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This newsletter was originally sent on Sep 5, 2017.
September 2017
Naturally Yours
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New! Goose Hollow Natural Area

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Meet your newest natural area! A small site in northeast Fort Collins, Goose Hollow Natural Area is an excellent neighborhood fishing and birding spot! Geese nest on the banks of the pond and on several small islands. A variety of ducks and songbirds use Goose Hollow throughout the year. Black crowned night herons and pelicans are often spotted here. Goose Hollow Natural Area is leased in partnership with Fort Collins Housing Catalyst and Neighbor to Neighbor to provide public access to Evergreen West Pond. A natural surface trail surrounds ¾ of the pond, less than a mile of trail. This 4-acre site is located north of Conifer Street, between Blue Spruce Drive and Redwood Street.The site is accessible from a trail on the north side of the Village on Redwood neighborhood. Bike and pedestrian access only.

Parking & Trail Conditions

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One of the most popular City of Fort Collins natural areas is Bobcat Ridge, where the parking lot often fills to capacity. Save yourself frustration and check the new webcam to see if there is parking before you go! The image is updated every 6 minutes. Remember to have a back-up destination in mind because conditions might change by the time you arrive.

In other news, Udall Natural Area will close for riverbank restoration starting October 1.

You can check trail conditions and closures at NoCoTrailReport.org or Fort Collins Natural Areas trail conditions webpage. Conditions are also posted on facebook and twitter.

Funding For Your Natural Area Idea or Project

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Three local sources of funding are available to support projects that enhance or steward public or private natural spaces:

The Enhancement Fund supports projects on City-certified natural areas such as native tree and shrub plantings, removal of exotic pest trees, wetland restoration, or native grassland revegetation.The information packet includes an application and provides details.Applications are due Nov. 3.

Nature in the City supports Community Projects with partner organizations such as HOA's, schools, community groups, non-profits, businesses, and others in the community to increase access to high quality natural spaces for people and wildlife.  You are invited to plan and implement neighborhood-scale projects that improve access to nature, increase landscape diversity, and connect wildlife corridors throughout the city. As Fort Collins grows toward its "buildout" population, these projects will help ensure that nature is well-integrated into the urban fabric of public and private lands. Applications are due October 2.

The City of Fort Collins' partner, Larimer County, offers Small Grants for Community Partnering (due September 7) for projects that:

  • Protect or enhance natural areas, including wildlife habitat, river areas, and wetlands.
  • Link existing open lands and parks.
  • Provide opportunities for environmental education, outdoor recreation, or nature interpretation.
  • Connect people to the land via agriculture or increased access to open spaces and natural areas.
  • Support research on Larimer County open spaces.

Nature's Harvest Fest

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Celebrate local nature and agriculture! Saturday, September 16, 9:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. at Gardens on Spring Creek, 2145 Centre Ave.

Everyone is invited to a free day of fun and learning for the whole family that includes live animals, interactive activities, live music, food, vendors, presentations, giveaways, and more! The full schedule is jammed with fun activities including two butterfly releases, cider tastings, bird banding demonstrations, bee hive tours, and more! Check fcgov.com/gardens for more details.

Restoration & Stewardship Update

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Restoration is an important part of stewarding natural areas.The City's Natural Areas Department restores grasslands, wetlands, foothills, and forests with the goal of supporting the natural functions of these treasured ecosystems, and the native wildlife and plants that make their homes there.  Did you know that 2,294 acres of City of Fort Collins natural areas are actively being restored? Active restoration means that innovative and varied techniques such as seeding, transplanting, weed control, grazing, and prescribed fire are used. The results are being monitored at these natural areas and it turns out, all the work pays off! At the natural areas being restored, 51% have more than three quarters native plants, about a quarter have between 25%-75% native plants, and another quarter have weeds dominating with less than 25% native plants. Learn more in the 2016 Resource Management Annual Report.

Upcoming Activities and Volunteer Opportunities

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Science Behind the Scenery: Amphibian Decline: Global to local, a view from the trenches  Wednesday, September 6, 7:00 p.m. – 8:00 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. Amphibian decline may seem like an exotic issue, but here in the Front Range of Colorado, some frogs are in trouble. Dr. Erin Muths will introduce a variety of amphibians and detail some of the local research on the secret life of toads. Bring a snack if you like. Parking is limited; please carpool, bike or walk. Free, registration required at fcgov.com/register

The Story of the American Bison, Thursday, September 7, 4:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. Soapstone Prairie Natural Area, meet at the south parking lot.See American bison in their natural habitat, the shortgrass prairie! We will meet at Soapstone Prairie Natural Area to learn about the bison and their impact on this ecosystem as we observe the herd. Please note: The bison are constantly on the move and we cannot guarantee that they will be visible. Bring binoculars, snacks, water, closed-toe shoes, and sun protection. 0.5 miles; easy. Free, registration required at fcgov.com/register

Environmental Stewardship Project for Teens, Saturday, September 9, 9:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. Get your hands dirty and spend a day with your friends outside! This is an opportunity to actively participate in the restoration of your natural areas. Participants will play a role in choosing a project and site once registered. Free, registration required at fcgov.com/register

Skygazing at Fossil Creek Reservoir, Saturday, September 9, 9:00 p.m. – 11:00 p.m. Fossil Creek Reservoir, 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, registration required at fcgov.com/register

Rustic Women of Soapstone Prairie, Monday, September 11, 1:00 p.m. – 2:30 p.m. Soapstone Prairie Natural Area, meet at the north parking lot. Early pioneers required sacrifice, hard work, and determination to make a living. Learn about three historical women who homesteaded at Soapstone Prairie and get a glimpse of pioneer life on the prairie. 0.25 miles on paved trail; easy. Free, registration required at fcgov.com/register

Senior Stroll: If Skulls Could Talk, Thursday, September 14, 9:30 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. Nix Farm, 1745 Hoffman Mill Rd. Enjoy a short stroll along the Poudre Trail while learning about the wildlife the river supports. Skulls will be used to show the similarities and differences between different animal species. 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 wheelchairs and walkers. Shade and/or an indoor facility is available. Free, registration required at fcgov.com/register

Astronomy at Bobcat Ridge – The Magnificent Milky Way,, Friday, September 15, 7:30 p.m. – 10:00 p.m. Bobcat Ridge Natural Area, meet at the parking lot. Enjoy a brief, family-friendly astronomy, learn about our amazing galaxy and see the Milky Way in the autumn sky. 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 fcgov.com/register

New! Nix Native Plant Garden Tour, Wednesday, September 27, 9:00 a.m. – 10:30 a.m. at Nix Farm, 1745 Hoffman Mill Rd. Explore what's in bloom in the Nix Native Plant Garden and learn why native plants are important for birds, pollinators, and other wildlife. Come away with wildflower seeds and ideas for incorporating native plants in your home gardens. Bring water, sun protection, and any other comforts you might need. Free, registration required at fcgov.com/register

Science Behind the Scenery: Ancient People of Fossil Creek, Thursday, September 28, 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. Discover what life may have been like for the ancient inhabitants of the plains. Anthropologist Dr. Jason LaBelle uncovered artifacts from over 1,200 years ago at Fossil Creek Wetlands. Bring a snack if you like. Free, registration required at fcgov.com/register

Volunteer Opportunity! 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. Volunteer to help expand the Laramie Foothills Bison Conservation Herd. Volunteers will work to remove old wire cattle fencing to make way for the phase II pasture expansion. Duties will include pulling t-posts, removing wire ties and rolling up wire. Please come prepared to work outside in the sun - wear closed toe shoes, and a hat. Natural Areas will provide sunscreen, water, snacks and lunch. Free, registration required at fcgov.com/register

Mountain Bike Ride at Soapstone Prairie, Saturday, September 30, 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. Soapstone Prairie Natural Area, meet at the south parking lot. For beginner and advanced riders alike! Members of Overland Mountain Bike Club will lead the ride and Master Naturalists will provide fascinating information about the area. Multiple route options; easy-strenuous. Length of ride will vary by route chosen: 1 hour, 2 hour, and 4 hour options. Bring your bike, helmet, snacks/lunch, water, and sun protection. Free, registration required at fcgov.com/register

Science Behind the Scenery: The State of the Poudre: A River Health Report Card
Thursday, October 5, 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

 

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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