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Plains Conservation Center

Astronomy Nights at Plains Conservation Center

Presented and Managed by the City of Aurora.

Come join the City of Aurora at the Plains Conservation Center for an exciting night of stars, planets, solar systems and s’mores. Each evening begins with a presentation by retired astronomy professor, Dr.Win Pendleton, including images of the stars and planets that make our solar system and universe unique. After Win discusses each night's topic we will venture outside for a campfire, s’mores and a chance to look at the planets and other objects through the telescope, weather permitting. Appropriate for ages 6 and up.

Each Astronomy night will have its own theme.

September 6 at 7:30 p.m.: Sizing Up the Universe. A simplified discussion of several methods used to measure the vast distances to objects in the Universe. Covers the short distance to the moon out to the edge of the known Universe.

October 4 at 6 p.m.: Black Holes: What, Where, Why and How. Take a jouney from Einstein's conjecture through decades of speculation and indirect evidence to the recent first photograph.

November 1 at 6 p.m.: Hubble Tour of the Solar System. This is a grand tour fo our Solar System using Hubble Telescope images of planets and moons as we go from Mercury to Pluto and beyond.

The City of Aurora's Parks, Recreation & Open Space department's mission is to encourage active lifestyles and create healthy environments for people, nature and community.

Price: $8

Location: Plains Conservation Center, 21901 E. Hampden Avenue, Aurora, CO 80013

Cooking on the Wood Burning Stove

You don’t need a modern kitchen to cook delicious food. Join us for an afternoon of tea and working together to bake yummy, period-appropriate treats on the wood burning stove in the McClean Soddy at the Plains Conservation Center. Recipes and all supplies provided. This class is geared towards adults and children 10 years and older.

 

 

Price:  Member $20, Non-member $24

 

Location: Plains Conservation Center, 21901 E. Hampden Avenue, Aurora, CO 80013

 

Full Moon Hike

Presented and Managed by the City of Aurora

Discover Aurora's true nature under the light of the full moon and learn a little about its history through this guided nature hike.

The City of Aurora's Parks, Recreation & Open Space department's mission is to encourage active lifestyles and create healthy environments for people, nature and community.

Dates: August 15, 2019 at 7:30 p.m., September 14, 2019 at 6:30pm and October 13, 2019 at 6 p.m.

Price: $5

Location: Plains Conservation Center, 21901 E. Hampden Avenue, Aurora, CO 80013 Phone 303-326-8380

 

Historical Uses of Edible and Medicinal Wild Plants of the Prairie Grasslands

Presented and managed by the City of Aurora.

Are you curious about the plants you see on the outskirts of the city? It may just be that those plants were once used to treat headaches, stop bleeding or aid in sleep. Take a hike to learn how these plants were once used by Native Americans and Western colonizers.

The City of Aurora Parks, Recreation & Open Space Department's mission is to encourage active lifestyles and create healthy environments for people, nature and community.

Price: Adults $10 Child $10

Location: Plains Conservation Center, 21901 E. Hampden Avenue, Aurora, CO 80013

 

Home on the Range: The Story of a Prairie Farm

Presented and managed by the City of Aurora

Get ready to step back in time when visiting the prairie sod home village at the Plains Conservation Center. Enjoy a wagon ride and light snack while touring an 1800s-style sod village, then interact with and feed our resident farm animals. Learn how early settlers survived life on the prairie, including how they got their food and endured the many hardships of homesteading.

This program take place Wednesdays - Sundays from 3-4 p.m.

The City of Aurora Parks, Recreation & Open Space Department's mission is to encourage active lifestyles and create healthy environments for people, nature and community.

Location: Plains Conservation Center, 21901 E. Hampden Avenue, Aurora, CO 80013

Price: $10, Children 2 and under free

 

 

Native Plant Master Course at Plains Conservation Center

The Denver Botanic Gardens and CSU Extension's Native Plant Master Program are cosponsoring a Native Plant Master® course at the Plains Conservation Center for the second time in several years. Come experience the wide open prairies of Colorado while learning about native and alien plants that live there. During three outdoor field sessions, you will learn common and scientific names, ecological relationships and human uses of 40 - 50 plants. You will also develop skills in using family features and a botanical key to identify plants. Course includes special emphasis on natives useful for landscaping and alien invasives that threaten native ecosystems.

 

This program is jointly sponsored by Denver Botanic Gardens and the Native Plant Master® Program. Please visit https://npm.eventbrite.com to explore other Native Plant Master offerings or sign up to get class announcements.

 

Price: $95 public

 

Instructors:

Lisa Mason - Horticulture Agent in Arapahoe County

Lucinda Greene -Assistant Horticulturist and Native Plant Master Coordinator in Arapahoe County

 

Special instructions, requests or notes:

 

Prerequisite: Basic Botany class. (For those with a botany background that have not completed a Native Plant Master course, this prerequisite may be waived. Contact lgreene@arapahoegov.com to request a waiver.)

 

 

 

Native Plant Master: All participants who pass three NPM courses will receive a Colorado Flora Certificate. For accepted volunteers, this course counts toward certification as a Native Plant Master. For more information on the volunteer program, see www.nativeplantmaster.org. To reduce overlap, take courses in different months and/or lifezones

Lifezone: Plains

 

When and where to meet: Plains Conservation Center - 21901 E Hampden Ave, Aurora, CO 80018. (303) 693-3621. (See map.) Meet at the center of the main lot. Please park in the lot to the east of the picnic shelter, not directly in front of the Front Range Building. Please arrive at 8:15 AM the first day to receive course materials. Course begins 8:30 AM sharp.

 

What to wear: Layered clothing for changing and/or severe weather conditions, hat, sturdy closed-toe footwear (suitable for cactus country), etc. Please come prepared for moderately strenuous walking on hot, cold, windy, rainy or snowy days.

What to bring: Textbook, pencil, hand lens (10x), daypack, water, sack lunch, rain gear, sun and wind protection, personal items you will need, etc.

 

Required Textbook: Flora of Colorado by Jennifer Ackerfield available through Colorado Native Plant Society bookstore (https://conps.org/conps-store), local and online retail outlets and the publisher (800-621-2736)

 

Carpooling: Carpooling is encouraged. Contact lgreene@arapahoegov.com if you would like to carpool and your contact information will be shared with others interested in carpooling.

 

Please visit https://npm.eventbrite.com to explore other Native Plant Master offerings or sign up to get class announcements. This program is jointly sponsored by Denver Botanic Gardens and the Native Plant Master® Program

For more information on the volunteer program, see www.nativeplantmaster.org

 

Photography Expeditions at Plains Conservation Center

 

Photography expeditions to the Plains Conservation Center offer opportunities to capture the life and the seasonal characteristics of the prairie in the best light possible. Dates and times are set to coordinate with sunsets, sunrises, moonsets and moonrises with one exception in May to focus on spring flowers. Each expedition is led by David Winger, a renowned garden and nature photographer.

 

Open to all skill levels. Participants are encourage to bring a tripod and a telephoto lens and dress appropriately for the weather as the class takes place outdoors.

 

 

Price: $26, $28 member

Location: Plains Conservation Center, 21901 E. Hampden Avenue, Aurora, CO 80013

 

 

 

Plains Conservation Center Wagon Tour

Get to know the prairie in a whole new way. On our ride across the plains, participants watch for wildlife in the landscape, from prairie dogs to pronghorn antelope and birds of prey, beneath the great stretching sky while learning about the short grass prairie ecosystem along the way. With stops at the sod homes and Cheyenne camp, your group will experience what it was like to be a homesteader and a Cheyenne Indian living on the prairie in the 1800's. Take a guided tour of the sod homestead and see the sod homes, schoolhouse and blacksmith shop. Then visit the Cheyenne camp to learn about how the Cheyenne lived on the prairie and followed the bison as a seminomadic tribe.

Please note: Tours are weather dependent. If a tour is cancelled due to weather, you will be contacted.

Date: Select Saturdays

Time: 10:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.

Location: Plains Conservation Center, 21901 E. Hampden Avenue, Aurora, CO 80013

 

 

Prairie Birding at the Plains Conservation Center

Presented and Managed by the City of Aurora

Join City of Aurora naturalists for a morning of birds and spectacular views at the Plains Conservation Center. Enjoy the open prairie and it's diversity of plant and animal life as you search for resident birds. From year-long residents like the Western Meadowlark to seasonal migrants like the Swainson's Hawk, there is always something to see. Whether you are new to birding or a seasoned pro, this is a great opportunity to meet other bird enthusiasts.Appropriate for ages 6 and older.

The City of Aurora's Parks, Recreation & Open Space department's mission is to encourage active lifestyles and create healthy environments for people, nature and community.

Date: March 30, June 22, September 29 and December 7, 2019

Time: 9 a.m.

Price: $5

Location: Plains Conservation Center, 21901 E. Hampden Avenue, Aurora, CO 80013 Phone 303-326-8380

Prairie Homestead Self-Guided Tour

Presented and Managed by the City of Aurora

Join us at the Plains Conservation Center for a self-guided tour of our historical sod village and tipis. See what a Native American tipi camp might have looked like in the early 1800s. Immerse yourself in a replication of an 1880s prairie homestead village with authentic artifacts and, depending on the season, real farm animals.

Please Note: All guests must check in at the PCC Visitor Center with purchase confirmation prior to beginning self-guided tour in order to receive site condition updates and the actual self-guided brochure.

For a more in-depth experience, sign up for a guided tour or program! Schedule a private tour by contacting Denver Botanic Gardens at info@botanicgardens.org or 720-865-3500.

The City of Aurora's Parks, Recreation & Open Space department's mission is to encourage active lifestyles and create healthy environments for people, nature and community.

 

Location: Plains Conservation Center, 21901 E. Hampden Avenue, Aurora, CO 80013

 

Hours for Self-Guided Tours:

Monday-Tuesday: Closed

Wednesday-Friday: 2-4:30 p.m.

Saturday: Noon - 4:30 p.m.

Sunday: 9 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.

 

 

 

 

 

Pronghorn: Not an Antelope, But a Living Fossil of the Pleistocene

Presented and Managed by the City of Aurora

When we spot them, we think mystery and antelope! These survivors from another world are native to Aurora and have adapted to the changing landscape. Join us for a wagon ride at the Plains Conservation Center to observe and learn about these living fossils from the Pleistocene.

The City of Aurora's Parks, Recreation & Open Space department's mission is to encourage active lifestyles and create healthy environments for people, nature and community.

Date: September 29, 2019

Time: 11a.m.

Price: $10

Location: Plains Conservation Center, 21901 E. Hampden Avenue, Aurora, CO 80013 Phone 303-326-8380

 

Superstition and Mythology of Aurora Owls

Presented and Managed by the City of Aurora

The Greek goddess Athena associates owls as protectors and the Hopi tribe see the burrowing owl as the god of death. Come learn about the owls native to Aurora and some of the mythology historically associated with them. We will be dissecting an owl pellet followed by a wagon ride to find owls!

The City of Aurora's Parks, Recreation & Open Space department's mission is to encourage active lifestyles and create healthy environments for people, nature and community.

Date: August 19, 2019

Time: 10 a.m.

Price: $8

Location: Plains Conservation Center, 21901 E. Hampden Avenue, Aurora, CO 80013 Phone 303-326-8380

 

The Eagle's Eyes Miss Nothing

Presented and Managed by the City of Aurora

Bald eagles have some of the best eyesight in the animal kingdom, and this has inspired cultural symbolism throughout history. Join us at the Plains Conservation Center to learn about these magnificent creatures while getting a close look at them aboard a wagon on the open prairie. Appropriate for ages 8 and older.

The City of Aurora's Parks, Recreation & Open Space department's mission is to encourage active lifestyles and create healthy environments for people, nature and community.

Date: July 25, 2019

Time: 7 p.m.

Price: $10

Location: Plains Conservation Center, 21901 E. Hampden Avenue, Aurora, CO 80013 Phone 303-326-8380

 

The Ins, Outs, Ups & Downs of Prairie Dogs

Presented and Managed by the City of Aurora

Have you ever been curious about those mound-building rodents you sometimes see around Aurora? Whether you think they are cute or a nuisance, there is no denying that they play a big role in shaping the prairie. Participate in an informative presentation on prairie dogs followed by a wagon tour of the Plains Conservation Center. Appropriate for ages 12 and up.

The City of Aurora's Parks, Recreation & Open Space department's mission is to encourage active lifestyles and create healthy environments for people, nature and community.

Date: September 22, 2019

Time: 2 p.m.

Price: $10

Location: Plains Conservation Center, 21901 E. Hampden Avenue, Aurora, CO 80013 Phone 303-326-8380

 

Vegetable Gardening on the High Plains: Heirloom and Beyond

*all sessions are individual registrations, students can take the full series or individual classes based on your interest

$34, $29 member for each session

Session 1: Saturday April 6- Learn how to start your veggie garden entirely from seeds! This class covers seed-starting basics and home propagation techniques. Learn how to maximize garden space at home through efficient garden planning and how many of each variety to start based on your needs as well as the best ways to organize vegetable beds.

Session 2: Saturday June 8 – Learn the best way to plant your veggie garden and the basics of garden maintenance, including soils and fertilization, watering and pest management. Learn about crop selection and vegetable varieties that are well suited to the climate of Colorado’s front-range. Get your hands dirty practicing the basics of planting and garden soil prep in the garden.

Session 3: Saturday August 3 – Get the basics of harvesting from your veggie garden. Proper harvest techniques and ongoing plant maintenance (including trellising, pruning, etc.) are covered. Look ahead at how to extend the growing season and transition a vegetable garden into the autumn with hardy leafy greens and other fall crops.

 

Instructor: Michael Guidi

Michael is a horticulturist at Denver Botanic Gardens and oversees Mordecai Children’s Garden, a diverse garden showcasing Colorado life zones ranging from the plains to the alpine tundra; it also contains a demonstration vegetable garden. Rock gardening and native plants are his main area of interest, but he is passionate about growing food and urban agriculture. In the past, he has worked in hydroponic food production, greenhouse production and organic farming. Michael holds a B.S. in biology with a focus on plant physiology and ecology. He currently sits on the board of directors of the North American Rock Garden Society.

 

Location: Plains Conservation Center, 21901 E. Hampden Avenue, Aurora, CO 80013

 

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