March 2017
Naturally Yours
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Experience Nature Nearby


With snow in the high country and muddy trails in the foothills, trails along the Cache la Poudre River corridor might be the perfect March destination. Try a short excursion to these less-known sites:

Running Deer and Cottonwood Hollow natural areas- You can enjoy a 1.5 mile loop on flat trails near ponds with an optional visit to a historic fire lookout. The mountain views are great, too! To add mileage, use the Prospect Rd underpass and head north to Riverbend Ponds Natural Area. Note that dogs, bikes and horses are not permitted at Running Deer and Cottonwood Hollow, but dogs are welcome on-leash at Riverbend Ponds. Click here for a full list of natural areas.

Poudre River Forum Videos


The vision to make the Poudre River the world's best example of a healthy, working river came to life at the Poudre River Forum, an annual event held last month in Greeley. Missed it? Videos of the Forum are available on the City of Fort Collins' YouTube channel. The Forum was sponsored by the Poudre Runs Though It, brought together and facilitated by CSU's Colorado Water Institute. Members reflect a diversity of values; some value the river mainly as a working river--for agricultural, municipal and industrial needs. Others value its rich recreation opportunities and ecological attributes. But all want a river that meets our human needs AND is a healthy river in its own right.

Lifetime Achivement Award


Mark Sears, City of Fort Collins Natural Areas Department Manager was awarded the Dot Tomlinson Lifetime Achievement Award by Team Wellness & Prevention. The award is presented to a community member who has dedicated their life to making an impact in the lives of children in our community. The award is named for the late Dot Tomlinson, a beloved and dedicated Master Naturalist and community volunteer who worked tirelessly to make Fort Collins a healthy, outdoor-oriented place for children, families.

Mark was honored because of his support for education and volunteerism within the Natural Areas Department, as well as his long history of volunteerism with the Optimists Club, Highlands Presbyterian Camp, and Partners Mentoring Youth. For more than 38 years, Mark has worked to improve the lives of children in our community- thank you Mark!

Mark is pictured here with award nominator and Natural Areas Education and Outreach Coordinator, Sue Kenney.

Restoration Update: Removing Russian Olive Trees


Last month, about 200 Russian olive trees were removed from Redtail Grove and Redwing Marsh natural areas as part of restoration efforts. Russian olive, (Elaeagnus angustifolia) is a non-native tree that was planted along the Front Range beginning in the early 20thcentury.  It was planted for windbreaks, soil stabilization, and landscaping because it is fast growing.  At the same time, Russian olive is extremely invasive and can degrade natural habitats and agricultural lands. It is a list ‘B’ species on the Colorado state weed list.

Plug in to Nature in NW Fort Collins


How can outdoor opportunities be improved in northwest Fort Collins? Residents are invited to help connect youth and families to the outdoors through places, career pathways, and programs. An Open House to rank project proposals was held in February.  Missed it? You can participate in an online version of the ranking activity. The ranking will help decide which projects are submitted to Great Outdoors Colorado in July for implementation grant funding.

Upcoming Free Outdoor Activities



Friday, March 31, 9-11 p.m.

Saturday, May 13, 9-11 p.m.

Each month 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 at Fossil Creek Reservoir Natural Area, in the parking lot off Carpenter Road. Free, no registration required. For weather updates, visit the NCAS website.

Poudre River Clean-up

Saturday, May 27, 9 a.m- 12 noon, Lee Martinez Park- Pitch in and help clean-up the Poudre River Corridor! Join Mountain Whitewater Descents, Save the Poudre, and the Natural Areas Department for the annual spring clean-up. All you need is gloves, sunscreen and the desire to make a difference. Please carpool, bike or walk to reduce congestion.

National Trails Day Volunteer Project

Saturday,  June 17, 8 a.m.- 1 p.m. Get outdoors and give back! Volunteers of all ages are invited to help maintain the trails at Bobcat Ridge Natural Area. Kid-friendly projects and activities will be available. A free celebratory lunch will be offered at noon. This project is sponsored by REI, Backcountry Delicatessen and Larimer County Conservation Corps. Register in Engage (login or create an account).


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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