Exciting news! We bought a condo! It’s close to the river bike path, near several Natural Areas, and less than a mile walk from the center of downtown Fort Collins. It’s modern, bright, and very energy efficient with foam insulation, a tankless hot water heater, double pane windows, a 92% efficiency furnace, and a downstairs neighbor who will heat our floor. We love it.
To celebrate, we are offering FREE shipping on Pacific Crest Trail: A Journey in Photographs book orders until June 25th. (That’s a good discount because shipping large heavy books isn’t cheap!)
We think you’ll love the book — but don’t take our word for it. Liz Bergeron, Executive Director and CEO of the Pacific Crest Trail Association, says:
This is the best collection of PCT photographs I’ve seen! Day hikers, section hikers, thru hikers, and anyone who enjoys the outdoors will love this book. The photos do a great job of capturing the essence of the PCT.
Anna recently completed her Master Naturalist training! The classroom training was extensive and covered subjects from the ecology of the prairie to the geology of the Rocky Mountains.
One of her favorite topics during the training ended up being prairie dogs. They are fascinating creatures, and a true keystone species, with about 160 other species benefiting from their presence. Prairie dogs turn the soil as they dig their complex tunnel systems, inadvertently aerating and fertilizing the soil. They are a great food source for larger animals like eagles, hawks, and ferrets. Plus, their abandoned burrows serve as homes for other animals, like burrowing owls and rabbits.
Master Naturalist training requires not just absorbing information, but also teaching it. In mid-April, each trainee had to create and present a lesson plan on a topic of their choice. Anna decided to give a talk about the water cycle and water conservation, geared towards 3rd graders. Her water cycle drawing connected with people, but the real hit was her Lego dioramas depicting the river and various ways humans use its water. She filled the river container with water, then poured the water into other containers representing a variety of city and agricultural uses. This demonstration visually showed that our water supply is limited, and that we need to conserve and share the water with wildlife.
Earlier this month, Anna was very excited to learn she’d been accepted into the Fort Collins Master Naturalist Program! The program provides 60 hours of ecological and interpretive training. After completing the training and giving two trial presentations, she’ll become a certified Master Naturalist. Anna will then volunteer to lead field trips and informative nature walks in the Natural Areas around Fort Collins.
Training began this week with classes in the ecology of the Rocky Mountains, taxonomy, life zones, aquatic invertebrates, and the shape and speed of rivers. The teachers and other trainees are awesome. Everyone is passionate about the natural world and each participant brings their own expertise. Anna will likely come away from the training with new friends in addition to new knowledge.
Yesterday’s class took place in the middle of the Poudre River, where she practiced dip netting and identification of aquatic invertebrates. So much fun!
Anna will learn much more in the coming month of classes, including:
Geology of the Front Range
Plant Ecology of the Shortgrass Prairie
Mammals of the Rockies
Riparian Native Trees and Shrubs
Night Sky and Nocturnal Animals
Birds of Fort Collins
Interpretation and Outreach Techniques for Different Age Groups
Though we won’t write about all the classes here, we’ll make sure to include pieces of Anna’s newfound knowledge in our future hiking posts.