February 2017
Naturally Yours
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Inspire: Nature in the City Program Recognized by Harvard


The City’s Nature in the City program was recognized as one of 100 programs recognized by the Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation at the John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University. The program was named a semifinalist in this year’s Innovations in American Government Awards competition. Nature in the City will compete to be named a Finalist in the competition and have the chance to be awarded the $100,000 grand prize in Cambridge this spring. Nature in the City is also being featured as a “Bright Idea” on the Ash Center website, http://ash.harvard.edu/ .

Involve: Connect People to Nature as a Master Naturalist


The City of Fort Collins is seeking volunteer Master Naturalists who care about natural areas to share their enthusiasm with the community. Volunteers learn about ecology, gain public speaking skills, and discover how to lead a variety of activities (including school field trips) on the natural areas. Read the job description and apply at https://engage.fcgov.com/d/na. The application deadline is March 7, 2017.

Involve: NISP Open House


Community members are invited to learn about and provide input about the Northern Integrated Supply Project (NISP) at an Open House, Monday, February 13, 5-7 p.m. at the Lincoln Center’s Columbine Room, 417 West Magnolia, Fort Collins, 80521. The open house will provide information about a proposal by City staff that would allow staff to explore the potential for negotiated outcomes with the NISP project proponent, Northern Water. NISP was discussed at the January 24 City Council Meeting. City Council will be considering staff’s recommendation at its February 21 meeting.

Get Outside: Limited Pronghorn Hunt, Trail Conditions


Applications to participate in the limited pronghorn doe hunt at Soapstone Prairie Natural Area are due February 28. The pronghorn hunt, held in late 2017, provides a recreational opportunity, assists Colorado Parks and Wildlife with managing the pronghorn population and supports Soapstone Prairie’s management plan. Learn more here.

Trail Conditions and Closures

Trail closures ahead! Work on the bridge at McMurry Natural Area will close the parking lot and the bridge to the Poudre Trail until mid-February. Trail condition information is at fcgov.com/naturalareas/status.php, NoCoTrailReport.org or via Natural Areas' social media, Facebook and Twitter. Know before you go for happy trails!

Tree Rings Inform Restoration


As part of restoration efforts at Kingfisher Point Natural Area, non-native crack willow trees were removed to allow more room and resources for native plants to thrive.  Tree growth rings show the age and growth rate of the tree and can indicate fire, lightning, or beavers (that eat the inner bark and leave scars).  The crack willow data from Kingfisher Point revealed that the trees were between 36 and 45 years old and grew at an average of ¾” per year.  Growth did not vary much between years and did not appear to be affected by drought or other environmental conditions. This suggests that crack willows do make it harder for native species to compete in riverside ecosystems. This data helps Natural Areas Department staff understand crack willow growth patterns in the river corridor, compare crack willows to native cottonwoods, and investigate water uptake between tree species.

Free Upcoming Programs


Everyone is invited to enjoy your natural areas with a friendly and knowledgeable guide through the educational activities, volunteer opportunities, and events listed below. To learn more visit http://www.fcgov.com/naturalareas call 970-416-2815 or email naturalareas@fcgov.com.

Eagle Watches
Friday, February 10, 4:00-5:30
Saturday, February 11, 4:00-5:30
Friday, February 17, 4:00-5:30
Saturday, February 18, 4:00-5:30
Meet at Fossil Creek Reservoir Natural Area, viewing pier.
Join volunteer Master Naturalist to look for the bald eagles that make Fort Collins their winter home through spotting scopes and binoculars. Drop in any time during these programs. They are free and no registration is required. 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 for weather cancelations and updates before you go. Cancelations will be posted at least two hours before program start times.

Skygazing at Fossil Creek Reservoir
 Saturday, March 4, 7:30-9:30 p.m.
Meet at Fossil Creek Reservoir Natural Area 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 https://engage.fcgov.com/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 zshark@fcgov.com.

To learn more about Natural Areas, visit our website.

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