April 2018
Naturally Yours
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Tips for Mud Season


Spring usually means trail closures in the natural areas. Wet and muddy conditions leave visitors with no good choices: going around the mud widens the trail, and going through the mud damages the trail surface. Trails in the foothills are most vulnerable due to their geology and soils. Pineridge, Maxwell, Reservoir Ridge and Bobcat Ridge natural areas often close due to mud. Please respect the closures and try the paved trails instead.

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Volunteer as a Native Plant Gardener


You can volunteer to nurture a living exhibit that teaches about the benefits of native plants and provides design inspiration. Native Plant Garden Volunteers work at the City of Fort Collins Natural Areas Department's Headquarters, Nix Native Plant Garden including weeding, mulching, and pruning. After attending an orientation training (Tues. May 15, 9-10 am), gardening volunteer days are Mondays and Tuesdays from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. (starting May 21, weather dependent). Gardening experience is helpful but not required. This is a great opportunity for those with limited mobility, garden clubs, neighborhoods, or church groups.  Adults only please. Read the job description and then click here to apply.  Learn more about the Nix Native Plant Garden


Tracks & Trails: Your Guide to Free Activities, June-October

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This year's season of free activities will be posted online by May 2 with printed booklets arriving in mid-May. A link will be included in next month's Enews!

Monthly Skygazing and our National Trails Day volunteer stewardship project are posted and available for registration now.

Earth Day Celebration, Saturday, April 21, 11 am- 5 pm at Civic Center Park, downtown Fort Collins. Come find the Nature in the City booth and learn about how the City and other organizations are helping to protect the environment.

You Can be a Citizen Scientist & the Buzz on Native Bees

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Nature in the City is seeking volunteers to help count and identify birds and butterflies this summer. No previous bird or butterfly identification skills are necessary! Click here to learn more and apply as a citizen scientist by April 27.

Nature in the City Tip of the Month: The Buzz on Native Bees

Have you ever noticed little “volcanos” of soil appear in your flower beds? If so, you may have nesting native bees! There are over 946 species of native bees in Colorado, and many of these species nest underground. To provide ideal habitat for these native bees, leave south facing slopes with well-drained soils mostly bare. These areas are warmer and generally drier, making tunnel building easier. After the offspring emerge, they will offer the priceless service of pollination! Learn more >>>

Clean-up Natural Areas


With Earth Day around the corner, you may feel inspired to clean-up a natural area. That is such a nice idea, thank you! Please be aware there are some safety issues with trash pick-ups. Becoming a Adopt-a-Natural Area volunteer includes an orientation, supplies, and safety information, or if you have a group, use the Stewardship Project Request Form in Engage (you must create or login to your account). Picking up trash without prior safety training is not recommended. Questions? Contact Stewardship Volunteer Coordinator, Diane Wendt, dwendt@fcgov.com,  970-224-6153

Join a Community Natural Area Clean-up 

Wednesday, April 11, 9-11 a.m. at Udall Natural Area

Kick-off National Volunteer Month and get to know fellow community members all while taking care of the environment. All ages are welcome - children under 16 must be accompanied by a parent. Natural Areas will provide gloves, grabbers, trash bags, sunscreen, water, and yummy snacks. Free, registration required here.

Bison Calves & Prescribed Fire at Soapstone Prairie


And then there were… 44. Eight bison — four calves and their mothers — were released in mid-March at Soapstone Prairie Natural Area and Red Mountain Open Space, bringing the total number of animals in the Laramie Foothills Bison Conservation Herd to 44.

A 10-month-old calf known as IVF 1 was among the newcomers. She is the first bison calf conceived using in vitro fertilization, or IVF, at Colorado State University. IVF 1 is also the first bison calf in the world to be conceived using reproductive material from animals removed from Yellowstone National Park. Read the whole story and watch a 2 minute video here.

Prescribed Fire

In March, prescribed fire was applied to 575 acres of shortgrass prairie at Soapstone Prairie Natural Area.  This burn focused on improving habitat for grassland birds such as the state listed mountain plover and the McCown’s longspur, which both need bare ground for nesting. In addition to promoting native grasses that respond well to fire, such as buffalo grass and blue grama, the burns will also improve habitat for the federally threatened Colorado butterfly plant.  Thanks to the agencies that helped make the burn possible: The Nature Conservancy, Wellington Fire Protection District, Livermore Volunteer Fire Department, CSU Student Association of Fire Ecology, and Gravitas Peak Wildland Fire Module.



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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