sunday, December 21, at 5:03 p.m. CST. By that time the hibernal season, whether determined by snow cover or by daily temperature, had been with us in the metro area of Minnesota for six weeks.


Savage Fen SNA





















What’s New

MinnesotaSeasons.com Redesign Completed

After almost nine months the redesign of MinnesotaSeasons.com was finally completed on October 10, 2014.

  • All species and destination pages are now tabbed, reducing page length and allowing the visitor to focus on their interest.
  • Thumbnail images have been replaced with much larger preview images.
  • Full size photos are now presented in a light box, not on a separate page.
  • A new Video tab has been added to every species and destination page. The embedded videos are from YouTube, from other sources, and from visitors to MinnesotaSeasons.com (you).
  • A slide show has been added to every destination page.
  • All species pages now include IUCN Conservation status and NatureServe Conservation status.
  • All plant pages also include wetland indicator status, if assigned; and weed status, if appropriate.
  • All species and destination pages include links to allow visitors (you) to upload photos, videos, species sightings, and observations.

EDDMapS Location Data Added

Distribution maps for plants have been updated to include location data from Early Detection and Distribution Mapping System (EDDMapS). “EDDMapS is a web-based mapping system for documenting invasive species distribution… EDDMapS combines data from other databases and organizations as well as volunteer observations to create a national network of invasive species distribution data.”

EDDMapS lists 394 species in Minnesota. Not all the listed plants are a problem in Minnesota, but all of them are exotic to the U.S. and are listed as a problem somewhere in the U.S. Distribution maps for listed plants that appear on MinnesotaSeasons,com now include EDDSMapS observations.


Plant Distribution Maps Updated
In May 2013 the Minnesota DNR updated MNTaxa: The State of Minnesota Vascular Plant Checklist. It is now available on the DNR Website. It contains a statewide distribution by county map for each species listed. All plant distribution maps on MinnesotaSeasons.com have been updated with this new information.  

Russian olive

Recent Uploads

Lynn Connors uploaded 1 photo of Pileated Woodpecker 1/1/2015.

Kirk Nelson uploaded 3 photos of Lebanon Hills Regional Park 12/26/2014.

Kirk Nelson uploaded 1 photo of barn spider 12/23/2014.

Bill Reynolds uploaded 1 photo of small dung fly 12/1/2014.

Kirk Nelson uploaded 3 photos of barn spider 11/7/2014.

James Folden uploaded 2 photos of Purple-spored Puffball 11/3/2014.

Kirk Nelson uploaded 4 photos of Hyland Lake Park Reserve 11/2/2014.

Pamela Freeman uploaded 1 photo of Blanding’s turtle 10/29/2014.

Bill Reynolds uploaded 2 photos of maculated dung beetle 10/14/2014.

Bill Reynolds uploaded 1 photo of northern paper wasp 10/18/2014.

Bill Reynolds uploaded 2 photos of northern paper wasp 10/13/2014.

Bill Reynolds uploaded 2 photos of eastern yellowjacket 10/13/2014.

Brian Johnson uploaded 1 photo of western fox snake 10/13/2014.

Kirk Nelson uploaded 4 photos of Lake Elmo Park Reserve 10/12/2014.

Bill Reynolds uploaded 2 photos of German yellowjacket 10/3/2014.

Bill Reynolds uploaded 3 photos of camel cricket (Ceuthophilus sp.) 10/1/2014.

Bill Reynolds uploaded 1 photo of syrphid fly (Pseudodoros clavatus) 9/27/2014.

Bill Reynolds uploaded 1 photo of Virginia ctenucha 9/24/2014.

Bill Reynolds uploaded 1 photo of common green bottle fly 9/24/2014.

Bill Reynolds uploaded 1 photo of woolly bear caterpillar 9/22/2014.

Bill Reynolds uploaded 1 photo of clouded sulphur 9/22/2014.

Hyland Lake Park Reserve





northern paper wasp





Lake Elmo Park Reserve





camel cricket (Ceuthophilus sp.)





Isabella tiger moth





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