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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.

February 14 at 6:30 p.m.: Mars - The Red Planet. Hear the myths and speculation surrounding Mars compared with what we actually now know. Should humans visit it?

March 6 at 6:30 p.m.: Sights in the Spring Night Sky. Spring constellations, galaxies, nebulas, visible planets and more! View several Hubble Space Telescope images that will amaze.

April 3 at 8 p.m.: Galaxies Galore. Learn their descriptive types, when and where they were formed, and their colossal collisions.

May 1 at 8:30 p.m.: Women Astronomers. Discuss major unsung contributions of women to the field of Astronomy and how they shaped our understanding of the Universe.

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

By spring, the food reserves were running low and prairie families were eager for the return of spring and fresh greens. On the wood stove in the McClean Soddy at the Plains Conservation Center, we make a common winter dinner of root vegetable stew, cornbread and apple pie. Recipes and all supplies provided. Appropriate for adults and children ages 12 and up.

Price:  Member $20, Non-member $24

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

 

Early Morning Sunday Strolls

Presented and Managed by the City of Aurora

Immerse yourself in the beauty and history of the high plains shortgrass prairie through a guided nature hike. Experience the prairie in the soft morning light while catching some breathtaking views of the Colorado front range and the chance to view resident wildlife.

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: $5

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

 

Family Workshop at Plains Conservation Center: Birds of a Feather

Come out to the Plains Conservation Center and learn about the birds that frequent the prairie and then complete a bird project together.

Family Workshops at Plains Conservation Center offer families a fun, hands-on guided opportunity to learn about the prairie and the people, plants and animals that live or have lived on the prairie. Workshops include a guided exploration of the topic and a hands on project for adults and children to create together. This workshop is designed for families with children ages 4-10.

Price:  $12 per person

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

 

Family Workshop at Plains Conservation Center: Biscuits and Butter in the Homestead

Learn how homesteading families cooked on a wood burning stove and bake biscuits and make butter together in our sod house.

Family Workshops at Plains Conservation Center offer families a fun, hands-on guided opportunity to learn about the prairie and the people, plants and animals that live or have lived on the prairie. Workshops include a guided exploration of the topic and a hands on project for adults and children to create together. This workshop is designed for families with children ages 4-10.

Price:  $12 per person

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

 

Family Workshop at Plains Conservation Center: Homestead Crafting

Learn how homesteading families spent some of their time and make a homestead craft together.

Family Workshops at Plains Conservation Center offer families a fun, hands-on guided opportunity to learn about the prairie and the people, plants and animals that live or have lived on the prairie. Workshops include a guided exploration of the topic and a hands on project for adults and children to create together. This workshop is designed for families with children ages 4-10.

Price:  $12 per person

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

 

Family Workshop at Plains Conservation Center: Homestead Gardening

Get your hands dirty in our homestead garden and plant a mini garden of your own.

Family Workshops at Plains Conservation Center offer families a fun, hands-on guided opportunity to learn about the prairie and the people, plants and animals that live or have lived on the prairie. Workshops include a guided exploration of the topic and a hands-on project for adults and children to create together. This workshop is designed for families with children ages 4-10.

Price:  $12 per person

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

 

Family Workshop at Plains Conservation Center: Prairie Plant Project

Learn a bit about the shortgrass prairie we call home and complete a project together using plants.

Family Workshops at Plains Conservation Center offer families a fun, hands-on guided opportunity to learn about the prairie and the people, plants and animals that live or have lived on the prairie. Workshops include a guided exploration of the topic and a hands-on project for adults and children to create together. This workshop is designed for families with children ages 4-10.

Price:  $12 per person

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 with 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.

Price: $5

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

 

Homeschool Excursion at Plains Conservation Center: Be a Homesteader - Homesteading on the Prairie

Spend a day at the Plains Conservation Center in Aurora with your family growing their knowledge of prairie living and appreciation for the natural world. Learn all about how the homesteading families and children lived on the plains in the 1800's.

Programming runs from 10 a.m. - 12:30 p.m., with check-in starting at 9:45 a.m. You are welcome to bring a sack lunch to enjoy in our picnic area after the program. Programs may be modified in the event of inclement weather. All ages are welcome, however programming is focused for ages 5-12.

Price:  $12 per child

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

 

Homeschool Excursion at Plains Conservation Center: Prairie Ecology and Environmental Science

Spend a day at the Plains Conservation Center in Aurora with your family growing their knowledge of prairie living and appreciation for the natural world. Learn about the shortgrass prairie and the plants and animals that call this important ecosystem home.

Programming runs from 10 a.m. - 12:30 p.m., with check-in starting at 9:45 a.m. You are welcome to bring a sack lunch to enjoy in our picnic area after the program. Programs may be modified in the event of inclement weather. All ages are welcome, however programming is focused for ages 5-12.

Price:  $12 per child

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

 

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.. 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 Vistor Center. Please park in the lot to the east of the picnic shelter, not directly in front of the Visitor Center. Please arrive at 7:25AM the first day to receive course materials. Course begins 8:00 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

 

Painting Expedition: En Plein Air on the Prairie

Join us for a morning of plein air painting at the Plains Conservation Center. Your morning includes a guided tour by wagon of several stops to experience and paint the variety of plants, animals and history of the prairie. Bring your painting supplies, hat, water bottle and any other materials that you might need for the morning outing.

Expedition led by Pam Roth O'Mara. Pam's nature inspired work has appeared in exhibits and festivals across South Metro Denver, including the Depot Art Gallery, Littleton Museum, City of Centennial Gallery, Colorado Gallery at Arapahoe Community College, Lowry Conference Center, Castle Rock Court the Arts Festival, Centennial Chalk Art Festival, National Arts Program Exhibit, Castle Rock Library and Nixon's Coffee House. Her piece, "Winter at the Sod Home", was selected by the curator of the Denver Art Museum's Women in Abstract Expressionism Exhibit to appear at the Littleton Museum.

Price: $22, $20 member

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

 

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

 

 

 

Spring Prairie Campfire: Stories of Rebirth and Renewal

Presented and Managed by the City of Aurora

Spring is a time of newness, and nature showcases this beautifully! Join us for stories and science around the campfire as we celebrate spring on the prairie.

Ages 5 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: May 8, 2020

Price: $8

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

 

Vegetable Gardening on the High Plains - Series

$92, $78 member for all three sessions

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 Children³ 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 b\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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