Lookout Mountain Nature Center offers fall programs

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By Sandy Barnes

Families and children who would like to learn more about the natural world have a wealth of opportunities in the coming weeks through programs offered by the Lookout Mountain Nature Center. 

On Saturday, Sept. 15, nature center program director Peg Alig will coordinate an evening astronomy program for youngsters at the William Baehr Observatory at Pine Valley Ranch Park. Alig and a team of volunteers will lead participants through six stations where they will learn about astronomy.

“We teach them about the night sky in an informative and engaging way,” said Alig. “I’m going to be teaching about Mars and how stars are formed.”

At other stations along the way to the observatory, youngsters will learn about star clusters and galaxies. Four telescopes will be set up for gazing at stars and planets.

Kids who take part in the program will receive a goodie bag with astronomy-related items, some of which are from NASA.

Nature center seasonal naturalist Kevin Matthews is offering a program on nocturnal creatures Oct. 3 at Mount Falcon Park in Indian Hills. Those to come to the program may see elk, deer, coyotes, foxes and maybe even an owl, he said.

Other upcoming programs include those on fall wildflowers, nature painting and elk mating season. For detailed information, please see the list of events accompanying this story.

Registration is required for all nature center programs. Call 720-497-7600 to register, or sign up online at lmnc.jeffco.us.

Contact reporter Sandy Barnes at sandy@evergreenco.com or call 303-350-1042.

Lookout Mountain Nature Center fall programs

Observatory Open House

Saturday, Sept. 15

7:30 p.m. Pine Valley Ranch Park

Junior astronomers ages 6 to 10 are invited to a special night at the historic William Baehr Observatory. Take a moderate one-third mile hike up to the observatory to join astronomy team members for celestial activities that will teach you about stars, constellations, deep space objects, how to reduce light pollution and more. Weather permitting, peer through telescopes and tour a historic observatory. Kids ages 6-10 with an adult.

Early-Fall Wildflowers

Sunday, Sept. 16

9 a.m. South Valley Park

Walk with a native plant master and discover the importance of our native plants to wildlife and humans. Ages 13-adult.

Get Outdoors (G.O.) Explore Club

Sunday, Sept. 16

1 p.m. Lookout Mountain Nature Center

A naturalist-led exploration to discover ways to connect  kids with the outdoors. All ages.

Fabulous Fall Colors

Sunday, Sept. 30

9 a.m. Meyer Ranch Park

Walk through fall’s fabulous colors with a native plant master. Discover how flora and fauna of the foothills depend on each other to get ready for winter. Ages 13-adult.

Landscape Painting

Saturday, Sept. 29

10 a.m. South Valley Park

Paint the beauty of South Valley’s rock spires and outcroppings with watercolors. The group will hike to a scenic spot, learn art techniques, and create a painting or two to take home. Art supplies provided. Kids ages 6-10 with an adult.

Night Hike: Creatures of the Night

Wednesday, Oct. 3

6 p.m. Mount Falcon Park - West

Embrace the Halloween season by joining a naturalist for an exploration of Mount Falcon Park after the sun goes down. Be introduced to some nocturnal critters as we search the park for signs of wildlife activity. If the skies cooperate, we’ll do some star gazing and point out a few fall constellations! Ages 6-adult.

Dinosaur Ridge Discovery Day

Saturday, Oct. 13

10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Dinosaur Ridge

Nature Center naturalists will be at one of the stops on this walking tour of Dino Ridge. Bring family, friends and plenty of water for the hike and spend the day exploring. Drop by anytime between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Registration is not required. Visit dinoridge.org for more information. All ages.

Elk in the Rut

Sunday, Oct. 14

9 a.m.-12 p.m. Elk Meadow Park (Lewis Ridge)

Stop by and chat with naturalists to learn about the elk rut season. Examine pelts, skulls and hooves, listen to recordings, and more. Registration not required. Drop by any time between 9 a.m. and 12 p.m.