December 2017
Naturally Yours
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Become a Volunteer Ranger


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.  It is a great way to work outside, and help people and the outdoors.

Larimer County Department of Natural Resources and City of Fort Collins Natural Areas Department are now accepting applications for the Volunteer Ranger Assistant program. Training will be February 20, 22 and 24, 2018. Volunteers are asked to contribute 20 hours of service in return for the 20 hour training. Applications are due January 24.

Listening to Understand: Fifth Annual Poudre River Forum


Each year, the Poudre River Forum brings together people like you who farm on the Poudre, drink beer from the Poudre, care about the Poudre, and advocate for Poudre health to learn from one another and to explore how we might move from river conflict to river collaboration.

Friday, February 2, 2018, 8 a.m- 4 p.m. at Island Grove Events Center, Greeley

Register now! Registration includes the full day's program, as well as breakfast, lunch, and a social hour with opportunities to win Poudre prizes. This year’s forum focuses on listening and asking questions instead of postulating positions, to help us bridge ideological barriers. The City of Fort Collins Natural Areas Department helps to plan the Forum each year. Learn more >>>

Prescribed Fire for Restoration


Did you know that prescribed burns can support bird habitat? Populations of mountain plovers have declined 80% in the last several decades, as documented by the North American Breeding Bird Survey. Even on the shortgrass prairie, plovers prefer to nest in burned areas with very little grass, or in the grazed grass of prairie dog colonies.   Thus, prescribed burns create the conditions plovers prefer. Prescribed burns also encourage the natural expansion of black-tailed prairie dog colonies. A prescribed burn at Soapstone Prairie Natural Area in November by Natural Areas and the Nature Conservancy was successful so biologists will be watching for more plover nests next spring!

Become a Certified Interpretive Guide


You can learn to give powerful presentations to any audience! This training is perfect for people who work in museums, natural areas, and parks. The 32-hour course will be Tuesday, January 30 - Friday, February 2, 2018. Registration is $230 and additional optional certification is $150. You'll learn:

  • The history, definition, and principles of interpretation.
  • Techniques on how to make your presentations purposeful, enjoyable, relevant, organized, and thematic.
  • How to use tangible objects to connect your audience to intangible ideas and universal concepts.
Learn more and register here!

Trail Recommendation


A new Art in Public Places piece will soon be installed at McMurry Natural Area's bridge across the Poudre River. Here is a peek at the railing elements under construction!  This month we are suggesting that you go see and enjoy the new bridge artwork at McMurry Natural Area (bridge reopening expected 12/11). You can also enjoy several ponds, a stretch of the Poudre River, 1.5 miles of flat trail, and a remote feeling, even just a few blocks from downtown. McMurry is a great place for non-motorized boating, fishing, hiking, biking, and leashed dogs are welcome.

Free! Eagle Watches & Skygazing


Did you know that bald eagles come to Fort Collins in the winter? Free Eagle Watches at Fossil Creek Reservoir Natural Area are a great way to see them because friendly Master Naturalist volunteers provide spotting scopes and interesting information about these majestic creatures.

Eagle Watches are a free drop-in activity. Remember: If temperatures are below freezing, or it’s windy or foggy, the Eagle Watches may be canceled so be sure to visit for weather cancelations and updates before you go.

Dates and Times 

Saturday, December 16, 3 - 4:30 p.m.

Friday, December 22, 3 - 4:30 p.m.

Saturday, December 23, 3 - 4:30 p.m.

Friday, December 29, 3 - 4:30 p.m.

Saturday, December 30, 3 - 4:30 p.m.

Eagle Watches continue through mid-February, check the schedule at

December Skygazing

Saturday, December 23, 7-9 p.m. Fossil Creek Reservoir Natural Area

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 in the parking lot off Carpenter Road. Free, registration required. For weather updates, visit the NCAS website.


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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