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Outdoors

  • Highway overpasses successful at curbing wildlife/vehicle collisions

    The sun was warm as we gathered on Vail Pass last July. Paige Singer, a biologist for Rocky Mountain Wild, and Lisi Lohre, Citizen Science intern for the Denver Zoo, handed out hardhats and bright orange vests to the three volunteers before we piled into an SUV. We drove to a spot between Copper Mountain and Vail Pass, and parked on the shoulder along westbound Interstate 70, near where a number of motion-triggered cameras had been placed in the spring.

  • Be wary of animals in high-traffic areas

    Sunday marked the end of daylight saving time, and with the shifting hours of our daily routines, wildlife can be caught off guard. Bewilderingly, the human world around them has been altered overnight. The result of this confusion is often car accidents.

  • Underestimated, unloved creature is a popular Halloween icon

    Children fear them above all else. Over half of women and one in 10 men have varying degrees of aversion to them. One to three million of them are present per acre of land, and no human is more than 10 feet away from this creature at any time.

    Being portrayed as scheming, cunning beasts with bloodlust, such as Lord of the Rings’ Shelob or Harry Potter’s Aragog, it’s no surprise that spiders are so maligned and feared.

  • Bearing respect for binging bruins

    The drying leaves rattle in the breeze, a morning chill freshens the air, and, in the distance, the shrill echo of a majestic bull elk signals that fall has arrived. On a mountain path, there are well-placed mounds of scat, laden with seeds, indicating that a bear stood in that very spot not so long ago.  

  • Wildfires are a reset button for nature

    Several years have elapsed since Colorado’s foothills have seen significant fires, but the haze that persisted over our skies reminds us that the danger of forest fires is real. We worry about homes, pets and memories. But with wildfire as the most serious threat to our state, what happens to the wild animals when the fires ignite and begin rapidly spreading along with its acrid smoke and extreme heat?
    For pets and livestock, there are plans in place.

  • Learning to fly – fish that is

    “There’s no sensation to compare with this. Suspended animation, a state of bliss.” — Pink Floyd, lyrics from “Learning to Fly.”

    Pink Floyd may not have written “Learning to Fly” about fly-fishing, but plenty of anglers partially submerged in the frigid waters of Colorado rivers would happily describe the sport as definitely imparting “a state of bliss.”

  • In the dark with the eclipse
  • Flutter of butterflies and unkindness of ravens

    By Christie Greene

    Some readers only buy non-fiction books on the grounds that nothing is more riveting than real-life events. Certain news stories result in rueful head shaking, meaning “you can’t make this stuff up.” On occasion, the term “fake news” might be employed to express doubt about the origin of information. Let me assure you that the “terms of venary” below may be hard to take seriously, and yet, they were a status symbol in the 13th and 14th centuries.

    ‘A group of children is called a migraine.’

  • Rolling Stones, ghosts and the Red Rocks Award

    Christie Greene

    In addition to living in the midst of some of the most spectacular scenery and wildlife viewing in the state, Denver’s foothills residents also enjoy close proximity to one of the country’s most famous and beloved outdoor event venues.
    Red Rocks has been touted as the country’s best outdoor amphitheatre by Rolling Stone Magazine, though the Rolling Stones, themselves, have never played there.

  • What a nice bell you have

    By Christie Greene

    What’s up with that baggy skin hanging under the chin of a moose? Is it fat, maybe from eating a few too many twigs? Maybe it’s attractive to other moose. Biologists are unsure what the purpose of the bell really is, but there are many hypotheses about why the moose grows one.

    The females may judge the size of the bell, as they do the size of antlers, to determine the bull’s fitness as a mate. Perhaps it is part of the male’s mating ritual of spraying urine, which splashes onto the bell.