August 2016
Naturally Yours
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Wade the River


Everyone is invited to get wet!  Wade the river with dip nets and colleting trays to discover what lives beneath the surface of the Cache la Poudre River. Biologists will be on-hand to help identify your finds. Fishes, insects, larvae, algae and more are easily seen with field microscopes.

Saturday, August 6, 1:00- 4:00 Lee Martinez Park, 600 North Sherwood Street.

All equipment is provided. Bring your own towels, wear closed-toe shoes that can get wet, and sun and mosquito protection. Free, no registration required but you can get a reminder and updates by signing up at 

Rare Bird Spotted at Soapstone Prairie


Baird's sparrows (Ammodramus bairdii) are rare and elusive, yet biologists from Bird Conservancy of the Rockies have confirmed their presence at Soapstone Prairie Natural Area. No eggs or nests have been spotted, but both males and females have been observed singing and interacting- typical mating behavior. In the event that nests are located, it will be the first record of this species breeding in Colorado. Those wanting to catch a glimpse of this special bird should try the Pronghorn Loop Trail, especially the easternmost two miles. Visitors are reminded that Soapstone Prairie is an on-trail only site, open during daylight hours. Read more >>>

Four Newly Named Natural Areas


Four new natural areas have been added to Fort Collins' extensive network. Two of the sites will be open to the public within a year and access to the other two sites is expected after management planning efforts, public input, and trail construction. The newly named sites are Goose Hollow, Tanglewood (shown here), Flores del Sol and Soaring Vista.

Share Your Thoughts About Wildlife Management


Did you miss the Open House and Forum about the City of Fort Collins’ approach to wildlife management and prairie dogs on 7/28?  Wildlife management on City-owned natural areas is shaped by the Wildlife Management Guidelines.  Wildlife protection and management on private land is regulated by the City’s Land Use Code. Read the summary of the proposed updates to the Wildlife Management Guidelines and proposed options for  Land Use Code changes (pdf).  Please use this comment form if you are unable to attend the Open House.

Bye, Bye Cheatgrass! Innovative Weed Treatment


Cheatgrass is a state-listed noxious weed that takes over native ecosystems.  When cheatgrass dominates, it means native plants aren't providing food and shelter for native wildlife, eliminating habitat. Cheatgrass is a serious fire risks as it dries out early in the summer.  While herbicide application is effective at controlling cheatgrass, one challenge is treating it on steep-sloped natural areas inaccessible by ground-based equipment. 

Last fall, herbicide was applied by helicopter to 20 acres at Reservoir Ridge Natural Area. We are pleased to report that cheatgrass was reduced significantly!  Because of the pilot project's positive results, more treatments are planned this fall.  Effectiveness will be monitored including ensuring no impacts to non-target shrubs including mountain mahogany. 

Free Upcoming Activities


Poudre River Walk, Tuesday, August 9, 9:30-11 a.m. Poudre River Natural Areas, meet at the parking lot near the tennis courts at Lee Martinez Park. Enjoy a leisurely walk along the Poudre Trail. We will explore the dance between the river and land and observe animal and plant life. Bring binoculars or borrow from us. 1-2 miles; easy. Free, no registration required but you can get a reminder and updates by signing up at

Nature Nuggets- Forests Big & Small, Thursday, August 11, 9:30-10:30 a.m. or 11 a.m.-12 p.m. Riverbend Ponds Natural Area, meet at the parking lot off Timberline and Cairnes Dr. What is the forest like for a bird? A bug? A bear? Let’s investigate! Bring your little ones (ages 3-7 years) to learn about nature with stories and hands-on activities. Parents/guardians must be present at all times. Free, registration required at

Artists’ Day in the Field, Friday, August 12, 9 a.m.-12 p.m. Soapstone Prairie Natural Area, meet at the north parking lot. For new and experienced artists. Hike the Towhee Trail and sketch or paint the wildlife and scenery in the footsteps of Edwin Cassedy, the Smithsonian artist for the famous Lindenmeier excavation. Bring water, snacks, sun protection, closed-toe shoes, and your choice of art supplies. 3 miles; easy. Free, registration required at

Perseid Meteor Shower Skygazing, Friday, August 12, 8:30-10:30 p.m. Fossil Creek Reservoir Natural Area, meet at the parking lot. Volunteers from the Northern Colorado Astronomical Society provide telescopes for your viewing pleasure and share their knowledge about stars, planets, galaxies, and more. Dress warmly and bring a blanket or chair to sit on. Meet in the parking lot. Free, no registration required but you can get a reminder and updates by signing up at

Geology Exploration: Walk the Gangplank Saturday, August 13, 9 a.m.-2:30 p.m. Soapstone Prairie Natural Area, meet in the north parking lot. Hike with a friendly and fun geologist to uncover the secrets of how the landscape formed.  Discover the geologic secrets of rocks shed from the Rocky Mountains and how these influence human and wildlife activity. Bring sun protection, lunch, water, sturdy shoes, and rain gear. 5-6 miles; moderate. Free, registration required at

Wildflowers through the Seasons, Tuesday, August 16, 5:30-7:30 p.m. Bobcat Ridge Natural Area, meet at the parking lot. Walk with us every 3rd Tuesday of the month, May to August, to see what is in bloom and learn about native plants. 1-2 miles; easy. Free, registration required at

Adult Night Walk, Wednesday, August 17, 7:30-9:30 p.m. Location provided at registration. Adults experience a long walk with a Master Naturalist and time for reflection.  Walks are offered near the full moon with lots of natural light—no need for flashlights! Dress warmly, wear closed-toe walking shoes, and bring water to drink. Children 16 and older may come to adult hikes but must be accompanied by parents. ½-2 miles, easy. Free, registration required at

Search and Rescue Demonstration, Friday, August 19, 9-11 a.m. Nix Farm, 1745 Hoffman Mill Rd Bring the whole family to learn tips for staying safe when lost, and see a live demonstration of Larimer County Search and Rescue’s techniques–– including a search by one of their trained canines! Free, registration required at

Many more activities are listed on the NatureTracker calendar (no login necessary to see the calendar)!


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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