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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


Pumpkin Festival

**Door Prices effective at 9 a.m. each day of the event (if tickets are available)**

Celebrate fall with this treasured October tradition for the entire family. Enjoy a day of fall activities at Chatfield Farms. Ticket price includes access to the 10-acre pumpkin patch and family and children's activities. Pumpkin prices vary by size; the average price is $8. Pumpkins are not included in your admission ticket, they must be purchased separately.

It is recommended to bring a wagon to transport pumpkins. Free pumpkin daycare is available while you enjoy the rest of the festival.

Festival includes:

Family and children's activities

Live music

Local craft and artisan booths

Food trucks and food vendors

Beer and wine vendors

Admission includes these activities:

Entry to the pumpkin patch

Antique tractor exhibit by Front Range Antique Power Association

Tractor-pulled parking shuttles

Pony rides and horse-drawn hayrides

Photo booths

Five carnival game tickets per child's paid admission

Barrel train rides for children 12 and younger

Mini-maze for kids 10 and younger

Jumping pillow for kids up to 54" tall.

Bouncers, slides and obstacle courses

Express face painting

Additional costs include the Corn Maze right next door, pumpkin golf cart shuttles directly to your car, stunt jump, hamster balls and additional carnival game tickets.

During Pumpkin Festival weekend, birthday parties are welcome, however Chatfield Farms does not formally reserve space or assume any coordination of these events.


Putting Your Rose Garden to Bed

Rocky Mountain Gardening Elective

Just about everyone grows a rose bush or two.Congress designated the rose as America s national floral emblem in 1986.The popularity of growing roses began thousands of years ago and continues today.The rose growing series offered by American Rose Society Consulting Rosarians and experts from the Denver Rose Society will cover how to grow healthy, easy care beautiful roses for years to come. The series covers secrets to successful rose growing, no pain pruning, versatile shrub roses, fragrant roses, and winter care. Choose one class or take them all and come away with confident rose growing skills and greater appreciation for the  Queen of Flowers. 

Preparing your roses for winter is the key to growing those fabulous flowers in the spring. Learn why fall and winter care keeps your roses healthy from year to year and how to prepare new rose beds for spring planting. Get tips on early transplanting or rearranging the rose bed. A recommended list of roses that do well along the Front Range and higher altitudes will be included to take home.


Instructor: Peggy Williams, Consulting Rosarian

Price: $32, $27 members

Red: A Color of Passion

Capturing the right red is an interesting challenge for the illustrator. During this three-day workshop, we create rich reds using different pigments to make the subjects come alive on the paper. We explore reds, maroons and purples found in nature, seasonal flowers, orchids and juicy fruits. Build on your watercolor skills as you learn to mix the red hues you need and effectively apply color to create value and form. Instructor demonstrations, practical exercises and individual guidance with a variety of red botanical material prepare you to complete a finished plate of a red-blossomed specimen.

Prerequisite: Botanical Illustration in Watercolor I or intermediate skills in watercolor

Fee: $365 member, $415 non-member

Date(s): Fri-Sun, Oct. 11-13, 9 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.

Instructor: Isik Güner, Turkey


Isik Güner studied environmental engineering at Marmara University in Istanbul. During her undergraduate years, she also began studying botanical illustration, attending courses by Christabel King. Immediately after she graduated from university in 2006, she began working full time as a botanical artist.

Isik is involved with several projects and is currently organizing botanical illustration courses in various countries including Spain, Chile, Turkey and Scotland. She has received several gold medals at the Royal Horticultural Society’s botanical art exhibitions. She was the 2017 artist-in-residence at Denver Botanic Gardens.


Relational Rewilding: Becoming Animal - The Secrets of Stealth for Improved Wildlife Watching

Autumn is an ideal time for watching wildlife, so rewild yourself and see more animals by learning basic tips for blending in with your environment. Do you want to observe more than fleeing deer and birds? How do you activate a more respectful and effective engagement with the wild world? Join us for a fun and enlightening outdoor class that discusses tracking, animal senses, stealth strategies and human/animal relationships. Engaging your animal-self will not only change the way you move through nature, but also how you move through life.


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.


Genesee Park

Specific location details will be sent out about a week prior to the hike.


Rocky Mountain Bonsai Society Show & Sale

Join us for the 50th anniversary of the Rocky Mountain Bonsai Society Show. Activities include demonstrations, vendors selling starter bonsai and accessories, society historical displays and tours by RMBS members. The featured guest artist is Todd Schlaffer, a local professional bonsai artist. Included with admission.

Rocky Mountain Steppe Summit

The Gardens' Second Annual Rocky Mountain Steppe Summit features four leading speakers on the Steppe Regions. Learn about Denver's unique ecosystem, as part of one of the steppe regions of the world.



9 a.m. Plants and Adventures Along the Silk Road with Nick Courtens

10 a.m. Coffee Break

10:30 a.m. From Hippodrome to Wild Peonies and Fermented Horse Milk with Mervi Hjelmroos-Koski

11:30 a.m. Lunch (provided) Interlude to Steppe Garden with Mike Bone

1 p.m. Conservation of Crop Wild Relatives in Kyrgyzstan David Gunn

2 p.m. STEPPE CULT - Three Years of Thoughts and Actions in the Steppe Garden with Kevin Williams



Tajikistan & Uzbekistan – Plants and Adventures Along the Silk Road

Nick Courtens

Curator of Plant Collections

Betty Ford Alpine Gardens


In April of 2018, Nick Courtens traveled to Tajikistan and Uzbekistan through a grant to learn about and document the region’s flora as research for building a new rock garden at Betty Ford Alpine Gardens dedicated to Central Asia. Through photographs and stories, Nick shares his experiences of these less travelled steppe countries full of unusual plants, colorful architecture and celebrated culture. Nick speaks in depth about how he built the new Silk Road Garden and gives an update on the successes and failures of growing unusual Central Asian plants at 8,200 feet.


Nick hails from the Catskill Mountains of New York where he developed a passion for plants and gardening on his family’s organic vegetable farm. Upon graduating from the Professional Gardener Training Program at Longwood Gardens in Pennsylvania, Nick moved out west in search of mountains, skiing and horticulture at Betty Ford Alpine Gardens. For the past nine years, Nick has been responsible for all horticulture and maintenance at Betty Ford while also building new rock gardens, an alpine house and expanding the plant collections as well as many other major renovation projects for the gardens this past summer.


From Hippodrome to Wild Peonies and Fermented Horse Milk

Mervi Hjelmroos-Koski

Manager of the School of Botanical Art & Illustration

Denver Botanic Gardens


Mervi shares her experience on a recent School of Botanical Art and Illustration arts and archives tour along the Silk Road from Istanbul to Samarkand and the Tien Shan mountains.


Mervi Hjelmroos-Koski is a Finnish-born scientist with a Ph.D. in quaternary biology from the University of Lund, Sweden and D.Sc. in aeropalynology from the University of Stockholm. The author and co-author of a large number of scholarly publications, Mervi has researched and taught at universities on four continents. Since 2007 she has coordinated and managed the School of Botanical Art and Illustration at Denver Botanic Gardens.


Conservation of Crop Wild Relatives in Kyrgyzstan

David Gunn

English Woodland Collection

Missouri Botanical Garden


In 2018, the Missouri Botanical Garden formed a partnership with Gareev Botanical Garden in Bishkek to conserve the threatened and endangered tree flora of Kyrgyzstan’s ancient walnut-fruit forests. To date, teams have completed four trips to western Kyrgyzstan, scouting for and collecting seeds and vegetative material from Malus niedzwetzkyana (Niedzwetsky’s apple), Pyrus korshinski (Korzhinski pear), Amygdalus bucharica (wild almond), Armeniaca vulgaris (wild apricot) and various other wild relatives of modern fruit crops. These species are in danger of extinction due to habitat loss and other factors. This talk discusses the project’s ongoing efforts toward conservation, including the development of new infrastructure for ex-situ collections at Gareev Botanical Garden.


David Gunn has been with the Missouri Botanical Garden since 2012, where he manages the English Woodland Collection and leads a crew of climbing arborists to maintain the Garden’s diverse tree collection. Mr. Gunn has participated in several botanizing and plant collection trips throughout the United States and abroad, most recently a two-year project to conserve fruit tree genetics in Kyrgyzstan for in-situ and ex-situ conservation. Mr. Gunn is an ISA-certified arborist and holds a degree in horticulture.



STEPPE CULT - Three Years of Thoughts and Actions in the Steppe Garden

Kevin Philip Williams


Denver Botanic Gardens


The Steppe Garden at Denver Botanic Gardens opened in 2016 with the mission of bringing together the floras of the major steppe regions of the world. Through four seasons of constant collection building, revision, expansion and articulation, an expanded ethos emerged. STEPPE CULT exists extranationally and interrelationally, between the garden and the gardener. It is the space in which both actors are changed by each other and the force by which the future of the Steppe Garden, the steppes and possibly all Earth biomes will be shaped.


Kevin Philip Williams is a horticulturist for Denver Botanic Gardens where he stewards the Steppe Garden, Dwarf Conifer Collection, Lilac Collection, Josephine Streetscape Gardens and co-coordinates Denver Botanic Gardens’ Horticulture Internship Program. Since joining the Gardens in 2015, Kevin has explored and plant-collected throughout the North American steppe. Kevin is an alumnus of the Longwood Graduate Program in public horticulture, the Brooklyn Botanic Garden Horticulture Internship Program and is a former horticulturist for The High Line in Manhattan, NY.


*times and speakers subject to change


Sacred Doorways- Byzantine Iconography

More than a decorative element, color plays a very important role in Byzantine iconography, which is one of the oldest art forms to survive unchanged for the past 2,000 years. Students are introduced to both the practical and the theoretical part of the iconographic tradition (iconology). You’ll use natural materials: wood panels gessoed with naturally ground, genuine gold leaf and egg tempera made from natural pigments. You’ll learn the language of light, color, image and symbol, with the iconic symbolism explained alongside the technical instruction.


Prerequisite: Open for beginners as well as more experienced icon painters.


Fee: $260 member, $310 non-member.



Mon, Aug. 26, Sep. 9, 16, 23, 30, 6-9 p.m.

Instructor: Laurence Pierson



Scratchboard for Fine Details

Pen and ink on clayboard surface is one of the most adaptable and forgiving combinations of pigment, medium and surface. All fear of using ink is gone! Discover the excitement of scratchboard, where contrasts in textures and values produce dramatic and luminous effects. Choose your favorite subject matter, either a conifer cone or another subject with plenty of details, and create a stunning composition. Learn the techniques to convey form, shading, textures and spatial perspective in your composition. The beautiful dried or dormant fruits of winter will provide inspiration for your finished plate in this inspiring weekend workshop. Fee: $240 member, $290 non-member. Prerequisites: Botanical Illustration in Pen and Ink I, Perfecting Perspective, Light on Form.

• Fri-Sun, Nov. 1-3, 9 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.

Instructor: Charlotte Ricker



Seasonal Discoveries Tour

No matter the time of year, botanical treasures await your discovery with these guided tours of gardens at their seasonal peaks. Experience the Gardens’ landscape at its best, whether through the early bulbs of spring or the crackling beauty of fall.


Price: $14, $12 member, $10 student


Special instructions: Tours are outdoors; dress accordingly for the weather. Water, sunscreen and sunglasses are recommended. Please bring booking confirmation. Meet guide in the lobby of the Boettcher Memorial Center after entering through the Gardens main entrance.


Notes: Prices include admission to the Gardens. Tours with low registration are subject to cancellation.


Seed to Table Gardening Series for Homeschoolers

Calling all aspiring gardeners! In this five-week series of classes, families will deepen their understanding of planting and growing a successful garden in Colorado. Grow plants from start to finish while learning to sow your own seeds, working side by side with a Denver Botanic Gardens horticulturist and developing gardening techniques. Each week, children will engage in active hands-on learning both in and out of the classroom. At the end of five weeks each young aspiring gardener will take home a seasonal container garden. This program series is designed for children ages 6-10.


Session Dates:

- Tuesday October 22, 2019

- Tuesday October 29, 2019

- Tuesday November 5, 2019

- Tuesday November 12, 2019

- Tuesday November 19, 2019


Price: $100 per child for 5-week series. One adult per child is free of charge. Adults are required to stay onsite during the program.

Seedlings: 2019 Fall Series Package

Register for all 15 classes offered September through December, and receive a $30 savings over the individual price.

Seedlings classes offer a fun, hands-on way for young children, ages 18 months to six years, to explore the plant world while developing an understanding and appreciation for plants and their importance. Classes include interactive explorations, nature walks, and stories for children and their caregivers.

You will need to choose a date and time for each of the 15 classes. Please keep in mind that classes are offered for three different age groups and are modified to fit the developmental needs of each group. Please select the session appropriate for your child's age.

No partial registrations.

Seedlings: Apples and Cinnamon

Discover more about apples as we make some fun treats from the fabulous spices in our lives.

• Ages 3-6 years: Wednesday, September 18, 9:30 or 11 a.m.

• Ages 24-36 months: Thursday, September 19, 9:30 or 10:45 a.m.

• Ages 18-24 months: Friday, September 20, 9:30 or 10:45 a.m.

Seedlings: Bug Bungalows

Explore the many different colors, textures and sizes of our garden friends!

• Ages 3-6 years: Wednesday, September 11, 9:30 or 11 a.m.

• Ages 24-36 months: Thursday, September 12, 9:30 or 10:45 a.m.

• Ages 18-24 months: Friday, September 13, 9:30 or 10:45 a.m.

Seedlings: Cornucopia

Our budding gardeners look at the last harvest of the season.

• Ages 3-6 years: Wednesday, November 20, 9:30 or 11 a.m.

• Ages 24-36 months: Thursday, November 21, 9:30 or 10:45 a.m.

• Ages 18-24 months: Friday, November 22, 9:30 or 10:45 a.m.

Seedlings: Curious Corn

Take an up-close look at an ear of corn and discover its many unusual uses.

• Ages 3-6 years: Wednesday, October 9, 9:30 or 11 a.m.

• Ages 24-36 months: Thursday, October 10, 9:30 or 10:45 a.m.

• Ages 18-24 months: Friday, October 11, 9:30 or 10:45 a.m.

Seedlings: Fall Frolic

Kick off the official start of the fall season in the garden!

• Ages 3-6 years: Wednesday, September 25, 9:30 or 11 a.m.

• Ages 24-36 months: Thursday, September 26, 9:30 or 10:45 a.m.

• Ages 18-24 months: Friday, September 27, 9:30 or 10:45 a.m.

Seedlings: Garden Games

The Mordecai Children’s Garden is a perfect place to be active and have fun! Join us for some summertime fun in the Garden.

• Ages 3-6 years: Tuesday, August 20, 9:30 a.m. or 11 a.m.

• Ages 3-6 years: Wednesday, August 21, 9:30 a.m. or 11 a.m.

• Ages 24-36 months: Thursday, August 22, 9:30 or 10:45 a.m.

• Ages 18-24 months: Friday, August 23, 9:30 or 10:45 a.m.

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