Upcoming Events

Help sight and report declining woodpecker species

Attend upcoming public workshops on the Lewis’s Woodpecker to get involved with the Conservancy’s Lewis’s Woodpecker Project. The Lewis’s Woodpecker is a species of conservation priority that is unique to the Western U.S., yet uses old-growth cottonwood woodlands prevalent in the region for nesting. We are asking residents for help report sightings of the species as part of this program.

An introductory workshop for the community to learn more about the woodpecker and how to enter sightings into an online database will take place on Tuesday Aug. 1 in Florence, from 7-7:45 p.m. at the John C. Fremont Library on Church Avenue. All are welcome to attend. The Conservancy will use this data to help identify critical habitat to create priorities for conservation work.

The Lewis’s is a medium-sized woodpecker with greenish-black wings, a grey collar and salmon-colored belly. They exhibit a slow, deliberate flight more like a crow or jay, and display unique feeding habits, often snatching insects in flight much like a swallow instead of pecking tree bark like other woodpeckers.

Their populations have declined about 82 percent since the 1960s, mainly due to habitat loss, according to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. The Conservancy is working with the lab to identify the woodpecker’s critical habitat in Central Colorado.

We are also looking for volunteers to visit potential Lewis’s Woodpecker habitat sites in cottonwood stands. If the woodpeckers are found, we are asking for detailed information to be recorded at those sites. Habitat sites can be located anywhere within our six-county service area. A training session for this volunteer work will take place on Saturday, Aug. 5 in Buena Vista from 9:30-11:30 a.m. Meet at the United Congressional Church parking lot (behind the post office), at 217 Crossman Ave.

Contact Project Coordinator Cindy Lawrence with questions or visit our project page to find out more.


Lecture series begins with focus on Milky Way

The summer Milky Way giving way to the late fall season over the Sangre de Cristo Mountains in the Wet Mountain Valley from Main Street of Westcliffe. Since the human eye can see a greater range of dim to bright than any camera, it’s necessary to combine a time exposure star image with a terrestrial one to create what a person with dark-adapted eyes can experience. Dark Skies photo credits : Curtis Urban (star), Watson Land Co. (Terrestrial).

The Conservancy works to protect land, water and wildlife but we also love the night sky. Come hear Dark Skies President Jim Bradburn talk about how his Westcliffe organization has been instrumental in making the Wet Mountain Valley a dark sky success, and the first in Colorado to be certified an International Dark Sky Community.

Bradburn and his nonprofit’s efforts have been featured in the New York Times, USA Today, CNN and The Today Show. It all started with an effort to install shielded lights in a hospital parking lot and the question: “How can we protect our beautiful Wet Mountain Valley’s rural charm from being lost to big-city problems like light pollution?”

Find out how they did it by attending the Conservancy-hosted event, the first in a three-part lecture series taking place this fall. Bradburn speaks on Sept. 28, from 7-9 p.m. at the meeting room of Salida’s Mount Shavano Manor, located at 525 W. 16th St. Cost is $3 for Conservancy members and $5 for non-members. Contact Julie Richardson or call 539-7700 to sign up.


There are currently no additional events but please check back soon or follow us on Facebook for updates about all of our activities.