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Outdoors

  • Friends, indeed: Nonprofit helps fund programs at Staunton State Park

    The nonprofit group Friends of Staunton State Park has been working with Colorado’s newest state park since before it opened last year, and now the group is starting to receive some recognition.

    Friends of Staunton recently was named Best Nonprofit of the Year by the Conifer Area Chamber of Commerce.

    “It was a pleasant surprise,” said Wayne Parkinson, board president of Friends of Staunton. “Talk about a fantastic way to start 2014.”

  • March’s crazy weather brings spring birdsong to foothills

    I started this article four days ago. It was the vernal equinox, and the day was balmy and sunny. Since then, we have had new snow. It is cold, and winter has returned with just enough snow to make everything white and sparkly in the morning sunlight.

  • Subspecies of dark-eyed junco are complex but easily discernible

    For some time now, I have thought I should write a column on the juncos that we are seeing at our feeders, but something or another seemed to come up every week, and I put it off. No matter what juncos we have had all winter, there will be new ones coming in as many of them migrate in the early spring to more northern breeding grounds.
    Juncos are commonly known as “snow birds” in many areas because they arrive just before the first snow and leave in the early spring. They spend the winter or snow season with us and move northward to nest.

  • Spring’s warmer weather brings scent of skunks

    Spring is certainly a confusing season in this area. March and April are supposedly spring months, but here in the foothills, it is a time of indecision.

  • New ranger seeking solutions to issues in Evergreen parks

    As the newly hired park ranger for the Evergreen Park and Recreation District, Jason Garner says he plans to work with community residents to find solutions to issues that trouble them.

    “My goal is getting out there, making my presence known, so people have somebody to go to,” Garner said.

    By involving the community, problems in the parks can be reduced, he said.

    “Complaining, having issues, will only get you so far,” Garner said.

  • Remote slash-collection sites announced

    The Jeffco Sheriff’s Office has announced its three remote slash drop-off dates for this summer. Jeffco again will team with mountain fire departments to host the sites.

    Slash disposal became more of a challenge when the Rooney Road Recycling Center stopped accepting organic material in 2012. Jefferson County has received a grant for an “air curtain” burner for slash, but a location hasn’t been decided yet.

  • Nest boxes for sale; bluebirds a happy arrival

    Once more Evergreen Audubon has made some bluebird and chickadee nest boxes for sale. The sale this year will be held on Saturday, March 8, beginning at 9 a.m. at the King Soopers in Bergen Park and in Conifer. If you need bird boxes, this is the time to buy them. They will be available until they are all sold, so get there early. If no one is there selling boxes, they are sold out.

  • Song sparrows find their voice as winter fades, spring nears

    February creeps to a close. It is to me the most dreary month of the year. The pleasantness of the Christmas and New Year’s holidays is over, and winter seems to really settle in, with both more snow and colder temperatures.

  • Meadows come alive with wildflower colors

    June is such an amazing month. Everything is making record growth and suddenly seems so full.

    The valleys that were bare all winter are now full of green willow leaves. Aspen are in full leaf; suddenly everything appears over-stuffed. It is a pleasure to see the spring green, which makes everything come alive.

  • Snowy owls seen more often in northern states this year

    This winter has brought unusually large incursions of snowy owls into the northern states. These big white beautiful owls nest on the arctic tundra, well above timberline, and regularly winter across southern Canada.