Upcoming Events

Explore ‘The Nature of Spring Migration’ along the Lake Erie shore

Central Colorado Conservancy sponsors a six-day, five-night nature experience to explore the wonders of spring bird migration and the natural history of the Lake Erie shore, from May 15-20, 2017, in Ohio.

May in North America is a time of great excitement for birders. Coming from as far away as South America, bird species return to fill the forests, prairies, ponds and wetlands. The air is alive with bird song. Without a doubt, one of the best locations to observe this phenomenon is the Lake Erie shore between Toledo and Cleveland.

“Experiencing the thousands of songbirds that gather on the Lake Erie shore in springtime is one of nature’s spectacles that everyone should experience at least once in their lifetime,” Tour Leader and Central Colorado Conservancy Volunteer Naturalist Sally Waterhouse said.

The immense Lake Erie running east to west creates a formidable obstacle to birds continuing their journey north. Acting like a funnel, the lake concentrates migrants, filling the trees with birds. If lucky, you can find 37 species of warbler during this time. The region is also a treasure chest of small wetlands with interesting turtles, frogs and snakes. Trip attendees will enjoy finding a variety of butterflies, dragonflies and damselflies, and could find several rare and protected plants. Lake Erie and its associated islands also play prominently in our history.

Focusing on wildlife watching, natural history, ecology, photography and education, trip participants will visit nature preserves and refuges that provide the greatest diversity and numbers of migrating birds and other wildlife. The the daily itinerary is flexible to take advantage of recent sightings or activity and to accommodate possible changing weather. Please see the expanded May 15 2017 trip description for itinerary details and more information about each destination. Join us for an exciting time as we explore the Lake Erie shore!

The nature tour benefits the Conservancy’s conservation work in Central Colorado. Price is based on per-person, double occupancy and costs between $1,530 and $1,930, depending on the number of attendees. Space is limited to a maximum of 14 participants.

“The Nature of Spring Migration” trip is led by Central Colorado Conservancy Executive Director Andrew Mackie, an experienced birder who has led nature tours on three continents. Andrew is a trained ecologist with a focus on wetlands, wildlife management, and resource protection. He has a Master’s of Environmental Management from the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies.

The tour is also led by Sally Waterhouse, who has a Master’s in Zoology from Miami University of Ohio. She taught ecology for 20 years at Ohio Wesleyan University. Before this, she worked as a naturalist for the National Park Service, State of Ohio and the Cincinnati Nature Center. She is an expert birder with a wealth of knowledge about the natural world. Sally has birded Lake Erie since 1974.

Special local nature guides and conservation professionals will also join the tour.

For history buffs, these islands are also an important part of the Battle for Lake Erie during the War of 1812. Oliver Hazard Perry was the American naval commander and succeeded in winning this decisive battle against the British in 1813. The famous quote, “We have met the enemy, and they are ours” was penned by Perry shortly after this battle. The tour includes an educational science cruise on the waters surrounding South Bass and Gibraltar islands.

Typical daily high average temperature for the region in May is 66⁰ F and the average low is 52⁰ F. Please see the expanded May 15 2017 trip description for details on weather, lodging and food, and for payment and registration information. For additional information and to register, call the Conservancy at 719-539-7700 or email Andrew Mackie at andrew@centralcoloradoconservancy.org.

Free talk to address birds, vegetation and fire mitigation

We are sponsoring a free talk about the impacts of fire mitigation techniques on bird populations and vegetation in the area’s piñon-juniper woodlands. The presentation will take place Feb. 9 at the Salida SteamPlant Event Center’s Riverside Annex, from 6:30-7:30 p.m.

More than 20,000 acres of piñon-juniper in the Arkansas River Valley have been removed or cut back by the Bureau of Land Management and private landowners to decrease fire danger. Western State Colorado University Professor Patrick Magee has studied how this tree removal influences the habitat. Magee notes that several high-priority conservation bird species see declining populations, and that thinning treatments increasing non-native vegetation.

Magee is director of the Thornton Biology Undergraduate Research Program at the university. He is the founder and director of Sisk-a-dee, a nonprofit dedicated to the conservation of the Gunnison Sage-grouse. He also is a member of the Technical, Predation, Watchable Wildlife, and Information and Education sub-committees of the Gunnison Sage-grouse Strategic Committee, and a partner in the Gunnison Climate Work Group. He holds a Ph.D in wildlife ecology from the University of Missouri, and has been a faculty member at Western since 1996.

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