Natural Areas Enews
Get Outside in 2020
Do your resolutions involve getting outside more in the new year? Time in nature supports mental and physical health, and it can be a great way to connect with others.
Here are some resolutions we highlighted on facebook and twitter last week:
Learn how you can make a difference for natural areas and the community at the next Volunteer Information Session, January 22- click below to learn more and sign up.
We hope your 2020 is full of wonderful experiences and memories in natural areas.
Volunteer information session 1/22

Volunteer of the Month: Mark Coleman
Bonus! We have two volunteers of the month in January.
Mark Coleman is a volunteer Master Naturalist. He really has stepped up to lead field trips and programs by request. In 2019 far he  volunteered for at least 17 different events! Mark shared, "As we stopped to watch a doe and her fawn on a hike at Bobcat Ridge, a 10 year old girl said to me; “Nature reveals her beauty, but only to those who are willing to see it.” Wow! Such wisdom. That’s why I volunteer. To experience and to share such moments.
Thank you for your dedication and passion, Mark!
Volunteer Opportunities

Volunteer of the Month: Deb Cranor

Bonus! We have two volunteers of the month in January.

Deb Cranor is a Volunteer Ranger Assitant and Camera Checker. She's gone above and beyond to help this fall and we really appreciate all of her efforts and dedication to learning! Deb says, "My dream is to help more people be responsible for protecting our natural areas, open spaces and the wildlife living therein. “...it’s the little things that citizens do. That’s what will make the difference. My little thing is planting trees.”   Wanagari Maathai...and removing fences and repairing trails and picking up trash... I love being a Volunteer Ranger Assistant!
We appreciate you very much, Deb!

Connect People to Nature
Volunteer Naturalists provide field trips and activities that welcome and connect visitors to natural areas. They learn to share practical stewardship tips and get all the skills they need through a comprehensive training in March and April 2020.

As a Volunteer Naturalist you will experience beautiful natural areas while you learn how to lead fun, hands-on field trips. Applications are due Feb. 21.

Previously certified Master Naturalists have said:

"I feel fortunate to have been exposed to your wonderful program."
"I wish the training wasn't over!"
"Excellent program! It has far exceeded my expectations."
"I just love giving programs to the school groups - the support of the Natural Areas staff is fantastic, and the feedback from the children makes my day."

Read the full job description here.

Learn more

The Great Outdoors is No Place for Cats

You can protect your cat and be a responsible owner by preventing it from being lost, killed or stolen- keep your cat indoors. Youll be helping birds too. Outdoor cats kill a surprising number of birds and small mammals. Studies estimate that outdoor and feral cats kill at least 1.4 billion birds a year. A study by the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute found that cats were responsible for about half the deaths of gray catbirds (Dumatella carolinensis) in a suburban environment.

Domestic cats are not part of natural ecosystems, they compete with native predators, and they can transmit diseases to wildlife. Indoor cats live longer, healthier lives.  City code section 4-93 prohibits pet animals at large, including cats. For these reasons, the City of Fort Collins Natural Areas Department encourages you to keep your cat indoors. Learn more from the American Bird Conservancy and a peer-reviewed article in Nature Communications, "The impact of free-ranging domestic cats on wildlife of the United States."

Native Plant Gardening | Research Update

You might remember a few months ago, we asked you to take a survey about native plant gardening. Thank you for the terrific response! Over 1,000 Fort Collins residents participated. It was part of Nature in the City's partnership with Dr. Rebecca Niemiec and Megan Jones (CSU), and Audubon Rockies to identify barriers that residents face when planting native plants and reaching out to their neighbors about planting native plants. The research collaboration builds on Nature in the City’s ongoing efforts to support native plant gardening through grants, and Audubon Rockies’ Habitat Heroes program to certify gardens as bird-friendly.

This spring, the research team will use the survey results to design a messaging campaign to test how different types of messages influence residents' willingness to purchase native plants and recruit their neighbors to plant native plants. The project will be completed in 2022.

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 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