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NoCo Nature Festival

Nature Festival

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Thanks to our presenting sponsor!
Poudre Pet & Feed


Due to wet conditions at Fossil Creek Reservoir Regional Open Space the NoCo Nature Festival has been cancelled. Soils at the site are still very saturated, and there is reasonable concern that the event (booths and parking) would cause significant resource damage to the area. Our thoughts are also with those impacted by these floods, and we sincerely hope that recovery efforts will be effective in mitigating the damage and loss our communities are facing. We would like to thank all of our event sponsors, especially Poudre Pet and Feed Supply, for their continued support and efforts to keep our festival free for all.

If you are interested in helping out with flood relief efforts you can find information at United Way 211

We and our partners look forward to unveiling this new and improved event in September of 2014.

Come spread your wings and branch out with a new festival that celebrates the unique nature of Northern Colorado. The Northern Colorado Birding Fair is getting a new name, a new date and a whole lot more pizzazz! The NoCo Nature Festival replaces the Birding Fair on Saturday, September 21, 2013.

Everyone is invited to a FREE day of fun and learning for the entire family that includes live animals, interactive activities, live music, food, vendors, presentations, giveaways, a nature costume contest and more! Free parking and shuttle available. Come join in on this nature-filled festival!

Direct questions to Heather Young at 970-619-4489 or hyoung@larimer.org.

2013 Northern Colorado Nature Festival Agenda

Saturday, September 21, 7:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m. at Fossil Creek Reservoir Regional Open Space

7:00 a.m. Bird walks
8:00 a.m. Presentation: Watchable Wildlife - Raptor Watch
9:00 a.m. Nature quest activity booths open Presentation: WOLF Silent auction opens
9:30 a.m. Wildlife camera walk with the Rocky Mountain Cat Conservancy
10:00 a.m. Make Your Own Tracks Presentation: Outdoor Pet Cats in the Front Range: What Are the Risks? Food and live music begin
11:00 a.m. Presentation: Scales, Armor, and Shells, Oh My!
11:15 a.m. Wildlife camera walk with the Rocky Mountain Cat Conservancy
11:45 a.m. Nature costume contest
12:00 p.m. Live music
12:15 p.m. Presentation: Spellbinding Nature Stories for Everyone!
12:30 p.m. Wildlife camera walk with the Rocky Mountain Cat Conservancy
1:00 p.m. Presentation: The Center for Snake Conservation Weather walk with CoCoRaHS
1:15 p.m. Open House with Mr. Brightside, the Black-Footed Ferret, and Prairie Wildlife Research
2:00 pm Presentation: Masked Bandit of the Short Grass Prairie
3:00 pm Event closes

NoCo Nature Festival Sponsors

The Festival remains a free day of fun and learning thanks to these wonderful sponsors!

Poudre Pet and Feed  Fort Fund          Otter Cares  Gallegos  The Ranch  KRFC

Become a Nature Festival sponsor!


Bird walks
Join expert birders from the Northern Colorado Audubon Society, Fort Collins Natural Areas Department, and Larimer County Natural Resources on these tours that will help you become more familiar with the local birds and help build up your birding skills. Bird walks count towards your Nature Quest passport.

Nature quest activity booths
Earn your 2013 NoCo Nature Festival binoculars by completing nature quest activities. Find out about which animals make what tracks and how birds avoid obstacles and camouflage themselves against predators — and that's just for starters! You can earn a stamp at each nature quest activity booth you go to. You can also attend presentations or walks for a stamp.

Wildlife camera walks with the Rocky Mountain Cat Conservancy
The Rocky Mountain Cat Conservancy (RMCC) is dedicated to promoting wild cat conservation through research and community stewardship. Despite the mountain lion being one of the top three predators in North America, along with the grizzly bear and wolf, surprisingly there have only been a few studies on this keystone species. With human-mountain lion encounters on the rise, there is much we don't know about this elusive cat, especially along the urban-wildland interface.

Communities, Cameras, and Conservation (CCC) is a citizen-science program started in 2008 that utilizes local students and volunteers to monitor local wildlife via remote cameras. In addition to establishing a permanent outdoor, wildlife-based curriculum at Front Range Community College, CCC projects establish a connection to conservation through hands-on education where no such opportunity currently existed. CCC creates a new opportunity for community members to engage in citizen science research and serve as conservation envoys by raising the level of awareness of the wildlife in their backyard.

Make Your Own Tracks
Are you curious about animals? Become a nature detective! By learning how to follow animal's clues you can solve mysteries like: What kinds of animals live here? What do the animals eat? How do the animals move? Join us for an interactive presentation on animal tracks and the fine art of tracking.

Nature costume contest
As part of the Northern Colorado Nature Festival, come and show off your dressing-up and costuming skills in our nature costume contest! Will you be the best angler? What might a forest fairy look like? Have you got the perfect beak and tail for a hawk? Any nature-related costume is welcome to enter, so get creative! The best costume in each category will be awarded a prize donated by REI.

  • Seedling - ages 5 and under; prize is an REI kids camp chair
  • Cub – ages 6-10; prize is an REI Flash 18 Pack
  • Bloom – ages 11 and up, prize is and REI Flash 18 Pack
  • Flock – families and groups of two or more (everyone in the group should wear a costume!); prize is an REI nesting tableware set for four

Registration for the contest begins at 11:15 a.m. to the west of the music stage, and the parade of costumes starts at 11:45 a.m. Prizes will be awarded at the music stage at 12:15 p.m., followed immediately by a butterfly release by the winners and photos with Dee Dee the Chickadee from Wild Birds Unlimited! Show off what you love about and love to do in the wonderful nature of northern Colorado!

Weather walk with Community Collaborative Rain, Hail, and Snow Network (CoCoRaHS)
Every hour of every day is a perfect time for a weather walk. There is always something special to see (sky and clouds) and feel (wind, warmth and moisture). Join Nolan Doesken, Colorado State climatologist, for an hour of watching and weather and discussing the facts, figures and reasons that help explain northern Colorado's fascinating climate.

Silent auction
Show your support for the Nature Festival and get some great nature related items for your home, garden, and more. View current listing of items offered. You do not have to be present to win. We accept cash, checks, or credit cards, but generally prefer cash.

Live music

  • 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m., Tamber
  • 12:00 noon – 2:00 p.m., Mark and Lindsey Rae


Buff up on your nature knowledge and meet some cool critters during this year's presentation line-up!

8:00 a.m. - Watchable Wildlife: Raptor Watch with Carin Avila of the Rocky Mountain Raptor Program
Join the Rocky Mountain Raptor Program to get tips, fun factoids, and field markings on where to go to find winter resident raptors in the northern Colorado area. Carin Avila, education director, will share these with you, then you can visit the RMRP exhibit and see live raptors on display!

9:00 a.m. - W.O.L.F.
WOLF is a wolf refuge located in Rist Canyon. This presentation is roughly a 45-minute discussion about the basics of wolf biology, behavior, and ecology in addition to covering the issues surrounding wolf-dogs and the captive wildlife crisis. We are open for questions after the presentation and will have ambassador wolves present for people to see.

10:00 a.m. - Outdoor Pet Cats in the Front Range: What Are the Risks? with Ashley Gramza
Stray cats have been widely cited as predators of wildlife, and they themselves may become prey to predator species such as coyotes. These cats have even been shown to give diseases to wildlife and humans as well as get diseases from some wildlife species. However, what are the risks that outdoor pet cats face and impose in the ecosystem? Also, how do we encourage pet owners and the general public to minimize and eliminate these potential risks? These are some of the questions that Ashley Gramza's research aims to answer in the Front Range.

In this presentation, she'll summarize her research and discuss preliminary findings of an ongoing study she and other scientists at Colorado State University implemented that includes surveying humans about cats and wildlife, placing trail cameras in open space, tracking outdoor pet cats, collecting prey items that cats bring home, and determining what diseases outdoor pet cats might have. Ashley will also explain what you can do to reduce the potential risks of wildlife on cats and cats on wildlife whether you own cats or not. There will also be ample time to answer any questions you may have.

11:00 a.m. - Scales, Armor, and Shells, Oh My! with Nature's Educators
Join Nature's Educators as we learn all about arachnids, reptiles, and insects. Discover how each animal survives in its respective habitat. What do they eat? How do they defend themselves? Find this out and more when you take part in this awesome interactive presentation. Get up close and personal to live native and non-native animals!

12:15 p.m. - Spellbinders: Spellbinding Nature Stories for Everyone!
Did you ever wonder how day and night came to be? Come and enjoy stories told by Spellbinders Oral Storytellers of Larimer County about crows, frogs, eagles, bears, and even bats that celebrate our connections to nature through legends, folktales, and fables. Don't miss this one!

1:00 p.m. - The Center for Snake Conservation
Meet live snakes at this presentation with The Center for Snake Conservation, a member-based 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to snakes and their conservation. Learn about these slithery reptiles and what you can do to protect them.

1:15 p.m. - Open House with Mr. Brightside, the Black-Footed Ferret, and Prairie Wildlife Research
Come visit Kimberly Tamkun and her black-footed ferret, Mr. Brightside, as well as Prairie Wildlife Research before their presentation, Masked Bandit of the Short Grass Prairie, at 2:00 p.m.

2:00 p.m. - Masked Bandit of the Short Grass Prairie with Kimberly Tamkun
Come explore life on the short grass prairie by learning about a prairie species that is one of the most endangered mammals in North America. Thought to be extinct in the late 1970s, the black-footed ferret (BFF) was rediscovered and the species given a second chance. BFF recovery efforts continue today to save the ferret with many federal, state, tribal, and NGO partners. This is a conservation story you won't want to miss. A live black-footed ferret will be there for you to meet!

Silent Auction

Show your support for the Nature Festival and get some great nature related items for your home, garden, and more. You do not have to be present to win. We accept cash, checks or credit cards, but generally prefer cash. The list of silent auction items will be updated as more items come in.

  • Gift certificate to The Cupboard
  • Books from Old Firehouse Books
  • Bird feeder and gift basket from Fossil Creek Nursery
  • Beau Jo's Pizza gift certificate
  • E-reader cover from Wadoo
  • Fossil stone plate from Nature's Own
  • Kilwin's Fudge gift certificate
  • Walrus Ice Cream gift certificate
  • Asian seasoning from Savory Spice Shop
  • One-day ski or snowboard rental from Outpost Sunsport
  • Nordy's BBQ gift certificate
  • Potted mums from Gully's Garden Center
  • Cast iron bird bath from Downtown Ace Hardware
  • Snooze gift card
  • Squirrel-B-Gone bird feeder and gourmet bird food from Clay's Ace Hardware
  • Eight-item cheese flight from The Welsh Rabbit
  • REI Passage 2 Tent and Footprint
  • Two-for-one passes to the Fort Collins Museum of Discovery
  • Gift certificate to Full Cycle
  • Red Stone Canyon honey
  • Bird feeding station and accessories from Wild Birds Unlimited
  • Rocky Mountain Mammals by David M. Armstrong
  • Gib's Bagels gift card
  • Great Harvest gift basket

Additional Nature-Filled Activities

Friday, September 20, 7:00 - 9:00 a.m. "Birding Tour of Three Bells Conservation Easement"
Join volunteer naturalist, Carl, for a special tour of the 3-Bells Conservation easement, a private property just north of River Bluffs Open Space. This beautiful, conserved area, normally closed to the public, boasts a lovely section of the Poudre River, home to many different bird species. Free registration required.

Saturday, September 21, 7:00 - 11:00 a.m. "For the Birds - Band Together for Birds"
The Natural Areas Department, the Fort Collins Museum of Discovery, and the Rocky Mountain Bird Observatory are banding together to celebrate birds. Join a master naturalist for a birding walk along the river, and visit a banding station behind the museum on the Poudre Trail, monitored by the Rocky Mountain Bird Observatory (RMBO).

The banding station will be open from 7:00 – 11:00 a.m. Walks meet at the west side of the Fort Collins Museum of Discovery (408 Mason Court) at 9:00 a.m. and again at 10:00 a.m. They will last 45 minutes to 1 hour. Special activities provided by RMBO and museum staff will be held in the classroom of the museum following each of the two walks. Free, no registration required but you can get a reminder and updates by signing up at naturetracker.fcgov.com.

Saturday, September 21, 6:30 - 8:30 p.m. "Natural Area Family Night Walk"
Enjoy a short walk in the moonlight with interactive activities and stories related to nocturnal animals and night senses. Dress warmly, bring water. One mile or less, easy. Free, registration required at naturetracker.fcgov.com. For information, call 970-416-2815. Location given at time of registration.

NoCo Nature Festival Partners

The Nature Festival is a partnership between these public agencies and non-profit organizations.

Colorado Parks and Wildlife    Rocky Mountain Raptor Program    City of Fort Collins    Rocky Mountain Bird Observatory    Fort Collins Audobon    Friends of Larimer County Parks    KUNC