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A Guided Walk - Forest Bathing

Experience the relaxing practice of forest bathing (shinrin-yoku). Bathe in the atmosphere of the forest through mindful engagement of the senses. Studies suggest that a regular practice of forest bathing may be associated with a reduction in blood pressure, heart rate and stress hormones. You will move slowly and mindfully through the forest as you are guided through a series of invitations to engage your senses for closer connection with the surrounding nature. The walk begins promptly at the schedule start time and lasts 2.5 hours. All summer walk locations will be near the foothills, within about a one hour drive or less from Denver. Detailed information about location will be emailed out about a week before the walk. Fall and Winter programs are held at Chatfield Farms.

 

Price: $30, $25 member

Instructor: Leona Campbell

Leona is a professional photographer and owner of Wind in Pines LLC, which provides public and private forest bathing walks in the greater Denver area. Leona is a certified forest therapy guide, through the Association of Nature and Forest Therapy (ANFT).

 

Special Instructions: All walks begin promptly at the start time and will last 2.5 hours. This is not a hike. Participants will move slowly and mindfully, covering about 1/2 mile over the course of the walk. Detailed information about location will be emailed out about a week before the walk.

All summer program locations are near the foothills, within about a one hour drive or less from Denver.

All October - March program dates take place outdoors at Denver Botanic Gardens' Chatfield Farms, located at 8500 W Deer Creek Canyon Road, Littleton, CO 80128.

 

 

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 7 at 6 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

Beginning Wheat Weaving

The prairie was designed for growing grasses, such as wheat. It is only natural that a craft grew from that popular crop: wheat weaving. Learn why grasses-especially wheat-are good for weaving, discover some of the many varieties of wheat and make some small items using basic wheat-weaving patterns. Bring a sack lunch. Appropriate for adults and children ages 12 and up.

Price:  Member $15, Non-member $17

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

 

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

 

Jr Rangers: Wonders of Weather

Presented and Managed by the City of Aurora

Discover the weather on Aurora's prairie through fun activities and a wagon ride. For ages 6-12.

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: February 9, 2020

Price: $8

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

 

Macramé Plant Hanger Workshop

In this introductory workshop with Amie Krug of Boriya + Co, we will learn four basic knots of macramé. We will then use these knots to craft a plant hanger! Also covered will be the history of macramé and the steps necessary to create macramé pieces including: planning a pattern, measuring and sourcing rope.

All materials to fashion your plant hanger will be provided.

 

Price: $65, $60 member

Instructor: Amie Krug is a fiber artist currently living and working in Denver. She received her BFA in art from Palm Beach Atlantic University, and developed a love for textile design during her years spent in Rajasthan, India. After spending three summers as a river guide on the Arkansas, she repurposed her knotting skills to create artistic and utilitarian pieces. Amie has taught macramé workshops since 2015, and recently had her first solo exhibition in Buena Vista entitled "Rivers Edge."

 

 

 

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! 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.

 

January 7, 2020 at 9a.m. Pronghorn

Discover what is special about these prairie animals.

January 14, 2020 at 9a.m. Clay Painting

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

January 21, 2020 at 9a.m. Homestead games

Play like the homesteader children.

January 28, 2020 Prairie Animal Tracks

Different animals leave different tracks.

February 4, 2020 at 9a.m. Music on the Prairie

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

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.

 

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

 

 

 

Relational Rewilding: Bird Language and the Quiet Mind

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 instead provides 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: Lair O' the Bear. All location details and directions will be sent the week before class.

 

String Games

Winters days were long on the prairie and were a time for telling stories. String games have been part of all cultures for as long as historians know. Bring the family, enjoy some hot chocolate and learn how to make some classic string figures. Then put the figures together to illustrate a story in the the style of the Native Americans. Appropriate for ages 3 and up.

Price:  $8

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

 

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 will 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 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

 

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.

Winter Prairie Campfire: Stories of Survival

Presented and Managed by the City of Aurora

Hear survival stories of the people and wildlife of the prairie while drinking hot cocoa and enjoying s'mores around the fire!

Ages 2 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: January 17, 2020

Price: $8

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

 

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