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This newsletter was originally sent on Aug 1, 2017.
August 2017
Naturally Yours
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Give Back by Volunteering

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Bison Fence Removal Volunteer Project- Saturday, August 12, 7:30 a.m.- 1:00 p.m. Transportation to Soapstone Prairie Natural Area and lunch provided! Volunteers will remove old wire cattle fencing to make way for the Laramie Foothills Bison Conservation Herd's bigger pasture. Duties will include pulling t-posts, removing wire ties and rolling up wire. All necessary safety equipment will be provided including gloves, glasses, snake chaps, water, sunscreen, snacks, and lunch! Register here!

Native Plant Gardening- Wednesday, August 16, 8 a.m.- 12 noon, Nix Farm, 1745 Hoffman Mill Road. Come learn about and help work in the Native Plant Garden at the Natural Areas Department office. Please come prepared to work outside in the heat! Wear closed-toe shoes, sunglasses, a hat and sunscreen. Natural Areas will provide all tools, extra sunscreen, water, bug spray and snacks! Register here!

National Public Lands Day-Saturday, September 30, 7:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. Soapstone Prairie Natural Area, transportation provided from Nix Farm, 1745 Hoffman Mill Road. Transportation to Soapstone Prairie Natural Area and lunch provided! Volunteers will remove old wire cattle fencing to make way for the Laramie Foothills Bison Conservation Herd's bigger pasture. Duties will include pulling t-posts, removing wire ties and rolling up wire. All necessary safety equipment will be provided including gloves, glasses, snake chaps, water, sunscreen, snacks, and lunch! Free, registration required.

Large Group at Maxwell Natural Area Sunday, 8/20

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Each year, Colorado State University welcomes the freshman class with a hike to "the A" adjacent to Maxwell Natural Area. Other natural area visitors may want to avoid the group of 1,000 students on Sunday, August 20, between 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Wondering about trail conditions? Check NoCoTrailReport.org or the Natural Areas Trails Status webpage.

Restoration Update: Handling Invasive Weeds

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Natural Areas crews have been hard at work this summer, treating over 200 acres of weeds! Some of the targeted weeds include leafy spurge, Canada thistle, musk thistle, perennial pepperweed, kochia, bindweed, hairy willow-herb, and oxeye daisy.  Over 20 different species have been treated on 40 natural areas.  Many of the treated weed infestations are small, but controlling them early prevents further spread and bigger problems in the future.  More weed control is planned for the rest of the summer and fall, including cheatgrass treatments in the foothills. You can help by planting native plants, watching for these plants on your property and learning more about invasive plants and animals here.

Please Slow Down

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Please help the City of Fort Collins Natural Areas Department be a good neighbor and keep yourself safe by obeying the speed limit as you drive to natural area trailheads. There have been complaints recently especially at Reservoir Ridge Natural Area and Soapstone Prairie Natural Area, but obeying the speed limit is important everywhere for the safety of people, pets, and wildlife. Thank you!

Free Outdoor Activities

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Wade the River, Saturday, August 5, 10:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. Lee Martinez Park, 600 North Sherwood St. Wade the river with dip nets and collecting trays to discover what lives beneath the surface of the Cache la Poudre River. Biologists will be on-hand to help identify your finds. Fishes, insects, larvae, algae, and more are easily seen with field microscopes. All equipment is provided. Bring your own towels, wear closed-toe shoes that can get wet, and sun and mosquito protection. No registration required but you can get a reminder and updates by signing up at fcgov.com/register. The river is dynamic and so are we; we may have to change dates, locations, or cancel for safety reasons.

The Poudre River: A Thousand Years of History, Sunday, August 6, 9:30 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. Old Fort Collins Heritage Park, meet behind the Northside Aztlan Community Center. Enjoy a leisurely hike to consider the origins of the river, human presence through time, the origins of the Heritage designation and the Military Camp that became Fort Collins.  We will also explore current development and restoration projects. Free, registration required.1-2 miles; easy. Free, registration required at fcgov.com/register

Senior Nature River Stroll, Monday, August 7, 10:00 a.m. – noon, Butterfly Woods Natural Area, meet at the Lions Open Space parking lot. Learn about the Poudre River corridor and the plants and animals that make it their home. Stroll along the river to see this web of live in action. This program is accessible and meant to be enjoyed by seniors with limited mobility. The program will move at a slow pace and is accessible for wheel chairs and walkers. Shade and/or an indoor facility is available. Free, registration required at fcgov.com/register

Science Behind the Scenery: The State of the Poudre: A River Health Report Card, Thursday, August 10, 7:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. 215 N. Mason Community Room, enter through the north door. These informative talks are designed for adults to learn more about research and science related to natural areas. Jen Shanahan, Watershed Planner, will talk about the recently completed Poudre River Health Report Card. Come learn about how to assess river health and how the Poudre River scores. Bring a snack if you like. Free, registration required at fcgov.com/register

Teen Mountain Bike Ride along the Poudre River, Friday, August 11, 10:00 a.m. – noon, Lee Martinez Park, meet at the parking lot near the tennis courts. For beginner and advanced riders alike! Bring your bike and helmet. Members of Overland Mountain Bike Club will lead a ride on dirt trails along the Poudre River and Master Naturalists will provide fascinating information about the area. Come prepared! Bring water, snacks and sun protection. Multiple route options; easy-difficult. Free, registration required at fcgov.com/register

Geology-Ecology Exploration: Walk the Gangplank, Saturday, August 12, 9:00 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. Coyote Ridge Natural Area, meet in the parking lot. Explore with experts in geology and ecology and discover the geologic secrets of rocks shed from the Rocky Mountains and how these influence human and wildlife activity. Bring sun protection, lunch, water, sturdy shoes, and rain gear. 5-6 miles; moderate. Free, registration required at fcgov.com/register

Natural History of Pineridge, Saturday, August 12, 9:30 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. Pineridge Natural Area, meet at the west parking lot. Do not park at Maxwell for this program. Explore the natural history along the lower tree line and prairie and learn about the ecological connections between the prairie, shrub lands and Ponderosa forests. Please bring water, lunch, sun protection, and closed-toe shoes.1 mile; easy. Free, registration required at fcgov.com/register

Naturalists at Soapstone Prairie, Saturday, August 26, 10:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. Soapstone Prairie Natural Area. Enjoy a day of learning about the wonders of Soapstone Prairie. Stop by any time. Naturalists will be stationed at the south parking lot, the Lindenmeier Overlook, the bison viewing area and the Towhee Trailhead near the north parking lot. No registration required.

Wild by Wild: Photographs of Wildlife by Wildlife, Saturday, September 2, 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. Fort Collins Museum of Discovery, 408 Mason Ct. Stop by and view the gallery of the latest wild animal “selfies” taken by remote cameras. Fun family activities include checking a camera, finding wildlife sign, guessing animal sounds, and voting for the best image. Free; no registration required but you can get a reminder and updates by signing up at fcgov.com/register

See the whole calendar here!

Trail Recommendation: Back to School Special

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With busy times ahead for those on a school year calendar, you might be seeking a quick, shady, natural getaway.

With young children try Cattail Chorus Natural Area- it has fun signage made just for kids and a short trail, so it is a great destination for a family bike ride (it is just off the Poudre Trail, near its junction with the Spring Creek Trail).

Older children might enjoy the raptor observatory at Cathy Fromme Prairie where you can compare your "wingspan" to that of several soaring hawks. As a shortgrass prairie, this isn't a shady natural area, but the raptor observatory has a green roof which creates some shade.

Magpie Meander is a nice spot for people of all ages with its short trail around a pond, nearby picnic table at Soft Gold Park and trail connections to McMurry Natural Area and the Poudre River.

Teachers & parents- It is time to schedule your free school field trip! Learn more here.

 

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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