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Petrified Wood Tour and Investigation - At Cherokee Ranch and Castle

Join members of the Cherokee Ranch Science Institute on a tour of one of the oldest petrified wood sites in North America. Large trees were deposited along the meandering river 55 million years ago. This petrified wood preserved cell structure allows scientists to identify several different families of deciduous trees and to make assumptions about the climate during the Paleocene Epoch.

Price: $45, $40 member

Tour Guides: John McKinney

Special Instructions: The hike is off trail and of moderate difficulty. Please wear appropriate clothing. Closed-toe hiking shoes and long pants are highly recommended. Please also bring plenty of water, your lunch, sunscreen and a hat.

 

Location:

Cherokee Ranch and Castle

6113 N Daniels Park RD

Sedalia, CO 80135

 

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. In addition there will be ample time to capture photos of wild and domestic creatures, native plants and historical structures. All photography skill levels are encouraged to attend. The emphasis will be on high dynamic range photography with guidance from David Winger. A tripod is highly recommended along with clothes for protection against possible rain and or cold.

 

 

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.

Starting in September, the new later tours are scheduled to coincide with the spectacular sunsets at the Plains Conservation Center. Please refer to the calendar for start times.

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. and seasonally adjusted afternoon or evening start times. Please refer to the calendar for start times.

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.

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! Join us for a "Plains Conservation Center Wagon Tour" on a Saturday or schedule a private tour by contacting Denver Botanic Gardens at pccinfo@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: 1:30 p.m. - 4 p.m.

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

Prairie Pup Adventures

 

New! Prairie Pup Adventures at the Plains Conservation Center offers a hands-on, fun way for preschool aged children to learn about the animals, plants and people who call the prairie home. Each week we will investigate a topic with a story, exploration and project to take home. For children ages 3-5 with their accompanying caregiver. Meet in the Visitor Center at the Plains Conservation Center in Aurora for a fun adventure!

Tuesdays, starting January 7, 2020.

Time: 9a.m. - 10a.m.

February 11, 2020 at 9a.m. Seeds

Plant some seeds as we explore how prairie plants grow from seeds.

February 18, 2020 at 9a.m. Snakes

Come be a snake with us and explore these common prairie animals.

February 25, 2020 Prairie Bugs

Many insects make their home on the prairie.

March 3, 2020 at 9a.m. Pronghorn

Discover what is special about these prairie animals.

March 10, 2020 at 9a.m. Clay Painting

Paint with clay paint like the early Native Americans on the prairie.

March 17, 2020 at 9a.m. Homestead games

Play like the homesteader children.

March 24, 2020 Prairie Animal Tracks

Different animals leave different tracks.

March 31, 2020 at 9a.m. Music on the Prairie

Music was a way to entertain prairie children. Come make music with us.

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

 

 

 

Relational Rewilding: Bird Language and the Quiet Mind

A Rewilding walk. Rewild yourself, improve your birding success and see more wildlife by learning the language of the birds! If you enjoy time watching birds, at some point you have probably wondered what they are saying. This spring morning outing is not about identification through vocalizations, but rather is an introduction to a common language birds use to speak to each other about the landscape, predators and even YOU. This ancient survival skill is about  what  is being communicated   not  who  is communicating. By learning some bird language basics, energizing your senses and quieting the mind we can better understand the tweets, chirps and whistles of our feathered friends while enriching life in practical and surprising ways.

Price: $30, $25 member

Instructor: Kimberly Beck is passionate about facilitating deep relationships between people, nature and animals. Kimberly holds a Masters degree in Counseling and a Bachelors degree in Outdoor Education and Plant Biology. Currently she is owner and operator of both The Canine Effect, her dog training business, and Relational Rewilding Nature Guiding. Kimberly has designed and led environmental and humane education programs at state parks, outdoor education centers and animal shelters throughout the country. She is a Master Naturalist, a Native Plant Master, and has participated in continuing education programs through Wilderness Awareness School, 8 Shields Institute, and The Tracking Project - training in cultural and natural awareness, animal tracking, plant studies, bird language, primitive skills, and community building.

 

Special Instructions: Walk will take place exclusively outdoors; please dress accordingly for weather, bring sunscreen, hat, water, and lunch if desired. Be prepared for walking and light hiking.

Class length does NOT include drive time to or from our meeting place to the hiking location.

Location: Denver Botanic Gardens at Chatfield. All location details and directions will be sent the week before class.

 

Urban Farm Tour - Grow + Gather

Housed in a renovated historic auto shop, Grow + Gather has preserved the architectural legacy while re-imagining the original property to serve the needs of our urban farming operations, market and restaurant. From our rooftop greenhouse to our solar panels, beehives and gray water system, we are committed to creating a more local, sustainable and creative food experience. Guests will join us for a tour of our facility, followed by a rooftop greenhouse food tasting creatively curated by The Feedery's Executive Chef Jeff Schwing.

 

Special Instructions: A portion of the tour is not ADA accessible.

If you would like to enjoy brunch or lunch at The Feedery, we do encourage you to make a reservation ahead of time, which can be done online here.

 

Price: $28, $25 member

Instructor: George Gastis, Founder + Owner

 

George is a Cleveland, OH native and graduate of Denison University, transplanted and living in Denver since 1995. Prior to this latest venture, George was a marketing and tech-industry veteran, most recently as the owner of BrainSpark Media, which he founded in 2005 and then sold in 2015. As a lifelong gardener and food enthusiast, he has merged these passions with nearly three decades of professional experience to form Grow + Gather and The Feedery.

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 March 28- Seed Starting and Garden Planning Learn how to start your veggie garden entirely from seeds! This class will go over seed starting basics and home propagation techniques. We will also look at how to maximize your garden space at home through efficient garden planning and you'll learn how many of each variety to start based on your needs, scheduling your seed starting, as well as the best ways to organize your vegetable beds.

Session 2: Saturday June 6– Learn the best way to plant your veggie garden and the basics of garden maintenance, including soils and fertilization, watering and pest management. We'll also learn about crop selection and vegetable varieties that are well suited to the climate of Colorado's front range. Get your hands dirty as we practice the basics of planting and garden soil prep in the garden.

Session 3: Saturday August 8– This class will go over the basics of harvesting from your veggie garden. Proper harvest techniques and ongoing plant maintenance (including trellising, pruning, etc.) will be covered. We'll also 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. Ecological 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

 

Wagon and Walk Explorations at Plains Conservation Center: Geology

Visit an interesting rock outcrop at the Plains Conservation Center as you join us for a tour of the property that will include a wagon ride (weather permitting) and some walking to specific locations on the property to explore the topic in-depth. Appropriate for all ages. Closed-toe footwear, water bottle, sunscreen and hat recommended.

Price:  $10/person, ages 2 and under free

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

 

Wagon and Walk Explorations at Plains Conservation Center: Homestead

Visit the Plains Conservation Center's sod homestead and homestead garden as you join us for a tour of the property that will include a wagon ride (weather permitting) and some walking to specific locations on the property to explore the topic in-depth. Appropriate for all ages. Closed-toe footwear, water bottle, sunscreen and hat recommended.

Price:  $10, ages 2 and under free

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

 

Wagon and Walk Explorations at Plains Conservation Center: Prairie Animals

Focus on the animals that call the prairie home at the Plains Conservation Center as you join us for a tour of the property that will include a wagon ride (weather permitting) and some walking to specific locations on the property to explore the topic in-depth. Appropriate for all ages. Closed-toe footwear, water bottle, sunscreen and hat recommended.

Price:  $10, ages 2 and under free

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

 

Wagon and Walk Explorations at Plains Conservation Center: Prairie Plants and Flowers

Explore the shortgrass prairie at the Plains Conservation Center and learn about specific grasses and flowers as you join us for a tour of the property that will include a wagon ride (weather permitting) and some walking to specific locations on the property to explore the topic in-depth. Appropriate for all ages. Closed-toe footwear, water bottle, sunscreen and hat recommended.

Price:  $10, ages 2 and under free

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

 

Wagon and Walk Explorations at Plains Conservation Center: Riparian Scavenger Hunt

Explore the riparian area of the Plains Conservation Center and learn more about this important ecosystem as you join us for a tour of the property that will include a wagon ride (weather permitting) and some walking to specific locations on the property to explore the topic in-depth. Appropriate for all ages. Closed-toe footwear, water bottle, sunscreen and hat recommended.

Price:  $10, ages 2 and under free

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

 

Wild Wednesday Hikes Through Colorado's Life Zones - Alpine

Loveland Pass

Spend the morning with a guide learning about Colorado's alpine life zone and searching for wildflowers. This hike will start off at Loveland Pass, a high alpine pass about 60 miles west of Denver. Here we will see several different alpine plant communities, including fell fields, dry and wet alpine meadows, and snow fields. Dozens of species of wildflowers will carpet the tundra in a short but magnificent display of color. The pass hosts moss campion, phlox, alpine forget-me-nots along with dozens of others. Afterwards, we will drive a few hundred yards down the road to Loveland Lake where riparian alpine wildflowers like Parry's primrose, gentians, and roseroot are plentiful. This hike will be moderate at 4 miles or fewer (in total).

 

This hike will take place at very high elevation, from 12,000 to 12,500 ft so be aware you may be short of breath and experience altitude-related fatigue at this elevation!

 

Price: $25, $20 member

Instructor: Michael Guidi

 

Michael Guidi joined Denver Botanic Gardens in 2017 as a horticulturist where he manages the native plant themed Mordecai Children's Garden. Rock gardening and native plants are his main areas of horticultural interest, but he is broadly interested in alpine and aridland flora and ecology. Michael holds a B.S. in biology with a focus on plant physiology and ecology and currently sits on the board of directors of the North American Rock Garden Society.

Wild Wednesday Hikes Through Colorado's Life Zones - Foothills

Foothills Native Plants Hike

Spend the morning with a guide learning about the foothills life zone and searching for foothills wildflowers. This hike will occur at the JeffCo Open Space Park, Deer Creek Canyon, which is approximately a 27-mile drive from Denver. Deer Creek Canyon Park boasts diverse plant communities including Gambel oak groves, ponderosa pine forests, Douglas-fir forests, grasslands, and riparian. The park is one of the choicest locations to see wildflowers in late spring, including larkspur, Yucca, locoweed, several species of Penstemon and Astragalus. The participants will be provided with a plant list which includes scientific and common names of some of the plants that may be encountered on the hike. The hike itself is approximately 2.5 miles and is rated as moderate, due to a few steep, rocky sections.

 

Price: $25, $20 member

Instructor: Jen Toews

 

Jen Toews joined the Gardens in 2015 as the Plant Recorder and is responsible for researching nomenclature and the accessioning of all plants entering the Gardens. She is an author of the recently published field guide Wildflowers of the Rocky Mountain Region (2018) and has developed content for and taught native plants classes at the Gardens. She holds a BA in Biology from Metropolitan State University of Denver, an MA in English from CU Denver, and is a Native Plant Master®. Outside of work Jen enjoys hiking and photographing Colorado's diverse plants and their habitats and writing about nature-themed adventures in her blog, Telesonix Times.

Wild Wednesday Hikes Through Colorado's Life Zones - Montane

Montane Native Plants Hike - Reynolds Park

Spend the morning with a guide learning about the montane life zone and searching for wildflowers. This hike will occur at Reynolds Park, which is approximately a 40-mile drive from Denver. This park showcases ponderosa pine forests, a riparian corridor, scenic overlooks, and an array of wildflowers including paintbrush, pinedrops, wild currants, scarlet gilia, and native thistle. The participants will be provided with a plant list which includes scientific and common names of some of the plants that may be encountered. Exact trail TBD, but will be moderate and 4 miles or fewer.

 

Price: $25, $20 member

Instructor: Jen Toews

 

Jen Toews joined the Gardens in 2015 as the Plant Recorder and is responsible for researching nomenclature and the accessioning of all plants entering the Gardens. She is an author of the recently published field guide Wildflowers of the Rocky Mountain Region (2018) and has developed content for and taught native plants classes at the Gardens. She holds a BA in Biology from Metropolitan State University of Denver, an MA in English from CU Denver, and is a Native Plant Master®. Outside of work Jen enjoys hiking and photographing Colorado's diverse plants and their habitats and writing about nature-themed adventures in her blog, Telesonix Times.

Wild Wednesday Hikes Through Colorado's Life Zones - Plains/Steppe

Green Mountain - William Frederick Hayden Park

Spend the morning with a guide learning about the plains life zone and the flora of Colorado's prairie wildflowers. This hike will take place at William Frederick Hayden Park which encompasses Green Mountain, a 6,800 foot mesa on the west side of Denver. Expect to see beautiful wildflowers including Oenothera, Astragalus, and Lupine as well as learn to identify some of the major grasses and shrubs of the plains life zone. This hike will take us to the summit of Green Mountain and along the way we will see different exposures and microclimates in which dramatically different plant communities exist; these ecotones (transitional biological communities) will represent a transition between plains and foothills flora. The participants will be provided with a plant list which includes scientific and common names of some of the plants that may be encountered on the hike. This hike is 6 miles in length with 500 feet of elevation gain.

 

Price: $25, $20 member

Instructor: Michael Guidi

 

Michael Guidi joined Denver Botanic Gardens in 2017 as a horticulturist where he manages the native plant themed Mordecai Children's Garden. Rock gardening and native plants are his main areas of horticultural interest but he is broadly interested in alpine and aridland flora and ecology. Michael holds a B.S. in biology with a focus on plant physiology and ecology and currently sits on the board of directors of the North American Rock Garden Society.

Wild Wednesday Hikes Through Colorado's Life Zones - Subalpine

 

Lake Isabelle

Spend the morning with a guide learning about Colorado's subalpine life zone and searching for wildflowers. Lake Isabelle is situated at 11,000 feet in the heart of the Indian Peaks Wilderness. Framed by Navajo, Apache, and Shoshoni peaks, this beautiful lake offers some of the most spectacular mountain scenery close to the front range. Just as spectacular are the abundant wildflowers along the trail and surrounding the lake. Along the way, the trail moves through subalpine forest of spruce and fir, crosses several wildflower-bordered streams, and eventually opens up to wide subalpine meadows surrounding the lake. Stands of bluebells, Penstemon, Erigeron, Paintbrush and Pedicularis will keep us busy on the 4.1 mile hike up to the lake.

 

This hike will take place at moderately high elevation, from 10,500 to 11,000 feet so be aware you may be short of breath and experience altitude-related fatigue at this elevation!

 

Price: $25, $20 member

Instructor: Michael Guidi

 

Michael Guidi joined Denver Botanic Gardens in 2017 as a horticulturist where he manages the native plant themed Mordecai Children's Garden. Rock gardening and native plants are his main areas of horticultural interest, but he is broadly interested in alpine and aridland flora and ecology. Michael holds a B.S. in biology with a focus on plant physiology and ecology and currently sits on the board of directors of the North American Rock Garden Society.

Workshop - Festival of Flowers: Floral Designing and Flower Feast

Spend an enchanting Denver evening celebrating the sensory delights of flowers, as we begin to welcome in autumn. Led by the designers from Designs Inspired by You, create a lovely floral centerpiece. Then indulge in a delicious farm-to-table dinner featuring edible flowers and fresh, organic produce. Discover how to incorporate edible flowers, the scrumptious flavors of summer and the art of flower arranging, for a delighful effect.

Recipes, beverage, dinner and floral centerpiece included.

 

Price: $80, $75 member

Instructors: Lisa Weddel, Laura Tonner, Susan Evans

 

Lisa Weddel AIFD PFCI has been in the floral industry for over 30 years. She has been active in all areas of the industry from designer, teacher to owner of several businesses. Lisa has a floriculture degree, is an Iowa Master florist, as well as being an accredited member of the American Institute of Floral Designers organization where she currently holds the position of President of the South-Central Chapter. In addition, Lisa has served on the Board of Trustees of the Professional Floral Communicators International as Chairman. This is an organization under the umbrella of the Society of American Florists.

Past floral accomplishments include designing at the prestigious Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena, CA for over 16 parades as a designer as well as a team leader. She designed on the floral team for President George W. Bush's 2005 Presidential Inauguration, designed at the 2019 Kentucky Derby and has the same honor this coming May.

 

Laura Tonner has enjoyed working in the floral industry for 5 years. Her favorite part has been designing for weddings and events, but she has done just about everything. She has experience is retail, deliveries and the day to day operations of a small flower shop. All of this has led to her latest endeavor as the co-owner of Designs Inspired by You, the first of its kind floral experience studio.

Laura has a floral certificate from a local design school, won an academic scholarship from FAR (Floral Association of the Rockies) and has attended the Rose Parade as a designer two years.

 

Susan Evans specializes in empowering people to improve their health and lifestyle through herbal and wellness education. Let Susan introduce you to herbs for healing, cooking, gardening and crafting.

Susan has been cultivating and working with herbs for more than 30 years. She managed garden centers and greenhouses in Denver before starting her own organic landscaping business, Flowerscapes, which she owned and operated for 12 years. She has worked as a master gardener and volunteer naturalist for Jefferson County, Colorado.

She has a certificate in advanced clinical herbalism from the Rocky Mountain Center for Botanical Studies in Boulder and has over 1,500 hours of clinical study and experience in the uses of medicinal plants. After attaining her certification in 1997, she founded Chrysalis Herbs. Since then, she has devoted herself to sharing her love and knowledge of herbs and gardening, helping people to reconnect with the beauty and healing aspects of the natural world.

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