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This newsletter was originally sent on Oct 1, 2013.
OCTOBER 2013
Naturally Yours
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Flood Update

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Our thoughts are with everyone impacted by the recent flooding. On the natural areas front there is good news: the flooding caused the Natural Areas Department to do some clean-up and activity cancelations, but all in all, natural areas and trails weathered the storm pretty well.  Thankfully, natural areas along the Cache La Poudre river absorbed flood waters and prevented damage to homes and businesses. The paved Poudre Trail is now open, and most natural areas are open (except for Bobcat Ridge, two trails at Gateway, and the Cheyenne Rim trail at Soapstone Prairie). The flooding was interesting to watch (from afar!) you can use the city's interactive map to see more flood photos.

You Can Help with Flood Recovery

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Come to the Poudre River Flood Clean-up! Saturday, October 5, 9 a.m.- noon, Lee Martinez Park, 600 N. Sherwood St. lower parking lot by tennis courts.
Lend a hand and clean-up the Cache la Poudre River corridor! Wear long pants, closed-toe shoes and bring work gloves and water. Trash bags and snacks provided. Rain or shine! Volunteers must be 18 or older to work with flood debris. Free, no registration required, but you can get a reminder and updates from NatureTracker. You'll need a free account (name, phone number, email is all that is required).

You can also use this list of volunteer opportunities from United Way or the City's flood resources page.

Restoration Underway

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An ecological restoration project is underway at North Shields Ponds Natural Area! Some trails are closed for your safety. Closure includes the trail on the north side of the eastern pond, and the south side of the western pond. The project will create five acres of wetlands, lower the steep and unnatural river banks and remove the Josh Ames diversion structure for safety, recreation and aquatic habitat. Five local breweries and the Colorado Water Trust came together to raise over $300,000 for the removal of the diversion structure- thank you! Work will continue through June of 2014 if all goes as planned. Trail closure map >>>

Learn more on North Shields Ponds' website or contact Rick Bachand, Environmental Program Manager, 970-416-2183, rbachand@fcgov.com .

Poudre Trail Closure for Woodward Project

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The former Link-N-Greens golf course at Lincoln St. and Lemay St. is being transformed into the Woodward Technology Center.  As part of the project, 31 acres of river buffer are being transfered to the Natural Areas Department and Woodward is financially supporting restoration of the river buffer. While the City strives to avoid trail closures, it is unavoidable to close the Poudre Trail when grading and restoration begin.  The Poudre Trail will be closed between Lincoln and Lemay (the underpasses at Mulberry and at Lemay will remain open) from October 1 until spring 2014. Read the press release here.

Free mulch (from the trees that were removed as part of the construction) will be available on October 4, courtsey of Mortensen Construction, check the City's Woodward website to learn more.

Updated Natural Areas Map

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The Natural Areas Department recently updated our large map brochure.  While there weren't major changes, we thought you might want to see the new version.  You can find printed copies at Natural Area trailheads, or we can mail you one; simply email your request, including your mailing address, to naturalareas@fcgov.com or call 970-416-2815 (Monday- Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.).

Free Upcoming Activities and Volunteer Opportunities

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Soapstone Surprise, Saturday, October 5, 9-10:30 a.m., Soapstone Prairie Natural Area, meet at the north parking lot. Discover the amazing archaeological and natural secrets of this special place. Hike with a naturalist after the program if desired. Bring water to drink and snacks. No registration required, but you can get a reminder and updates by signing up at http://naturetracker.fcgov.com.

Bobcat Ridge Basics, Monday, October 7, 9 a.m.-1 p.m., Bobcat Ridge Natural Area, meet at parking lot. Discover how the natural world collides with history. Visit homestead buildings, learn about pioneer history, and the amazing diversity of wildlife, captured in photos by motion-triggered cameras. Bring water to drink, lunch, and sunscreen. 3-4 miles, easy to moderate. No registration required, but you can get a reminder and updates by signing up at http://naturetracker.fcgov.com.

Wild by Wild, Saturday, October 12, 10 a.m. - 4 p.m., Fort Collins Museum of Discovery, 408 Mason Court.  Marvel at candid photos of local wildlife taken BY local wildlife with remote sensor camaras at Bobcat Ridge Natural Area and other public lands. Meet project scientists, enjoy booths and displays, vote for your favorite picture and purchase unique gifts. Free, no registration required.

Astronomy Day: Reach for the Stars!, Sat. Oct. 12, 6:00-7:30 p.m., Fossil Creek Reservoir Regional Open Space. Reach for the stars and expand your curiosity to celebrate Astronomy Day. Come to the Fossil Creek Reservoir Regional Open Space parking lot on Carpenter Road from 6:00-7:30 p.m. for hands-on astronomy activities, followed by skygazing with telescopes provided by the Northern Colorado Astronomical Society. No registration required, but you can get a reminder and updates by signing up at http://naturetracker.fcgov.com.

Hike to a Homestead, Sunday, October 13, 9 a.m.-2 p.m., Soapstone Prairie Natural Area, meet at south parking lot. Learn about the early history of the settlers who braved this harsh landscape. Visit several homestead ruins and hear stories about the families who lived here. Bring plenty of water, lunch, snacks, and sun protection. 6 miles, moderate-strenuous.  REGISTRATION REQUIRED at http://naturetracker.fcgov.com.

Make a Difference Week, October 21-27. The Natural Areas Department will be offering multiple volunteer opportunities and so will dozens of other organizations in Larimer County. Registration required. To learn more or sign up for a project, visit United Way's website, http://uwaylc.org/

Nature at Noon: Soapstone’s Special Flora, Tuesday, October 22, 12:00-1:00 p.m., Community Room, 215 N. Mason (enter on north side of building). Get an overview of the unusual and interesting species of plants, including rare and new species, found at Soapstone Prairie by Dina Clark of the CU Museum of Natural History Herbarium and Pam Regensberg of Denver Botanic Gardens. No registration required, but you can get a reminder and updates by signing up at http://naturetracker.fcgov.com.

Tell Me More About Our Galaxy Neighborhood, Saturday, October 26, 5:45-9:00 p.m., Bobcat Ridge Natural Area, meet at the picnic shelter, 1/8 mile from the parking lot. Enjoy a brief family-friendly astronomy program followed by skygazing with telescopes provided by the Northern Colorado Astronomical Society. Dress warmly, bring water, and a jacket. Please arrive on time—entrance gate closes after start. REGISTRATION REQUIRED at http://naturetracker.fcgov.com.

Wise Owls & Buggy Bats, Sunday, October 27, 5:00-6:30 p.m., Bobcat Ridge Natural Area, meet at the picnic shelter, 1/8 mile from the parking lot. Discover the secrets of night creatures, and dispel some of the myths. Listen and watch for signs of night life as darkness approaches.  No registration required, but you can get a reminder and updates by signing up at http://naturetracker.fcgov.com

Natural Areas Passport, Now through November 15. Everyone is invited to celebrate 20 years of natural areas with the Passport to the Natural Areas.  It is a checklist of natural areas to visit and free activities.  Complete your passport for a prize and to be entered into a drawing for a backpack full of outdoor supplies. The free Passport brochure is available online at fcgov.com/naturalareas and in natural area trailhead brochure boxes.

 

Twenty Years of Natural Areas

It has been two decades since the first citizen-initated sales tax that funds natural areas. Voters have approved sales tax funding four more times since then, thank you! Fort Collins has conserved over 40,000 acres with 39 natural areas to explore and over 100 miles of trail. Everyone is invited to help celebrate the 20th anniversary, join the fun!

naturalareaslogo.gif Natural Areas News is published on the first Tuesday of the month with occasional special editions. Newsletter comments are welcome. Please contact Zoe Whyman, City of Fort Collins Natural Areas Community Relations Manager, 970-221-6311 or zwhyman@fcgov.com.

To learn more about Natural Areas, visit our website.

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