Natural Areas Enews
Trails for 2021: Ridge to Ridge Trail, Puente Verde Natural Area
Happy new year, everyone! Despite the challenges of 2020, two new trails were completed in natural areas. Resolve to check them out this year!

The 1.8 mile Ridge to Ridge Trail at Coyote Ridge Natural Area connects south to City of Loveland's new Prairie Ridge Natural Area. Its a great way to experience the foothills ecosystem on a fairly flat trail, open to hikers, equestrians, and bike riders (no dogs). Use this trail map to learn more and check the webcam for parking availability at Coyote Ridge before you go (parking at Prairie Ridge is typically more available).

Puente Verde Natural Area (Green Bridge in English) is located southeast of the intersection of Vine Drive and Taft Hill Road. A diagonal trail of recycled asphalt runs southwest across the site, about 0.3 miles. The bridge across the ditch is painted bright green! Puente Verde truly is a green bridge to nature. This area is part of a larger effort by multiple City departments and the County to improve bicycle and pedestrian access, connect people to nature, and provide neighborhood connectivity in northwest Fort Collins. Puente Verde helps connect schools, neighborhoods, the Poudre Trail, the Boys & Girls Club, and other nearby destinations.
Natural Areas Finder webpage

Share Your Voice on Plastics Pollution
City Council has identified reducing plastic pollution in the community as a priority and is seeking community input for developing a plastics reduction ordinance prior to an April ballot vote. Prioritizing plastic pollution, specifically single-use plastic pollution, will help protect the health of the Cache la Poudre River and make progress on our community’s zero waste and climate action goals.

Plastic pollution is often perceived to be an issue isolated to coastal areas, however it also impacts inland environments, including Fort Collins. Not all plastic can be or is recycled and its lightweight nature means that on windy days it can be carried out of trash and recycling bins and into the environment, including our rivers. Single-use plastics (plastic bags, straws, take-out containers, plastic utensils, expanded polystyrene, etc.) are especially problematic. Council’s plastic bag policy is a first step in a comprehensive approach to tackling the issue.

Community feedback on a proposed single-use plastic ordinance will help Council finalize the details of the ordinance and related ballot measure for the April 2021 municipal election. Join in the conversation and share feedback on proposed policy before January 10, 2021. Council will discuss proposed ordinance language during a Work Session on January 12, 2021 with tentative consideration at the February 2 and February 16 meetings.
Read the press release at https://www.fcgov.com/news/index.php?id=7927

Share feedback and learn more

David Bayer Volunteer of the Month
We are in awe of David who has volunteered almost 800 hours for the Natural Areas Department since 2012!  We share our deep appreciation for how during 2020 he has been a steadfast force and has volunteered for many activities.

David said, "Observing anything about the natural world has been my lifelong passion both as a teacher and now as a Volunteer Naturalist."

Thank you so very much, David!
Volunteer Opportunities

Awarded: 2021 Dream It Up Grants

The Nature in the City grant evaluation committee was truly inspired by the ideas submitted for Dream it Up grants. The committee wishes the ideas submitted could all be funded. It is wonderful to see so much interest in creating and preserving more natural spaces, helping to create nature access for all, and working to inspire stewardship among neighborhoods.

This year’s Nature in the City planning grant cycle attracted over 20 project ideas requesting more than $73,000. Nature in the City is allocating just under $35,000 for 11 projects, ranging from pollinator alleyways to neighborhoods working together to add pollinator and bird-friendly gardens, to new natural play and relaxation areas in shared spaces. 

In the fall of 2021, you can apply for 2022 funding through Make it Happen: Implementation Grants to support projects that were planned in 2021 or other new projects.

Nature in the City

Winter Nature Walks & Virtual Fireside Fridays
Winter Nature Walks
Join a naturalist for a walking adventure and wildlife viewing, free, registration required (click on links below to register).
Stewardship Behind the Scenery:  A Swiftly Tilting Climate (online via Zoom)
Wed. January 13, 6- 7:30 PM | Free, Registration Required

These informative talks are designed for adults to learn more about research in natural areas and how their unique and valuable natural resources are stewarded. This month's topic: A Swiftly Tilting Climate will explore how a changing climate can affect how ecosystems survive and thrive. Join Natural Area’s Environmental Planner Bernadette Kuhn and SHIFT Fort Collins to discover how you can help. The link and password for the Zoom meeting will be sent out the day before the program. 

Virtual Fireside Fridays
Tune in for a virtual fireside chat on Friday evenings, 6:30-7 p.m. on facebook live, free, no registration required but you can sign up for updates and get a reminder at fcgov.com/register
Calendar of free activities

Eagle Watches Now Through February
Bald eagles from the north make Fort Collins their winter home. They spend nights in communal roosts in cottonwood trees near Fossil Creek Reservoir. During Eagle Watches, friendly Volunteer Naturalists explain the eagles’ natural history and help visitors view them through spotting scopes.

Eagle Watches are offered each Saturday in January and February, from 3:00-4:20 p.m. at Fossil Creek Reservoir Natural Area. Register for your desired 30-minute slot and check-in with volunteers when you arrive. After checking-in, participants will head down to the pier, where no more than 10 people will be allowed at a time to look at eagles through spotting scopes. At the end of your Eagle Watch, you may explore the rest of Fossil Creek Reservoir Natural Area on your own.

If temperatures are below freezing, or it’s windy or foggy, the Eagle Watches may be canceled. Free, registration required.
Calendar of free activities

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 zshark@fcgov.com. 

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