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City of Fort Collins Welcomes Endangered Black-footed Ferrets Home

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The City of Fort Collins Natural Areas Department, Fort Collins Utilities and several partners have received City Council approval and are reintroducing endangered black-footed ferrets to Soapstone Prairie Natural Area and Meadow Springs Ranch. Everyone is invited to a ceremony celebrating the release, Wednesday, September 3, 4-7 p.m. at Soapstone Prairie’s south parking lot. Speeches in the south parking lot will be followed by a 1 mile hike to the release site. Participants will witness the first ferret release by a municipality from a viewing point about ¼ mile away.  There will be very limited photography opportunities. Free, no registration is required, but a reminder and updates are available by signing up at . Learn more >>>

Free Upcoming Activities

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Nature Nuggets—Amazing Ants Thursday, August 28, 9:30-10:30 a.m.; repeated at 11:00 a.m.-noon, Fossil Creek Reservoir Natural Area, meet at the program shelter near the parking lot, off Carpenter Road. These clever social insects are more like us than you may think. Interactive program with fun facts, activities, and crafts for children ages 3-7 and parents. Parent must stay with child during the program. Groups or day care centers should contact to schedule a separate time. Come at either 9:30 or 11 a.m. Free, no registration required, but you can get a reminder and updates by signing up at

Wildlife Cameras for Research and Outreach, Thursday, August 28, 7:30-8:30 p.m., Fort Collins Museum of Discovery, 408 Mason Court, meet at the museum entrance.Learn how Colorado State University undergraduates are utilizing motion-triggered cameras at Pineridge and Bobcat Ridge natural areas for research projects. CSU students also work with Boltz Middle School teachers to help sixth graders draw real-life connections to their ecology curriculum. Hear about their research and outreach efforts and see images projected in the museum dome. Free, REGISTRATION REQUIRED at

Trail Work with Trailcology, Saturday, August 30, 8:30 a.m.- 1 p.m., Bobcat Ridge Natural Area. Trailcology has adopted the Ginny Trail and is hosting a trail work day including cleaning and improving water drainage features, closing and rehabilitating social trails and improving a wooden bridge.  Volunteers will be carrying tools 4-8 miles over rocky terrain.  No experience necessary, please wear appropriate clothing and sturdy footwear.  Please email Chris Herron at Trailcology to register and learn more,

See more upcoming events at

Help Preserve Open Spaces

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Larimer County’s Help Preserve Open Spaces sales tax funds approximately 38% of the Natural Areas Department’s operations.  It expires in 2018.  The renewal of the tax was referred to the November ballot by the Larimer County Commissioners on July 29, 2014.  Learn more >>>

Lindenmeier: Ancient Lives, Ancient Dreams

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This unique symposium brings together world renowned
archeologists, for the first time, to share their knowledge about this National Historic Landmark and its significance. Keynote speaker is Dr. Ed Wilmsen, author of publications summarizing the findings of the Smithsonian excavation in the 1930s. Other featured experts:Dr. Jason LaBelle, Dr. Fredrick Sallet, Dr. Margaret Jodry, Dr. Dennis Stanford. Sponsored by the Natural Areas Department and the Fort Collins Museum of Discovery. Registration is $175.  Space is limited. Learn more >>>

Natural Areas Master Plan

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The Natural Areas Master Plan sets the direction for the next ten years of natural areas.   Learn more about the plan here. The Draft Natural Areas Master Plan was revised for the August 12 City Council work session. A Draft Executive Summary has also been prepared for City Council review.

Soapstone Then and Now: A Special Series of Events 2014

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Eighty years ago, scientists from the Smithsonian Institution arrived at what is now Soapstone Prairie and validated one of the most amazing discoveries of the time. Their research provided proof that people lived in this area at least 11,000 years ago and possibly longer. In 2014, you are invited to celebrate the importance of Soapstone Prairie Natural Area to people of the past, as well as the significance of this unique site today and into the future.

Soapstone Surprise, Sunday, September 14, 9 a.m. to 10:30 a.m., Soapstone Prairie Natural Area, meet at the north parking lot.  Discover amazing archaelogical and natural secrets and find out why this site is so important to conserve.  Bring water and sunscreen.  1/2 to 3 miles, easy. Free, no registration required, but you can get a reminder and updates at .

Hike to a Homestead, Saturday, September 20, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., Soapstone Prairie Natural Area, meet at the south parking lot.  Visit several homestead ruins and hear stories about pioneer families.  Bring plenty of water, food and sunscreen. 6 miles, moderate-strenuous.  REGISTRATION REQUIRED at .

Folsom Hunter's Guide, Sunday, September 21, 10-11 a.m., Soapstone Prairie Natural Area, meet at the north parking lot.  Learn about the legacies of ancient predators and grazers and what the well-prepared Soapstone dweller used to garnish her bison steak.  1/2 mile on paved trail, easy. Free, no registration required, but you can get a reminder and updates at .

Natural Areas

Physical Address: 1745 Hoffman Mill Road, Fort Collins, CO 80524
Mailing Address: PO Box 580, Ft. Collins, CO 80522-0580
Phone: (970) 416-2815
Fax: (970) 416-2211
Normal Business Hours: 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Friday
Directions: From Lemay (the part of Lemay between Riverside and Mulberry), turn east onto Poudre River Drive. Follow Poudre River Drive as it curves, changes names to Hoffman Mill Road and eventually dead-ends at Nix Natural Area and the Natural Areas Department's offices.

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Yours to Explore
Naturally Yours: About Us
Yours to Treasure: Volunteering and Stewardship