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This newsletter was originally sent on Jun 7, 2016.
June 2016
Naturally Yours
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June Trail Recommendation: North Shields Ponds

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Anglers, birders, and those seeking an easy walk close to Fort Collins will all love North Shields Ponds Natural Area.  Near Vine and Shields Street, the natural area borders the Cache la Poudre River.  Two ponds are encircled by 1.5 miles of flat soft-surface trails in a "figure 8" configuration. Birds such as great blue herons, and red-winged blackbirds are frequently seen, and heard here. Anglers enjoy the steps and fishing pier that give access to the first pond, and the secluded feeling of the western/back pond. There is a picnic shelter at the trailhead parking area, so bring a meal and enjoy this peaceful green place.  North Shields Ponds is a small local gem to enjoy and treasure!

Inspiration to Get Up & Go Outside

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The UC Health Healthy Kids Club newsletter featured an article by Sue Schafer, Natural Areas Education Coordinator about the benefits of nature play.  Her basic recipe for outdoor play is:
1. The right place. Pick a place that is wild to a child’s eyes. Your backyard might be perfect.
2. The right kind of play. Give your kids unstructured time to develop their own games and
get in touch with their imagination.
3. Repeat. Try to spend at least 30 minutes outside each day and watch the results.
4. Join them! Remember how much fun you had playing outside when you were younger? Show your kids how to look for trolls and fairies, build forts or have a backyard campout. You will feel the health benefits, too. Read the short article >>> 

Voices of the Past: History and Culture Activities

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June brings several events celebrating the cultural history of natural areas:

Archaeological Dig Site Tours, June 9, 14, 21, 9:30-11:30 a.m. Fossil Creek Wetlands Natural Area.Witness Anthropologist Dr. Jason LaBelle and his team of CSU students conduct an archaeological dig to uncover artifacts from over 1,200 years ago. Discover what life may have been like for the ancient inhabitants of the plains. 2.5 miles, off trail. Free, space is limited. Registration required at naturetracker.fcgov.com

Bobcat Ridge History Celebration, Friday, June 10, 3-6 p.m. Bobcat Ridge Natural Area. Celebrate the pioneers of Bobcat Ridge! Tour newly restored buildings complete with artifacts, tools, and furnishings. Discover the lives of the families that made this place their home. The restoration project was made possible by contributions from the Pulliam Family Charitable Trust and State Historical Fund of History Colorado. Free; No registration required, but you can get a reminder and updates by signing up at naturetracker.fcgov.com

Pioneer Life, Wednesday, June 15, 9-10 a.m. or 9 a.m.-12 p.m. Bobcat Ridge Natural Area, meet at the parking lot. Find out what life was like as an early settler by visiting historic farm structures. Then, take an optional hike for a more in-depth discussion of the fascinating cultural and natural history of the area, visiting stone circles and a pioneer cabin along the way. 0 miles; or 4 miles; moderate. Free, registration required at naturetracker.fcgov.com

Buffalo Soldiers Ride, Saturday, June 18, 9 a.m.-2 p.m., Soapstone Prairie Natural Area, meet at the south parking lot. Saddle up with the Buffalo Soldiers of the American West. Discover their role in protecting frontier citizens against crime and lawlessness. The program begins with a presentation in the south parking lot by a group of historical role playing performers. Those with a horse can join in afterwards for a guided equestrian ride on the 8-mile Pronghorn Trail to uncover the exciting history of the railroad and stagecoach era. Free, registration required at naturetracker.fcgov.com

Smithsonian at Lindenmeier, Saturday, June 25, 10 a.m.-12 p.m. Soapstone Prairie Natural Area, meet at the north parking lot. Travel back in time to learn how Paleoindians survived the high plains; 10,000 years later, archaeologists uncovered their story. 0.25 miles; easy. Free, registration required at naturetracker.fcgov.com

Tweet us!

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Natural Areas is on both Facebook and Twitter!  You'll see real time trail condition updates (twitter), upcoming event announcements, fun photos from natural areas, volunteer opportunities, and much more. Join the conversation!

 https://twitter.com/FCNaturalAreas

https://www.facebook.com/FCNaturalAreas/

A River of Change- the Cache La Poudre

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As the snow in the high country melts, Rocky Mountain rivers bring water and new life to the plains. Rivers are dynamic systems of wildlife, plants, sediment, and water flows. The Poudre River has been highly altered over the years but the natural areas along the banks hold hope for restoring this dynamic river system.  Restoration efforts have focused on North Shields Ponds, McMurry, and Homestead natural areas.  These areas provide a place for the river flows to safely spill over the banks- the natural way for the river system to function.  At the moment, McMurry Natural Area is a great place to see nesting and feeding wildlife, sediment transport and deposition, and rejuvenation of plants once the high flows recede.  You are welcome at these sites, but be mindful of trail closures as high river flows are dangerous. Trail conditions and closures are posted here.

Free Upcoming Activities

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Poudre River Walk, Saturday, June 11, 9:30-11 a.m. Poudre River Natural Areas, meet at the parking lot near the tennis courts at Lee Martinez Park. Enjoy a leisurely walk along the Poudre Trail. We will explore the dance between the river and land and observe animal and plant life. Bring binoculars or borrow from us. 1-2 miles; easy. Free, no registration required but you can get a reminder and updates by signing up at naturetracker.fcgov.com

Skygazing, Saturday, June 11, 9-11 p.m. Fossil Creek Reservoir Natural Area, meet at the 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 naturetracker.fcgov.com

Flowers & Their Insect Partners, Saturday, June 18, 9 a.m.-12 p.m. Soapstone Prairie Natural Area, meet at the north parking lot. Learn about the flowers of summer on the high prairie ecosystem and the insects they entice to do their bidding. Bring water, lunch, and closed-toe shoes. 3 miles; moderate. Free, registration required at naturetracker.fcgov.com

Wildflowers through the Seasons, Tuesday, June 21, 5:30-7:30 p.m. Bobcat Ridge Natural Area, meet at the parking lot. Walk with us every 3rd Tuesday of the month, May to August, to see what is in bloom and learn about native plants. 1-2 miles; easy. Free, registration required at naturetracker.fcgov.com

Adult Night Walk, Thursday, June 23, 8-10 p.m. Location provided at registration. Adults experience a long walk with a Master Naturalist and time for reflection.  Walks are offered near the full moon with lots of natural light—no need for flashlights! Dress warmly, wear closed-toe walking shoes, and bring water to drink. Children 16 and older may come to adult hikes but must be accompanied by parents. ½-2 miles, easy. Free, registration required at naturetracker.fcgov.com

Campfire at Nix Farm- Nighttime Migrations, Friday, June 24, 8-9:30 p.m. Nix Farm, 1745 Hoffman Mill Rd. Spend an evening cozy by a campfire complete with stories and s’mores! Discover birds, bugs, and other animals that travel long distances while we sleep. These programs are suitable for all ages. Campfires at Nix Farm do not include a hike and are wheelchair accessible. Dress warmly and bring water and lawn chairs or blankets to sit on if you like (limited seating available). Free, registration required at naturetracker.fcgov.com

Nature Journaling Series: Introduction to Nature Journaling, Saturday, June 25, 9-11 a.m. Reservoir Ridge, meet at Primrose Studio. Be introduced to the art materials easiest to use in nature, types of journals, and journaling techniques. Participate in studio and outdoor nature journaling. No art experience required! Program will include a short walk of less than 1 mile. Children under 16 must be accompanied by an adult. Bring water, snacks, journal or paper, your choice of medium (pens, pencils, etc.), and binoculars if you have them. Free, registration required at naturetracker.fcgov.com

Astronomy - Red Planet in a Summer Sky, Saturday, June 25, 8:30-10:30 p.m. Bobcat Ridge Natural Area, meet at the parking lot. Attend a short program about our amazing planetary neighbor, Mars, and enjoy skygazing afterward. Volunteers from the Northern Colorado Astronomical Society provide telescopes for your viewing pleasure. Dress warmly, bring water and a blanket or chair to sit on in the parking lot. Program begins at the picnic shelter, a 0.25 mile-walk. Please arrive on time! The gate closes shortly after start times and parking is not allowed on the road outside the gate. Free, registration required at naturetracker.fcgov.com

Nature Journaling Series: Drawing Plants, Tuesday, June 28, 6-8 p.m. Nix Farm, 1745 Hoffman Mill Rd. Join us for this classroom talk with tips and techniques for drawing plants in close-up detail as well as landscape mode.  Develop a greater appreciation and understanding of the plants around us through the process of drawing. No art experience required! Program will include a short walk of less than 1 mile. Children under 16 must be accompanied by an adult. Bring water, snacks, journal or paper, your choice of medium (pens, pencils, etc.), and binoculars if you have them. Free, registration required at naturetracker.fcgov.com

Science Behind the Scenery- Home in the Water, Wednesday, June 29, 7-8 p.m. Nix Farm, 1745 Hoffman Mill Rd. These informative talks are designed for adults to learn more about research and science related to natural areas. Hear Colorado Parks & Wildlife Biologist Boyd Wright and Fort Collins Natural Areas Land and Water Manager Daylan Figgs discuss the re-introduction of several fish species to local waterways, and the significant relationship between the fish and the stream. Parking is limited—please carpool, bike or walk. Free, registration required at naturetracker.fcgov.com

 

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.

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