Natural Areas Enews
Free Activity Ideas for Kids, Families, and Educators

The online Learning Library is full of natural areas activities and videos for you!

Whether you are an educator or a resident, you can engage in the outdoors in a new way. Resources include a Signs of Spring Discovery Hunt, outdoor mindfulness activities, and videos to learn about wildlife in natural areas.  

The Learning Library is a hub of educational resources with a mix of online and outdoor activities. Activities and videos will be continually updated.

Self-Guided Activities and Videos

Native Plant Sales

Are you ready to plant a beautiful native garden at your home but are not sure where to get native plants? Nature in the City recommends starting by asking for native plants at your local nursery. Then check out the specialty plant sales happening this month - they are all online this year!

Natural Areas Dept Native Plants Website

Support Natural Areas: Keep Them Clean

Looking for a way to be virtually connected to the community, get outside AND make a difference? The Pick It Up FoCo Challenge is on! Use the Litterati app to help collect data about single-use plastics. Find a spot to pick up litter right outside your front door. The best and most impactful place to start is in your neighborhood.
https://www.fcgov.com/volunteer/trashpickup

Learn About Bird-Friendly Gardening

Migrant birds are returning for the summer! You can help them have a successful year by practicing bird-friendly gardening techniques at home. Nature in the City's partner, Audubon Rockies, is hosting a weekly webinar on Thursdays at 12 pm all month long on bird-friendly gardening skills. Each week a different guest speaker will present on a specific skill. Check out these free sessions! Remember, collecting or gathering seeds or plants from natural areas is not permitted.

May 7: Colorado Native Plants
Speaker: Jim Tolstrup, High Plains Environmental Center

May 14: Growing Native Plants From Seed (Remember, collecting or gathering seeds or plants from natural areas is not permitted.)
Speaker: Michelle, Bohanan, Master Gardener & Habitat Hero

May 21: Water Conservation & Cherry Creek HOA Success Story
Speaker: Don Ireland, Wildscape Ambassador

May 28: Collecting Native Seeds

Speaker: David Salman, founder & chief horticulturist of High Country Gardens!

Volunteer Duo of the Month: Master Naturalist Assistants

Margaret:  If an organization is important to me, I want to contribute my time and skills to help it flourish.  I also enjoy sharing my knowledge of the outdoors and love seeing someone light up when they learn something new.  It is especially gratifying when someone sees a Bald Eagle for the first time on one of the Eagle Watches – my favorite activity, even though it can be cold and windy.  The programs the Natural Areas Dept offers are so varied and interesting, I learn a lot by being a participant and also when I volunteer.

Ken: One of the first Natural Areas activities we attended was an Eagle Watch. We were so impressed with the knowledge and friendliness of the volunteers that we decided to become Master Naturalist Assistants (MNAs) and help out. I particularly enjoy when youngsters get excited to see a Bald Eagle, and like to remind people that eagles were not nearly as common 50 years ago – their recovery is due in large part to our positive action in banning DDT.

We like that being MNAs gives us an opportunity to volunteer together doing things that are fun and rewarding.

Volunteer Opportunities

Share Your Story of the Outdoors in the Pandemic
Well, you've heard of a pandemic, right? Combine that with a spike in public land visitation and you get a "Public Landemic!"
Efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19 have radically changed recreation and leisure landscape in Colorado. Ski resorts were closed and climbing gyms and fitness centers closed their doors. Team sports and races were cancelled. Closures of breweries, bars, and restaurants further limited recreation options. In response, Colorado locals have taken to their local trails, natural areas, parks, and paths in record numbers.

Colorado State University's Center for the History of Public Lands wants to hear from you if you’ve found yourself on local, county, state, or federally-managed public lands since March 16th. What prompted you to check out an open space, natural area, state park, or tract of federal land? What did you see? How did it make you feel?

Share your story here. Answer some or all of the questions, or even skip to the end and share some thoughts at the end. To share your experiences visually, tag your photo with #PLHCPublicLandemicProject on Instagram or Facebook, or check out the SOURCE coverage of this project.
Share your story

Tips for Visiting Natural Areas
Natural Area restrooms reopened Tuesday, May 5. Trail work at Bobcat Ridge Natural Area started this week too. Where do you find out about natural area closures and announcements? There are five options, below.

Before You Go: Check Trail & Parking Conditions

The busiest times at natural areas are weekends, 9 a.m.- 5 p.m., so try visiting earlier or later, or on weekday mornings for the best chance at parking. Have an alternate destination in-mind. When parking lots are full try another trailhead or come back another time. Avoid a parking ticket! Only park in designated spaces.

Remember to keep physically distant (6 ft) from other visitors and wear a mask in areas where physical distance is difficult to maintain. Please step off the trail and wait (instead of walking off the trail for several feet) to protect the native plants on the edge of the trail. 

National Volunteer Week | We Miss You Volunteers

National Volunteer Week was in April so we thought you'd enjoy these heartfelt wishes from Natural Areas staff sharing the impact that volunteers make, Appreciation from Natural Areas Dept staff (3 min video). 

Hopefully next year we can celebrate National Volunteer Week in person!

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.

City of Fort Collins Natural Areas Department
PO Box 580, 1745 Hoffman Mill Road
Fort Collins, CO 80522