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Spring In Fort Collins: A Photo Tour

Considering the biggest snowstorm of last year was in May, we might not be in the clear yet, but Spring seems itching to get started. Here’s some shot I got from around town this week. Enjoy!

The trees are blooming outside the bus station, which was formerly the train depot. The bike library recently re-located their downtown office to the bus station- check them out this Spring when you need to grab a ride!

The trees are blooming outside the bus station, which was formerly the train depot. The bike library recently re-located their downtown office to the bus station- check them out this Spring when you need to borrow a ride!

Some little bushes downtown are turning bright pink

Some little bushes downtown are turning bright pink

GREEN! Did you miss green? The trees at my house are sprouting new leaves.

GREEN! Did you miss green? The trees at my house are sprouting new leaves.

Some little buds which will probably be bright red flowers soon

Some little buds which will probably be bright red flowers soon

 

 

 

 

Natural Areas Events in May

Astronomy at Bobcat Ridge: Wish Upon a Shooting Star

Friday, May 2, 7:30-10:00 p.m., Bobcat Ridge Natural Area

Meet at the picnic shelter, 1/8 mile from the parking lot.

Shooting stars, or meteors, are seen at unexpected moments in the night sky.  Later this month will bring views of a special meteor shower. Learn why meteor showers happen and the best time to view them at a brief program, followed by viewing with telescopes provided by the Northern Colorado Astronomical Society. Please arrive on time—the gate closes shortly after the program begins and parking is not allowed on the road outside the gate. Free, REGISTRATION REQUIRED at NatureTracker.fcgov.com.

 

Foothills Geology

Saturday, May 3, 9:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m., Coyote Ridge Natural Area

Meet at the parking lot on Taft Hill Road.

Discover some of the forces that shaped the Front Range landscape on this adult hike in the foothills. 4 miles, easy to moderate. Free, no registration required, but you can get a reminder and updates by signing up at NatureTracker.fcgov.com.

 

Making Connections

Monday, May 5, 5:30-7:30 p.m., Bobcat Ridge Natural Area

Meet at the picnic shelter, 1/8 mile from the parking lot.

How are a rock, tree, squirrel, and bird connected? Discover the way that nature threads everything together. Bring along a sack supper to eat on the trail. Families welcome. 1-2 miles, easy. Free, no registration required, but you can get a reminder and updates by signing up at NatureTracker.fcgov.com.

 

Nature at Noon: Candid Critters—Using Cameras for Research and Outreach

Thursday, May 8, 12:00-1:00 p.m., Community Room at 215 N. Mason

Enter on the north side of the building.

Learn about a cooperative project between Wildlife Society undergraduates at Colorado State and sixth graders from Boltz Middle School utilizing motion-triggered cameras at Pineridge Natural Area. CSU students worked with the sixth graders to demonstrate the differences and diversity in local wildlife and their habitats, allowing Boltz students to draw real-life connections to their ecology curriculum. Free, REGISTRATION REQUIRED at NatureTracker.fcgov.com.

 

Skygazing at Fossil Creek

Friday, May 9, 8:30-10:00 p.m., Fossil Creek Reservoir Natural Area.

Meet at the parking lot off Carpenter Road.

Dress warmly and bring a blanket or chair to sit on to enjoy viewing the night skies with telescopes provided by the Northern Colorado Astronomical Society. For cancellation updates related to weather, visit the NCAS website at ncastro.org. Free, no registration required, but you can get a reminder and updates by signing up atNatureTracker.fcgov.com.

 

Family Night Walk

Saturday, May 10, 7:30-9:30 p.m., SE side of Fort Collins

Explore a natural area after dark. Discover how animals use their night senses and how we can be more aware of our own senses. Learn to appreciate the night and nocturnal wildlife through activities and demonstrations along the way. This walk is designed for families. Groups should contact dprice@fcgov.com to schedule a separate time. Bring a jacket, good walking shoes, and water. 1-2 miles, easy. Free, REGISTRATION REQUIRED at NatureTracker.fcgov.com. Location given at registration.

 

Adult Night Walk

Monday, May 12, 7:30-9:30 p.m., SE side of Fort Collins.

Explore a natural area after dark. Discover how animals use their night senses and how we can be more aware of our own senses. Enjoy the sounds of night, as well as the quiet. This walk is designed for adults. Children 16 and older may attend, but only when accompanied by an adult. Groups should contact dprice@fcgov.com to schedule a separate time. Bring a jacket, good walking shoes, and water. 2 miles, easy. Free, REGISTRATION REQUIRED at NatureTracker.fcgov.com. Location given at registration.

 

Nature Nuggets—Spectacular Spiders

Thursday, May 15, 10:00-11:00 a.m., Bobcat Ridge Natural Area

Meet at the picnic shelter, 1/8 mile from the parking lot.

Small or large–spiders have an important role in the animal kingdom. Interactive program with stories, fun facts, activities, and crafts for children ages 3-7 and parents. Parent must stay with child during the program. You may bring a picnic lunch to enjoy afterwards if you like. Groups or day care centers should contact dprice@fcgov.com to schedule a separate time for a program. Free, no registration required, but you can get a reminder and updates by signing up at NatureTracker.fcgov.com.

 

Sketching Lindenmeier Landscapes

Saturday, May 17, 9:00 a.m.-noon, Soapstone Prairie Natural Area

Meet at the north parking lot by 8:45 a.m.

Follow in the tradition of Edwin G. Cassedy, the Smithsonian artist who sketched the terrain at Lindenmeier during the Smithsonian visit to the site 80 years ago. Hike the Towhee Trail for great views. Bring sketching pads and hiking boots. Meet at the north parking lot. 2-3 miles, moderate. Bring water, snacks, and lunch. Taught by Gary Raham, natural science writer and illustrator. Afterwards, join in the celebration of Soapstone Prairie–”Looking Forward by Looking Back,” featuring lots of presentations and activities on site. Free, REGISTRATION REQUIRED at NatureTracker.fcgov.com.

 

Lindenmeier: Looking Forward by Looking Back

Saturday, May 17 and Sunday, May 18, 10 a.m.-4 p.m., Soapstone Prairie Natural Area.

Most activities are at the north parking lot.

Celebrate the special history and importance of Soapstone Prairie. This event kicks off a 2014 celebration of the 80th anniversary of the Smithsonian visit to this site, when evidence was found that helped prove humans lived here at least 10,000 years ago. Learn about the past, and look to the future through archaeology programs, history presentations and hands-on activities. For a full schedule, visit NatureTracker.fcgov.com or call 970-416-2815. Free,  no registration required, but you can get a reminder and updates by signing up at NatureTracker.fcgov.com.

 

Poudre River Walk

Saturday, May 17, 9:30-11:00 a.m., Lee Martinez Park

Meet at the parking lot by the tennis courts.

Enjoy a leisurely walk along the Poudre River trail to observe the relationships between the river and the birds, trees, and animals found in the river environment. Families welcome. 1-2 miles, easy. Free, no registration required, but you can get a reminder and updates by signing up at NatureTracker.fcgov.com.

 

Bobcat Ridge Wildflowers through the Seasons

Wednesday, May 21, 5:30-7:00 p.m., Bobcat Ridge Natural Area

Meet in the parking lot.

Depending on the seasons, different wildflowers are blooming. Come every third Wednesday through September to see current flowers in bloom and learn about native plants. 1-2 miles, easy.  Free, REGISTRATION REQUIRED at NatureTracker.fcgov.com.

 

Nature Nuggets—Spectacular Spiders

Thursday, May 22, 10-11 a.m., Fossil Creek Reservoir Natural Area

Meet at the program shelter near the parking lot off Carpenter Road.

Small or large–spiders have an important role in the animal kingdom. Interactive program with stories, fun facts, activities, and crafts for children ages 3-7 and parents. Parent must stay with child during the program. You may bring a picnic lunch to enjoy afterwards if you like. Groups or day care centers should contact dprice@fcgov.com to schedule a separate time for a program. Free, no registration required, but you can get a reminder and updates by signing up at NatureTracker.fcgov.com.

 

Prairie and Foothills Adaptations Hike

Saturday, May 24, 9:00-11:30 a.m., Reservoir Ridge Natural Area

Meet at the parking lot at the west end of Michaud Lane.

Investigate plants that grow in the prairies and foothills and learn about adaptations that help plants and animals survive in an arid climate. 3 miles, easy to moderate. Free, no registration required, but you can get a reminder and updates by signing up at NatureTracker.fcgov.com.

 

Nature Nuggets—Tricky Tracks

Thursday, May 29, 10-11 a.m., Bobcat Ridge Natural Area

Meet at the picnic shelter, 1/8 mile from the parking lot.

You may not always see wildlife but they leave clues behind! Interactive program with stories, fun facts, activities, and crafts for children ages 3-7 and parents. Parent must stay with child during the program. You may bring a picnic lunch to enjoy afterwards if you like. Groups or day care centers should contact dprice@fcgov.com to schedule a separate time for a program. Free, no registration required, but you can get a reminder and updates by signing up at NatureTracker.fcgov.com.

 

Natural History of Coyote Ridge

Friday, May 30, 9:00-11:00 a.m., Coyote Ridge Natural Area

Meet at the parking lot on Taft Hill Road.

Discover the wide variety of prairie wildlife and plants, and see how geology connects it all as you ascend into the foothills. 2.5 miles, easy. Free, no registration required, but you can get a reminder and updates by signing up at NatureTracker.fcgov.com.

 Events for City Natural Areas

Prairie Plant Walk

Saturday, May 31, 8:30-9:30 a.m., Cathy Fromme Prairie Natural Area, meet at the Shields St. parking lot.

Take a leisurely stroll and explore interesting plants and flowers of the prairie. ½ mile, easy. Free, no registration required, but you can get a reminder and updates by signing up at NatureTracker.fcgov.com.

 

Astronomy at Bobcat Ridge: The Show-Off Planets

Saturday, May 31, 8:00-11:00  p.m., Bobcat Ridge Natural Area.

Meet at the picnic shelter, 1/8 mile from the parking lot.

Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn are all visible in the evening sky in May. Learn more about the red, robust, and ringed planets in a brief program, followed by viewing with telescopes provided by the Northern Colorado Astronomical Society. Please arrive on time—the gate closes shortly after the program begins and parking is not allowed on the road outside the gate. Free, REGISTRATION REQUIRED at NatureTracker.fcgov.com.

 

Larimer County Guided Hikes and Events

  • Wednesdays, May 7 and 21 “Nature Notes Club Meeting” Join the Nature Notes Club for their regular May meetings. You’ll get the chance to journal, paint, photograph and more with this fun group of people. This program will be stationary with some easy walking. Approximately 3 hour program. Please dress appropriately for the weather, and bring along all of your journaling supplies. Nature Notes meetings are held on the 1st and 3rd Wednesday of the month, usually during the day. Contact Heather at (970) 619-4489 for more details, such as time and location.

 

  • Monday, May 5 at 10:00 a.m. “Tiny Trekkers” Join Larimer County Naturalists for a special program designed for your toddler and you. This program at Devil’s Backbone Open Space, located just west of Loveland, off of Hwy 34, will be a morning filled with crafts, stories and fun facts! A parent or guardian must accompany the child for this hour long program. After the program, feel free to explore the open space with your child! Program is free. Please go to larimer.org/NRregistration to sign up. Please direct questions to Heather at (970) 619-4489.

 

  • Tuesday, May 6 at 6:00 p.m. “What’s in Bloom at Devil’s Backbone?” Join Naturalists Caroline and Jay for a wildflower walk at Devil’s Backbone Open Space, located just west of Loveland, off of Hwy 34. You’ll have a fantastic time searching out the early spring beauties in this healthy foothills plant community. Approximately 2-hour program. Hike rating: Easy.  Please dress appropriately for the weather, and pack plenty of water for the trail. Program is free, but registration is required. Please go to larimer.org/NRregistration to sign up. Please direct questions to Heather at (970) 619-4489.

 

  • Saturday, May 17 at 10:00 a.m. “Burst in to Nature” Buff up on your nature knowledge with this hike focused on Project BudBurst and Project Noah, two programs that let you be the scientist! Use your smart phone to document plant and animals species. Don’t have a smart phone? Bring your digital camera instead! The whole family is invited to Devil’s Backbone Open Space, located just west of Loveland off of Hwy 34, to learn about the wildflowers and wildlife of the area, and connect your family to nature. Hike rating: Easy. Please bring water for the trail and dress appropriately for the weather. Approximately 2 hour program. Program is free, but registration is required. Please go to larimer.org/NRregistration to sign up. Please direct questions to Heather at (970) 619-4489.

Dear Mountain Biking, Yurasonofabitch

So since we are talking so much about mountain biking this month, I thought I’d share a somewhat inappropriate anecdotal story about my first mountain biking experience.

Back in college I had a friend whose last name sounded an awful lot like something you would shout at someone you were really pissed off at. It was difficult to pronounce with its origins in the balkans, and full of y’s and u’s and v’s. I can’t remember who came up with it, but it was the kind of last name that was going to end up with an inappropriate nickname sooner or later.

John loved to mountain bike. He persuaded me to go with him one Saturday morning on infectious enthusiasm alone. And later that morning, as I struggled to get myself and a heavy borrowed bike that was too big for me up the first hill, I thought, as my weak little legs churned up lactic acid and burned, for the first time that here was actually an instance that merited the nickname. The trail we were on was undoubtedly intermediate, not great for a pathetic first timer like me. And I thought to myself: John, yurasonofabitch.