January 2017!
Naturally Yours
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Make a Nature a 2017 Priority


With resolutions abounding, January is a great month to commit or recommit to a healthy outdoor lifestyle. Time in natural areas has been shown to reduce stress, and trails are the perfect place to be active. A fun goal might be to visit all 40+ Fort Collins natural areas this year! Each natural area has its own special qualities, from Poudre canyon views from the top of Gateway Natural Area to short loop trails near the water at Prospect Ponds Natural Area- there is something for nearly everyone. Nature has been called "Vitamin N" and it is something we can use everyday!  Here are some tips for more Vitamin N in your life from the Children and Nature Network.

Grants Awarded


Fort Collins Natural Areas are possible due to citizen-initiated sales tax ballot measures, and grants make those funds go even further!

Thank you Great Outdoors Colorado - GOCO for investing $100,000 of lottery proceeds in Poudre River Habitat Restoration at Kingfisher Point Natural Area.  The 2016 Natural Areas Restoration Master Plan identified this one-mile stretch as the number one priority for restoration. The river channel will be restored to a more natural state, mimicking naturally-formed riverbanks, expanding cottonwood forests to improve the floodplain, and creating high-quality habitat for wildlife.

Nature in the City in partnership with the Wildlife Conservation Society and Colorado State University was awarded and EPA STAR Grant to investigate how communities can integrate ecological health and human well-being into planning and management. The team will identify and quantify indicators of ecosystem health and human well-being and collaborate with the community to identify actions to improve them.

Seeking Volunteer Ranger Assistants


Did you always want to be a park ranger? It’s not too late! Become a Volunteer Ranger Assistant and help park, open space and natural area rangers accomplish much of their important work.  Larimer County Department of Natural Resources and City of Fort Collins Natural Areas Department are now accepting applications for their joint Volunteer Ranger Assistant program. Training will be Tues., February 21, 6-9 p.m. Thurs., February 23, 6-8 p.m. and Saturday, February 25, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Volunteers attend 20 hours of training and are asked to contribute 20 hours of service in return. Applications are due January 20. Learn more >>>

Six Enhancement Grants


Six applicants were awarded Natural Areas Enhancement funds from the $15,000 available in 2016. Funds to remove invasive Russian olives, saltcedar (Tamarix), and Siberian elms from certified natural areas managed by homeowners associations (HOA’s) were received by Fox Creek HOA ($2,400), Village Park HOA ($2,300), and Waterglen HOA ($3,027). The 21st Century Gardens/Mulberry Community Gardens received $1,403 for native plantings at the Byler Certified Natural Area. Richards Lake Owners Association received $5,275 to plant native shrubs and seed native grasses to enhance their natural area for wildlife. Dean Acres HOA received $595 to purchase an aeration pump for Lee Lake Certified Natural Area. Learn more >>>

Restoration: Doing More with Less


Non-native plants are a problem in natural areas because they don't provide the habitat that native wildlife need. Restoration work focuses on removing these plants using timed grazing, mowing, herbicides, and other integrated strategies. The Natural Areas Department used 23% less herbicide than average in 2016, yet 1,966 acres of invasive weeds were treated- the most in Natural Areas history! Non-native cheatgrass at Coyote Ridge Natural Area (pictured) was a target for treatment.

Eagle Watches


Bald eagles from northern states and Canada make Fort Collins their winter home. City of Fort Collins Master Naturalists will be stationed at Fossil Creek Reservoir Natural Area to explain the eagles’ natural history and help visitors view them through spotting scopes and binoculars. Eagles are about 1.25 miles away, and are not easily photographed. Free, drop in any time during these programs.  If temperatures are below freezing, or it’s windy or foggy, or unsafe to drive, the Eagle Watches may be canceled. Be sure to visit www.fcgov.com/naturalareas before you go. Cancelations will be posted at least two hours before program start times.

Friday, January 6, 3:30-5:00

Saturday, January 7, 3:30-5:00

Friday, January 13, 3:30-5:00

Saturday, January 14, 3:30-5:00

More dates and details, here.


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 zshark@fcgov.com.

To learn more about Natural Areas, visit our website.

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