Natural Areas Enews
Wetland Restoration Shows Early Signs of Success

An important part of the Natural Areas Department’s mission is restoring wildlife and native plant habitat. Before the restoration of Gadwall Pond at Kingfisher Point Natural Area, the steeply sloping banks of the pond provided little wetland habitat for breeding amphibians. During the restoration, completed in 2018, the pond banks were graded to form gentle slopes, allowing for wetland vegetation plantings to support a variety of wildlife including frogs and toads.

A native amphibian survey was conducted before and after the restoration project to establish a baseline and determine the success of the ecological goals. The initial results show a clear increase in Woodhouse’s toad calls which suggests successful habitat establishment. 

Learn More About Gadwall Pond Restoration

Spring Migration and your Lights?

There are so many ways to encourage nature in the City of Fort Collins. One such opportunity is reducing light pollution during spring and fall migration seasons, especially between midnight and dawn. According to the National Audubon Society, 70% of birds in North America migrate and 80% of those migrate at night. Birds have evolved to fly at night when the temperatures are cooler, air is less turbulent and there are fewer predators. As with many nocturnal animals, artificial light can disorient birds causing millions to die each year. The International Dark Skies Association and The Audubon Society have partnered on national Lights Out Programs in a growing list of cities, including Fort Collins!

Learn more: International Dark Skies  and Audubon Society

Dark Skies Week
April 5 marks the start of International Dark Sky Week! Did you know that, according to the International Dark-Sky Association, 83% of the world's population now lives under light-polluted skies?

The Natural Areas Department offers Skygazing programs both in person and on Facebook Live. Soapstone Prairie, Bobcat Ridge, and Fossil Creek Reservoir Natural Areas are some of the best places to observe the night sky.
Dark Skies Week

NISP SPAR Neighborhood Meeting Scheduled

The Northern Integrated Supply Project (NISP) is a proposed water supply and storage project that will serve 15 communities and water districts in northern Colorado. The neighborhood meeting for the NISP Site Plan Advisory Review (SPAR) has been scheduled for Wednesday, April 21 at  6 p.m. Neighborhood meetings are designed for residents to see early plans, ask questions, make suggestions, and flag areas of concern.  The meeting will include presentations from City staff and applicants, and time for community questions.   

This meeting will be entirely remote.  Zoom information will be available online at fcgov.com/developmentreview/proposals 48 hours in advance of the meeting.  A livestream of the meeting will also be available on YouTube.

Access the NISP Neighborhood Meeting Link

Learn About Native Plant Gardening

Colorado State University and Audubon Rockies are offering workshops for community members to learn about native plant gardening and receive $40 in coupons to purchase native plants. There will be 10 free online workshops from March-May this year. Gardeners of all skill levels are all welcome!

Wildlife-friendly gardening is one of the most rewarding ways you can benefit birds, pollinators, and other wildlife with your own two hands. In the face of habitat loss, it’s imperative that we all do our part to restore wildlife habitat, one garden at a time

Free Online Workshops

Volunteer Group of the Month- Eagle Watch Volunteers

This Volunteer Group of the Month is Eagle Watch Volunteers! These dedicated eagle-lovers share their enthusiasm with community members in all types of weather. 

Thank you, volunteers! AJ Chlebnik, Natural Areas Public Engagement Specialist, shared, "Eagle Watches would absolutely not happen without these volunteers. They are vital to the continuation of the program. I am so grateful for their ability to be flexible and adaptable to the circumstances this year. Thanks for all of your service to the community!"

Find Out More about Volunteering

Free Upcoming Activities and Volunteer Training
Earth Day Action: Live at Lunch Virtual Series - Live Fish Tales with Colorado Parks and Wildlife  Thursday, April 8 |  1 p.m.

Native fish like darters, topminnows, and suckers live in the Poudre River. Join us to watch Colorado Parks and Wildlife showcase live fish and share some cool facts about their life history. 

Earth Day Action: Live at Lunch Virtual Series - Important Bird Areas  Friday, April 16 | noon

The Poudre River has an "Important Bird Area" designation recognized by the City of Fort Collins. Join Fort Collins Audubon to learn about how the beautiful Poudre River is vital to the birds and other wildlife that depend upon it. 

Earth Day Action: Live at Lunch Virtual Series - Birds and Cats  Friday, April 30 |  noon

Cats are our beloved pets. Fort Collins Audubon shares some tips to keep our fabulous felines AND feathered friends safe and healthy. 

Volunteer Naturalist Assistant Training  Friday, May 14 - Sunday, May 16 

Volunteer Naturalist Assistants (VNA) serve as important aids to Volunteer Naturalists and staff. VNA and Crew Leader training will be combined in 2021. VNAs assist with group management, props, and activities at school programs, trailhead tabling, and one-day volunteer projects. It’s a great way to gain experience in interpretation, natural history, stewardship, and group management. 

Nature in the City Biodiversity Monitoring Training Tuesday, May 18   |   5:30 p.m.

Everyone is invited to help gather information about wildlife in Fort Collins as a Community Science Biodiversity Project volunteer this spring and summer. It’s a great way to get outside and enjoy the city’s natural spaces as volunteers will be looking for birds and butterflies. 

Register for Free Natural Areas Programs

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