On May 25th, Oxy, STEAD school, Pheasants Forever and the Barr Lake team all partnered to provide protection and food for our bird friends of all varieties.
400 feet of nesting, berries and shelter were on the agenda for planting. First, the holes (185 of them) were dug. Six cubic yards of compost and mulch were used to make our new plants welcome as we tucked them into the ground. Our new residents- 35 Junipers, 60 each of chokeberry and sumac bushes were planted.
There were approximately 60 people present to do the planting -20 students and 5 adults from STEAD school, 30+ Oxy employees, the Pheasants Forever Habitat and outreach chairs, and a half dozen employees from Barr Lake.
All enjoyed the morning of connecting to each other, and to the wildlife that we are helping protect!
In partnership with Barr Lake and Oxy, SE Metro Pheasants Forever Chapter joined the national effort for “Hands-on Habitat”. This project highlighted dry lands habitat development in Barr Lake’s Educational Plots. Previously, the primary development has been with the pollinator plot. This project planting included planting rabbit brush and prairie dropseed plants. It also included a dry land seeding of a grass mix specifically designed by the National Pheasants Forever wildlife team. The mix included Blue Stem, Indian Grass, Switchgrass as well as several other native grasses.
On Thursday, August 19, PF and Occidental volunteers teamed with Barr Lake staff to complete the next stages of 2 projects. The first project, an exciting project that will continue for the next month, is the mural project.
The first step was to build the fencing structure needed as the surface for the mural. The team measured, dug holes, measured again, widened the holes and finally cemented in the upright structure beams for the fence. It was hard work, and created many laughs as the structure took shape!
The next steps on the mural will take place in September as the fence is finished and the mural sketched in for the final painting stage on National Public Land day, the 25th of September. At the same time as the posts were being planted, additional planting was taking place in the Pollinator Plot. More rabbit brush, coneflowers, and others joined the growing plot. The additional plants were gently placed by the Oxy team as the PF team helped with both projects!
South Metro Pheasants is honored to help support Barr Lake State Park in obtaining their Leave No Trace Gold Standard site designation. This gold standard designation was achieved by implementing and enhancing education outreach, signage and messaging for encouraging people to care for their public lands.
On Saturday, May 22, a consortium of Barr Lake State Park, Pheasants Forever, Occidental Petroleum and Wildland Restoration Volunteers hosted the Black to Nature Book Club at Barr Lake for a three-hour event.
The focus of this event was twofold: First, the group, guided by PF and Wildland volunteers, and taught by Michelle Seubert, the head park ranger, learned the importance of and the technique of planting pollinator plants. The second focus was getting the job done! Serviceberries, goldenrod, and sunflowers—LOTS of sunflowers. The planting was fun and exciting. The pictures are worth a thousand words! Those displayed here show the group learning the importance of the pollinators and their habitat, getting hands-on training in planting, and gathering to celebrate their success.
A special thanks to the team of planters, the training and guidance of Wildland Restoration volunteers, the expertise of Michelle and the Barr Lake staff, and the financial support of Occidental Petroleum!! What a great day.
In the fall of 2019, Pheasants Forever, Colorado Division of Wildlife and Barr Lake State Park, using a grant funded by Colorado Partners in the Outdoors, planted several plots of pollinators at Barr Lake State Park. These pictures are of some of the plants have gently cared for through the winter and are doing great! Note that there are butterflies in one of the pictures. In addition to the butterflies, honey bees, bumble bees, and other visitors have enjoyed the project. This is a great example of how partnerships create habitat for all of us!!
Please drop by Barr Lake visitors center and see the pollinators!!
Just two years into the Corners for Conservation (C4C) program in northeast Colorado, Jerry Miller, a Pheasants Forever Farm Bill biologist, is hearing good things. He’s hearing from landowners pleased with the ease of sign up and the reliability of annual payments for their conservation efforts. He hears from hunters, excited about new hunting opportunities in previously inaccessible areas. But perhaps the most important feedback he receives is when he walks the enrolled fields and hears the calls of pheasants, bobwhites, meadowlarks, lark bunting and the busy hum of bees and pollinators.
“These acres are truly alive with all kinds of insects, birds, small animals and large animals like mule deer,” he said.
Corners for Conservation aka C4C
C4C began in 2016 when a team of representatives from Pheasants Forever and Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW), alarmed by the loss of almost 50,000 acres of Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) fields in four of Colorado’s top five pheasant counties, developed a partnership to address the habitat loss and increase hunter access.
The program works because of the geometric realities of farming on the high-desert plains. Land here is divided into 640-acre sections, and then further into 160-acre quarter sections that create a checkerboard pattern of corn, wheat, sugar beet and sunflower fields. While most crops are grown with natural precipitation, called dryland farming, some are watered by center-pivot irrigation systems which miss the outlying 7 to 8 acres in each corner of the square.