Natural Areas Enews
Kestrel Fields Natural Area Update

Thank you to everyone who shared feedback this spring about Kestrel Fields, a natural area in northwest Fort Collins that will be open to the public in the first quarter of next year. More than half of the participants recommended a realigned trail. The new trail alignment shown here will:

  • Connect the trail to Havel Ave
  • Eliminate a proposed trail loop on the west side
  • Create a trail loop around the farming operation, open seasonally, November- April
  • Maintain habitat with future improvements planned

Next steps include securing multiple permits from Larimer County and then trail construction can begin. If all goes to plan, Kestrel Fields will be on track for opening to the community in the first quarter of 2023. Updates will be provided in this newsletter and on the Kestrel Fields webpage.

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O.P.E.N. Fort Collins is almost here!

Experience the beauty and diversity of nature in Fort Collins with self-guided hikes, scavenger hunts, BIPOC-owned and -led businesses, music, dancing, and more! Join OPEN Fort Collins on September 17th for a celebration of community and nature. OPEN (Opportunities for People to Engage in Nature) is presented by City of Fort Collins Natural Areas and CSU Warner College Office of Diversity and Inclusion.

Learn More

Apply to be a Volunteer Naturalist!

Give back to your community as a Volunteer Naturalist! Volunteer Naturalists (VN's) are highly trained volunteer educators who share their knowledge and experience with the community. As a Volunteer Naturalist, you will experience beautiful natural areas while you learn how to lead fun, hands-on field trips. VN Training is required and will be held this year on October 25-28 and November 1, 3, 5, 8, 10, 12, and 15. There are only 20 slots available for this training, so sign up as soon as you can to reserve your spot! 

Apply today!

National Public Lands Day

Give back to your local natural areas on National Public Lands Day on Saturday, September 24! This project will work with volunteers to repair publicly accessible trails through the realignment of an existing trail that does not meet sustainability standards and continues to suffer from the effects of erosion. Volunteer with Natural Areas and learn trail design, construction, and maintenance techniques that provide quality visitor experiences along public trails. Lunch, volunteer gifts, and a chance to fabulous prizes will be available!


Project Planning Grant Applications Now Available

Applications are NOW OPEN for Nature in the City planning grants! Have an idea for a nature play area, outdoor gathering space, or pollinator restorations? The Dream it Up Project Planning grants can help you and your community plan out your dream project. Anyone from HOA's, faith-based organizations, affordable housing communities, and even schools are welcome and encouraged to apply. Get started!

Apply for a grant

LGBTQ+ Hike on September 11

Pride hikes are back! Come hike with Natural Areas on Sunday, September 11! Explore natural areas and their importance to our local ecosystems and our own mental health and wellness. Hikes are intended to be a safe and inclusive space. Allies are welcome. 

Sign Up

Free Programs and Activities

Campfire at Nix Farm- Antlered Animals | Friday, September 9 | 6:30-8 p.m. | Nix Farm | Registration Required
Spend a cozy evening by the campfire, complete with stories and s’mores! These programs are suitable for all ages. Antlered Animals - What are antlers made of anyway? And what are they for? Learn about our antlered animal friends and how their antlers help them to survive.

Wade the River | Saturday, September 10 | Session 1: 9-9:30 a.m. | Session 2: 9:45-10:15 a.m. | Lee Martinez Park| Registration Required
All ages are welcome! Use dip nets and collecting trays to discover what lives beneath the surface of the Cache la Poudre River. Biologists will be on hand to help identify your finds. All dip netting equipment is provided.

Skygazing | Saturday, September 17 | 7:30-10 p.m. | Soapstone Prairie
Enjoy a very special night to celebrate dark skies at Soapstone Prairie. Learn about the benefits of a dark sky for humans and wildlife. Then enjoy viewing through telescopes with members of the Northern Colorado Astronomical Society. 

Bring on the Floods! | Wednesday, September 21 | 6-7:30 p.m. | Red Fox Meadows | Registration Required
In this program, we will take a closer look at what’s happening in the farm fields and how the City is restoring the surrounding land to support the community, wildlife, and local agriculture.

Walk the Gangplank | Saturday, September 24 | 9 a.m.-3 p.m. | Soapstone Prairie | Registration Required 
Soapstone contains the sediments shed off the relatively young Rocky Mountains that formed the High Plains. Although these were subsequently eroded to form the Platte River Valley, along the Cheyenne Divide at Soapstone they remained and formed the "Gangplank", a term used for the gentle slope up to the Laramie Mountains along which the Union Pacific Railroad was built west from Cheyenne.

Qui Gong in Nature | Sunday, September 25 | 2-4:30 p.m. | Gateway Natural Area | Registration Required 
Take a short hike to a soothing spot in nature. Enjoy the natural areas and nourish yourself with Qi Gong. Beginners and experienced are welcome.

History Underfoot | Friday, September 30 | 2 - 4:30 p.m. | Arapaho Bend Natural Area | Registration Required 
Discuss original homesteaders from Paleo-Indians to the Arapaho and Cheyenne bands that call the area home. Hear stories about Chief Friday, the Buss family, George Strauss, and the Sherwood Ranch.

View the Event Calendar

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