SPREE campers had an amazing time learning all about the things with wings that live in Denver and Colorado! We learned about bats, bugs, birds, owls, and more! Did you know that many insect start the first stage of their lives in the water? We discovered many laraval macroinvertebrate insects swimming in the Cherry Creek and the South Platte!
Campers also had a day about Colorado's cool and bats! They are winged creatures that help people and other animals by eating thousands of other winged insects!
Owl and raptor day was a favorite- the kids dissected owl pellets and got to meet some real owls courtesty of Wild Wings and Nature's Educators!
This week SPREE campers became Junior Park Rangers!
They became experts in their camp park by exploring, mapping, and playing in it!
We helped take care of our camp park by doing some trash pick up with some fun grabbers. We even got to do a special service project with a member of the Denver Parks and Rec department!
The highlight of the week was definitely meeting real Denver park rangers! The rangers taught us all about their jobs and how they take of the people, plants, and animals in the parks. We also got to see some super cool pelts and skulls of local animals!
One of northern Colorado's last roadless canyons is called Phantom Canyon Ranch. This Nature Conservancy site is a rim-to-rim preserve encompassing four miles of the Cache la Poudre River. Greenway’s high school River Rangers and members of the GLC traveled to Phantom Canyon last weekend to help build trails that allow access to and along the river. The weekend-long trip gave our high school students the opportunity to learn about land conservation, youth job opportunities in environmental fields, local wildlife and plant life, and what goes into planning and building trails.
The Nature Conservancy team members at the site were extraordinary hosts, leading us on guided tours of the on-site trails, sharing their knowledge about the preserve and The Nature Conservancy’s work, and providing additional hands while we were trail building. Team members from WRV (Wildlands Restoration Volunteers) came out to teach and guide us as many of us tackled trail building for the very first time. They showed us how to use a variety of new tools to work on the different projects we were tasked with. Our first challenge was to construct two sets of stairs leading to river crossings, using many large rocks. We quickly learned the importance of working together and using our tools properly so that we could successfully maneuver these (very heavy) natural materials. Up next, we learned the ins and outs of the trail building planning process. WRV taught us about many things trail builders have to consider when charting a trail, including slope steepness, distance from the river, and future plant growth.
After all of that hard work, we of course had time for some fun and games. Swimming in the river was refreshing and unbelievably scenic, and we stretched out our acting legs during a pretty intense game of charades. Plus we were lucky enough to see three rattlesnakes and a young bull moose all without catastrophe.
We are so pleased to have another successful Nature Conservancy service trip in the books, and we look forwards to getting back out the Phantom Canyon Ranch next year to continue our trail building work!