Natural Areas Enews
National Public Lands Day

The week of September 21-26 the Fort Collins community came together to celebrate and appreciate public lands, including those who originally stewarded these lands. National Public Lands Day is traditionally the nation's largest, single-day volunteer event for public lands. Normally, the Natural Areas Department hosts volunteer projects as part of the celebration. This year, the City of Fort Collins Natural Areas, Parks, Recreation, and Utilities departments joined forces on social media to host a virtual celebration including a photo contest (contest winner, John Bartholow's photo is above!).   

As an organization that is committed to equity for all, leading with race, the City of Fort Collins also wants to acknowledge a painful and powerful truth: Fort Collins is located on the ancestral homelands of the Arapaho, Cheyenne, and Ute peoples.

Colorado State University crafted a land acknowledgment video that was promoted as part of the National Public Lands Day to acknowledge the history of these lands and their original stewards. We were both humbled and honored to share the video during the City of Fort Collins' 2020 State of the City address.

Stewarding the Poudre River
In September 2020, the City of Fort Collins, in partnership with Colorado State University, repaired a damaged diversion structure at the Colorado State University Environmental Learning Center (ELC) to keep water flowing through a small side channel of the Cache la Poudre River. This work was critical for maintaining a water right that keeps flows in the Poudre River for fish, wildlife, and recreation at the ELC.
Learn more

Share Your Seeds | Get Seeds

Everyone is invited to the Trick or Treat Native Seed Swap
Saturday, October 24th from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Sugar Beet Park
Pre-registration for a time slot and masks are required. You do not need to provide seeds to participate in the event.

Colorado native plants are a beautiful addition to any garden and provide important resources for local wildlife and pollinators. New to saving seeds? It’s easy! Learn more on how to collect and clean seeds in this Video or this article. Please note that seed collection is not allowed on City of Fort Collins Natural Areas.

Organizers of the swap will be collecting seeds at drop off locations before the event and prepackaging seeds to minimize touching. If you have seeds you would like to share for the event, please email .

The Native Seed Swap is hosted by Nature in the City, People and Pollinators Action Network, Wildlands Restoration Volunteers, Colorado Native Plant Society and Front Range Wild Ones.

November 2 Deadline to Apply!

You can get funding to plan your community’s project to improve habitat and connect people to nature. From outdoor classrooms to community gardens, nature play areas to pollinator pathways, Nature in the City has funding to help you plan your own inspired project.  

Planning grants for up to $5,000 are available. Application materials are due by November 2nd.  

Explore past projects and learn how to apply at

Nature in the City

Gardening Volunteer Trio Honored This Month

Thank you Volunteer Gardeners at Nix Native Plant Garden, the Volunteers of the Month! Even though the Natural Areas Department offices have almost half of the staff working from home, there is much gratitude for the gardeners who come in two mornings a week to maintain the beautiful grounds. The second trio of Gardening volunteers will be celebrated next month. Here's what they said about why they volunteer:

When I moved to Colorado I gave up a large yard with perennials native and not. I enjoy witnessing the change of seasons through growing, blooming, pruning and returning again. Each person I work with has enriched the experience of simply weeding and offered me an opportunity to grow and bloom by learning so much about Colorado and planted the desire to return again. – Cynthia T.

"I volunteer because I like being outdoors AND I really like the group of people that volunteer at Nix.   I also can take pride in the difference our efforts make in keeping the native aspects of the garden while keeping the beloved bindweed and other weeds under control.  (Or at least we like to think we have the upper hand)."- Debbie O.

"My favorite thing about volunteering is meeting wonderful people, sharing knowledge about native plants and getting recommendations on trails and parks to visit. We also talk about wildlife, restaurants, books, movies, music and more. I’m also a firm believer that getting down on your knees and getting your hands in the dirt is good for the spirit and soul."- John E.

Thank you, Gardeners!

Volunteer Opportunities

Trail Closure at Riverbend Ponds Natural Area
A small section of trail at Riverbend Ponds Natural Area is closed for trail improvement work. The new section of boardwalk is expected to open on Monday, October 12. Please respect the closure.
Riverbend Ponds Natural Area

Free Upcoming Activities
Virtual Skygazing - Mars
Friday, 10/23/2020  |  7- 8 PM 

Join virtually via Facebook Live. Tune in at 7 pm for a short talk about Mars, then return a short while later to see the view of Mars through a telescope with volunteers from the Northern Colorado Astronomical Society. Videos will air on the main Natural Areas Facebook page.  The topic is: Humans on Mars? The red planet will be at its brightest and will join Saturn and Jupiter in the evening sky for the next 6 months. Explore the science and mystery of Mars and what it will take to get humans there someday. This virtual activity will last 10-15 minutes with time for questions. Hope to "see" you there!

Virtual Fireside Chat - Toads
Saturday, 10/24/2020  |  5:30- 6 PM

Tune in for a virtual fireside chat all about toads! You can learn all about the Natural Areas' latest research including, why toads are important to our ecosystem, and how to help. The program will be on the main Natural Areas Facebook page and will last 10-15 minutes with time for questions. Hope to "see" you there!

Friday, 11/20/2020  |  7 - 9:00 PM at Fossil Creek Reservoir Natural Area

Volunteers from Northern Colorado Astronomical Society will be available with large telescopes and lots of information about the night sky. Dress for cold temperatures. You are welcome to bring blankets and chairs. Heated restroom available. Visit for updates.

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Natural Areas News is published on the first Tuesday of the month with occasional special editions. Newsletter comments are welcome. Please contact Zoe Shark, City of Fort Collins Natural Areas Public Engagement Manager, 970-221-6311 or 

To learn more about Natural Areas, visit our website.

City of Fort Collins Natural Areas Department
PO Box 580, 1745 Hoffman Mill Road
Fort Collins, CO 80522