March 2016
Naturally Yours
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Free Activities in March


Artistic Nature Walk
Saturday, March 5, 1:00-3:00 p.m.
Nix Natural Areas Department Offices, 1745 Hoffman Mill Road.
Walk along the Poudre River to discover natural shapes and sculptures that inspired the Natural Shift exhibit at the Fort Collins Museum of Art. Natural Shift shows nature inspired forms of sculpture from four artists including Charlotte Nichols form Fort Collins, until March 20. Free, family-friendly, no registration required but you can get a reminder and updates by signing up at

Saturday, March 12, 7:00 – 9:00 p.m. and Saturday, March 26, 7:00-9:00 p.m.
Fossil Creek Reservoir Natural Area, meet in the parking lot off Carpenter Road.
Enjoy viewing the night sky with telescopes and knowledgeable volunteers provided by the Northern Colorado Astronomical Society. Dress warmly and bring a blanket or chair to sit on. Free, no registration required but you can get a reminder and updates by signing up at For weather updates and cancellations, visit the NCAS website at

Connect People to Nature


Become a Master Naturalist volunteer! Applications are due Tuesday, March 15.
The City of Fort Collins is seeking volunteers who care about natural areas to share their enthusiasm with others as educators. Master Naturalist volunteers learn about ecology, public speaking skills, and how to lead a variety of activities, including school field trips, on the natural areas. Often, Master Naturalists form lasting friendships with others who share their interests. Full job description here. Apply at (you must login or create an account in NatureTracker).

Resources for Native Plant Gardening


As the weather becomes warmer, thoughts often turn to gardening.  If you are installing new plants, please consider planting Fort Collins natives. They generally use less water, are hardier, and are more disease resistant than non-native species. The Natural Areas Native Plants website is helpful and this handy brochure is a great resource to take with you when shopping.

Nature In the City


Fort Collins’s award-winning commitment to outdoor recreation and conservation is being taken one step further with a bold initiative to make nature accessible to all residents within a 10-minute walk. Nature in the City will leverage the over 20,000 acres of already conserved habitat, and partner with developers, neighborhoods, and homeowners for even more wildlife habitat on private lands. Nature in the City is now part of the Natural Areas Department. Everyday citizens will have the chance to get involved this summer by becoming citizen scientists. Nature in the City is going make Fort Collins an even better place to live for people and wildlife! Watch this newsletter for updates.

Bald Eagles are Nesting Here


Bald eagle populations have been challenged in the past by loss of habitat, pesticides, illegal shooting, and human disturbance.  The good news is that bald eagle populations have steadily increased since the 1970’s when the pesticide DDT was banned and they were protected by the Endangered Species Act.  Colorado now hosts around 30 bald eagle nests, including one at Fossil Creek Reservoir Natural Area.  This breeding pair has returned to the same nest since 2013!  During nesting, bald eagles are very sensitive to human disturbance so it is  special that they were able to find a place to nest in an urban setting. Look for the eagle nest with binoculars from the Sandpiper Trail, it is on the northwest side of the reservoir.

Trail Recommendations for Spring


Soapstone Prairie Natural Area reopens for the season today, March 1! Not all trails will be open due to lingering snow and mud. The trails at Red Mountain Open Space, managed by Larimer County also will be open. Bison may be visible from several viewing areas; map and safety tips are in the Seeing Bison at Soapstone Prairie brochure.

Please check the trail status page for up-to-date trail conditions and closure information before heading out to Soapstone Prairie Natural Area. Visitors tend to underestimate the trails and remoteness of this special site so please be prepared.

In a few weeks, after it dries out, try Towhee Trail which gets you into the rolling hills and canyons on a 3 mile loop with 420 feet of elevation gain.  It's a favorite for hikers (bikes and horses not allowed).  Keep your eye open for deer in the shrubs and enjoy the panoramic views!

The Lindenmeier Trail is an easy and paved 1/4 mile to an overlook with displays about the archaeological site nearby. It is great for families or those with limited mobility (it is wheelchair and stroller accessible). Bring a picnic to eat in the shelters at the North Parking Lot and then enjoy a short stroll to the overlook.

Cheyenne Rim Trail is currently closed- try Pronghorn Loop instead, 7.5 miles. Pronghorn is great for cyclists and equestrians wanting a gently rolling ride across the expansive shortgrass prairie landscape. Hikers might enjoy a "there and back" on the 2.3 mile or 2.4 mile sides of the loop for a nearly 5 mile roundtrip from the South Parking Lot.


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 Shark, City of Fort Collins Natural Areas Community Relations Manager, 970-221-6311 or

To learn more about Natural Areas, visit our website.

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