Daily Discovery: Endangered & Forgotten

Post written by Alexa Leinaweaver, Live Animal Husbandry Coordinator.

Daily Discovery: Endangered & Forgotten

National Wildlife Day is September 4, 2020! To celebrate, let’s explore some of the less well known endangered species in Colorado.

We hear a lot about endangered species these days, as the climate changes around us and human activities challenge wildlife survival. Often the articles and advertisements you see feature fuzzy and adorable animals like the Giant Panda or the Sea Otter. Here in Colorado, our featured endangered wildlife tends to be appealingly majestic, like the Grey Wolf (whose reintroduction to Colorado is on November’s ballot for 2020) or even FCMOD’s beloved Black-footed Ferrets. These are species that definitely deserve attention – but there are many more of our wildlife neighbors that need our attention and help that may not be so cute or exciting. There are so many ignored species in the world that are in difficult or dangerous situations thanks to habitat loss, pollution, water loss, and many other human activities.

Here are just a few of our Colorado wildlife neighbors in need:

Least Tern (Sterna antillarum), Federally Endangered

The Least tern is the smallest member of the gull and tern family. They’re only 9 inches long. They nest in the summer on sandbars along major rivers in the central U.S., including in Colorado. This bird was listed as federally endangered in 1985. A lot of nesting habitat in the U.S. has been lost to the birds because of the ways that humans have changed the river systems: dams and reservoirs; introduction of invasive plants; stabilizing river banks, hydropower, and diverting water.

Bonytail Chub (Gila elegans), Federally Critically Endangered

The bonytail is a freshwater fish that lives in the Colorado River basin. It can grow up to 2 feet long and can live up to 50 years. It was added to the endangered list in 1980, and is now the rarest big-river fish in the Colorado. The bonytail, along with numerous other fish species in the Colorado, suffered drastic population declines after the construction of Hoover Dam and other human projects that divert water from the river and change how the water flowed and pooled. These fish also suffer from competition from non-native fish species that humans have introduced into bonytail habitat. At this time, there is no self-sustaining wild population of these fish, and human-run hatcheries are all that maintains the species.

North Park Phacelia (Phacelia formosula), Federally Endangered

The North Park Phacelia only exists in one place in the entire world: the North Park area in Jackson County. It likes to grow on bare slopes and eroding rocks in ravines in the North Park area, where few other plants are able to survive. This phacelia was listed as federally endangered in 1982. It is threatened by livestock, off-road vehicles, commercial and residential development, and petroleum exploration. It also suffers from the loss of pollinating insects in the area, which it depends on to reproduce.

You may be wondering what you can do to be a better neighbor to these species, and the other species in our beautiful state that are threatened or endangered. Here are some steps that you can try:

Educate yourself. Learn about the different kinds of wildlife that live in Colorado with us, and what kinds of things we humans are doing that are putting them at risk.

Take action. Think about how much water you use, or whether the plants in your yard are native or invasive. Consider how much energy you use leaving on lights in an empty room, or streaming your favorite songs rather than downloading them. Look at how much gas your vehicle uses, or how many plastics or other petroleum products you use on a daily basis. Even a small change you can make in your own behavior can be a help to our endangered neighbors.

Talk to your friends and family about why this wildlife is in danger, and why it’s important to you. Your friends and family care about your thoughts and opinions. Help them to understand how important it is to help all.

Contact your representatives in government. These threatened and endangered species do not have a voice in our government, but you do. If you are old enough, vote for candidates that pay attention to wildlife. But at any age, you can make your voice heard! Make sure that your representatives know how important it is that we are good neighbors to all the wildlife in Colorado, in the country, and in the world.

Follow along with our Daily Discovery! Click here for all activities that you can do at home.

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Fourth of July Celebrations in Colorado

Post written by Alex Ballou, Marketing Assistant.

Fourth of July Celebrations in Colorado

Knights of Columbus float in parade in Fourth of July Parade, Denver, Colorado. From Frank McCafferty scrapbook. Circa 1919.

 

William Clifford “Cliff” Brollier in front of the old Elks Building at the corner of Walnut and Linden Streets, Fort Collins, Colorado. Photo taken during the July 4 Celebration. The photo was donated by Doris (Brollier) Greenacre. Circa 1913.

 

Festive Fourth: Sara Hunt, Jill Kusa and Emma Payton join hands to dance to the sounds of Liz Masterson and band during Fourth of July events at City Park. Fort Collins, Colorado. Circa 1993.

 

Japanese men with parasols marching in Fourth of July Parade in Denver, Colorado. From Frank McCafferty scrapbook. Circa 1919.

 

Fourth of July parade in Denver – two women with parasols in floral decorated car. From Frank McCafferty scrapbook. Circa 1919.

 

Similar features adorn the miniature Statue of Liberty at City Park and Rocky Mountain High School senior Chris Olson, who wore his hair in “liberty spikes” during the Fourth of July celebration. Fort Collins, Colorado. Circa 1989.

 

Spectators and runners enjoy the Fourth of July Firecracker Five race near Horsetooth Reservior. (The Triangle Review, 1979/07/08, p.2)

 

Fireworks stand in semi-truck trailer near Fort Collins, Colorado. Circa 1979.

 

Local history lives here. Like us on Facebook to see more historical images and artifacts. Archival images are available for research, purchase, and more through the online Fort Collins History Connection website.

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It’s National Pollinator Week! 🐝

Post written by Alexa Leinaweaver, Live Animal Husbandry Coordinator.

🐝It’s National Pollinator Week!

June 22-28, 2020, is the 13th annual National Pollinator Week!

What Are Pollinators?

Pollinators are animals that move pollen from one flower to another flower of the same species in the first step toward the plant reproducing. While pollinators are primarily insects (bees, beetles, flies, moths, butterflies), there are also some birds and small mammals that pollinate plants too.

More than 70% — and possibly as much as 90%! — of flowering plants are dependent on pollination for creating seeds and fruit. It is estimated that one out of every three bites of food you eat was made possible by animal pollinators!

Many of the animals that pollinate are in decline. Pollinator habitats are shrinking or getting destroyed so they have no space to live or feed. In addition, overuse of pesticides, environmental pollution, and climate change are all adding risks to these animals.

Pollinators in Colorado

In Colorado, we have a wide range of habitats and extreme changes in altitude – different bees will thrive in each area. Because of that variety of habitat, Colorado is home to more than 900 species of bees! There are more than 200 bees in Larimer County alone. The smallest bee in Colorado is the Miner Bee (Perdita salacis) at 3.5mm/0.1in; the largest is the Nevada Bumblebee (Bombus nevadensis) at 26.5mm/1in. Colorado bees are colorful, too! Different species may be the usual yellow and black, or range to red, orange, green, blue, or brown.

Most bees in Colorado (and the rest of the world too) are solitary bees that don’t live in a colony like the familiar honeybee. Most of these solitary bees are ground nesters, digging burrows in the soil or using abandoned rodent burrows. Some of the bees here are cavity nesters, finding holes or cavities in twigs or logs.

In Colorado, bees are responsible for pollinating 80% of the crops in our state.

In addition to bees, other pollinators in Colorado include approximately 250 species of butterfly and more than 1,000 species of moth. There are also 11 species of hummingbird that migrate through the state from April through September.

How can you help pollinators?

Learn more about the pollinators in the space where you live. Spend some time outside and observe the animals that are visiting your garden. What kinds of animals do you see? What colors are they? How do they behave as they visit flowers?

Create good habitats for pollinators around your home. Whether you have acres of land or just a window box, you can help pollinators by offering them food and shelter. Plant a variety of flowering plants (preferably native – CSU has a great example list of native plants for pollinators) that offer food and nesting space. Provide several different kinds of blooming plants near each other, and use plants that have different bloom times, so that flowers are available to pollinators from early spring through late fall. Plant in sunny locations that are protected from the wind.

Don’t “clean up” your yard in the fall. Leave all the dormant or dead plants alone rather than trimming them back for the winter season — cavity nesting bees and other pollinating insects will use them as a safe home during the cold weather. Leave some leaf litter around for butterflies and moths to use as insulation over the winter, rather than raking it all up and dumping it in the landfill. If you can include materials in your yard such as logs or wood nesting blocks, you provide space for species that nest in wood to survive the snow. Leave some of the ground uncovered (i.e. don’t put mulch everywhere) for the native bees that nest in the bare dirt for the winter.

Reduce use of chemicals for controlling weeds and pests, as these can hurt or kill beneficial pollinators as well.

Protect natural habitat.

 Share what you know. Talk to your friends and family about what you have learned about pollinators and how and why you are helping them. Talk to your local and state government about how important it is to protect pollinators.

 

 

 

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Father’s Day

Post written by Alex Ballou, Marketing Assistant.

Father’s in Fort Collins

Today we honor all Father’s, those in the present and in the past.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Local history lives here. Like us on Facebook to see more historical images and artifacts. Archival images are available for research, purchase, and more through the online Fort Collins History Connection website.

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Musicians from Colorado/ Músicos de Colorado

Post written by Eisen Tamkun, Music Programming Lead.

Musicians from Colorado

Colorado has produced some amazing musicians. Explore these groups and individuals! Learn where they are based, interesting tidbits, and more!

Pretty Lights

Band Members (current): Derek Vincent Smith- Born Nov. 25, 1981, Fort Collins, CO

Formed: Boulder, CO 2004

Genre: Electronic

Top Album: A Color Map of the Sun

OneRepublic

Formed in Colorado Springs, Colorado in 2002, OneRepublic has won several music awards with many nominations. Including nominations for American Music Awards, Billboard Music Awards, World Music Awards, and Grammy Awards.

Band Members (current): Ryan Tedder,, Zach Filkins, Drew Brown, Brent Kutzle, Eddie Fisher, Brian Willett.

Genre: Pop Rock, Pop, Alternative Rock.

Top Album: Native

Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats

Currently based in Denver, Colorado. Nathaniel Rateliff grew up in Missouri. When he came to Denver he first formed Born in the Flood (2002-2008), which transitioned into a more stripped down solo focused effort called Nathaniel Rateliff and the Wheel (2007-2014). In 2013, while still preforming in earlier bands and groups, Rateliff began a more upbeat and soulful project with longtime collaborator Joseph Pope III and other collaborators. Thus Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats was born.

Band Members (current): Nathaniel Rateliff, Joseph Pope III, Patrick Meese, Like Mossman, Jeff Dazey, Mark Shusterman, Andreas Wild.

Genre: Soul, Gospel, Folk Rock, Blues Rock, Americana

Top Album: In Memory Of Loss

Gregory Alan Isakov

Currently based in Boulder, Colorado, Isakov originally lived in Johannesburg, South Africa. He and his family immigrated to the US in 1986 and was raised in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He draws influence from Leonard Cohen, Kelly Joe Phelps, and Bruce Springsteen.

Band Members (current): Gregory Alan Isakov

Genre: Contemporary Folk, Indie Folk, Country Folk

Top Album: This Empty Northern Hemisphere

The Lumineers

Based in Denver, Colorado. The original two founding members Fraites and Schultz began writing and preforming music together in Ramsey, New Jersey in 2005. They were influenced by musicians such as Bruce Springsteen, Bob Dylan, and Tom Petty.

Band Members (current): Wesley Schultz, Jeremiah Fraites

Genre: Indie Folk, Folk Rock, Americana

Top Album: The Lumineers

30H!3

Duo from Boulder, Colorado. They took their name from the area code of Boulder, 303.

Band Members (current): Sean Foreman, Nathaniel Motte

Genre: Synth-pop, Crunkcore, Trap, Electronic Rock, Alternative Rock

Top Album: Streets of Gold

DeVotchka

Denver band, formed in 1997. They take their name form the Russian word devotchka (девочка) meaning “girl”.

Band Members (current): Nick Urata, Tom Hagerman, Jeanie Schroder, Shawn King.

Genre: Gypsy Punk, Dark Cabaret, Indie Folk, Indie Rock

Top Album: A Mad and Faithful Telling

Big Head Tod and the Monsters

Formed in 1986 by three Columbine High School students. Began

touring clubs in Denver, Fort Collins and Boulder until they built up a following across Colorado and the West. Started touring extensively dubbing their van the “Colonel” who drove over 400,000 miles.

Band Members (current): Todd Park Mohr, Brian Nevin, Rob Squires, Jeremy Lawton.

Genre: Rock, Blue Rock, Alternative Rock, Funk Rock, Southern Rock, Country Rock, Folk, Jass-Fussion, Jam Band.

Top Album: Sister Sweetly

Tennis

From Denver, Colorado, Tennis formed in 2010. The husband-wife duo debuted their album Cape Dory in 2011.

Band Members (current):Patrick Riley, Alaina Moore

Genre: Indie Pop, Dream Pop, Surf Pop, Lo-Fi

Top Album: Yours Conditionally

Yonder Mountain String Band

Formed in Nederland, Colorado 1998 this progressive bluegrass group played their first show at the Fox Theater in Boulder.

Band Members (current): Ben Kaufmann, Dave Johnston, Adam Aijala, Allie Kral, and Jake Jolliff.

Genre: Progressive Bluegrass, Country, Jam Band.

Top Album: Elevation

The Fray

The Fray originate from Denver, Colorado in 2002. They achieved worldwide fame with their song “How to Safe a Live”.

Band Members (current): Isaac Slade, Joe King, Dave Welsh, and Ben Wysocki.

Genre: Rock

Top Album: How to Save a Life

 

Traducido por Károl de Rueda y Laura Vilaret-Tuma.

Músicos de Colorado

¿Sabías que muchos músicos increíbles y famosos han salido de Colorado? Explora los grupos musicales y artistas de nuestro estado, conoce en dónde se basan, algunos datos curiosos y más, mientras escuchas estos géneros musicales diversos.

Pretty Lights

Artista actual: Derek Vincent Smith, nacido el 25 de noviembre de 1981 en Fort Collins, Colorado.

Inició en: Boulder, Colorado, en 2004.

Género: Música electrónica.

Álbum más exitoso: A Color Map of the Sun.

The Fray

La banda The Fray se originó en Denver, Colorado, en el año 2002. Alcanzaron fama mundial con su canción “How to Safe a Life.”

Miembros de la banda (actualmente):

Isaac Slade, Joe King, Dave Welsh, y Ben Wysocki.

Género: Rock.

Álbum más exitoso: How to Save a Life.

Yonder Mountain String Band

Este grupo se formó en el año 1998 en Nederland, Colorado, tocando su primer concierto en el Fox Theater de Boulder.

Miembros de la banda (actualmente): Ben Kaufmann, Dave Johnston, Adam Aijala, Allie Kral, y Jake Jolliff.

Género: Bluegrass, Música country, Jam Band.

Álbum más exitoso: Elevation.

Tennis

Originalmente de Denver, Colorado, Tennis se formó en el año 2010. La pareja casada debutó su álbum Cape Dory en 2011.

Miembros de la banda (actualmente): Patrick Riley y Alaina Moore.

Género: Música pop/independiente (Indie Pop, Dream Pop, Surf Pop, Lo-Fi).

Álbum más exitoso: Yours Conditionally.

Big Head Tod and the Monsters

Formado en el año 1986 por tres alumnos de Columbine High School, este grupo empezó a tocar música en discotecas y clubs hasta que alcanzaron popularidad por todo Colorado y partes del oeste. Les gusta viajar en su vehículo extensamente, y por lo tanto nombraron a su camioneta “La coronel.” Han manejado más de 400,000 millas recorriendo Estados Unidos.

Miembros de la banda (actualmente): Todd Park Mohr, Brian Nevin, Rob Squires, y Jeremy Lawton.

Género: Música Rock (Blues Rock, Rock alternativo, Funk Rock, Country Rock, Folk, Jazz-Fusion, Jam Band).

Álbum más exitoso: Sister Sweetly.

DeVotchka

Un grupo de Denver formado en el año 1997. Su nombre viene de la palabra rusa devotchka (девочка), que significa “niña.”

Miembros de la banda (actualmente): Nick Urata, Tom Hagerman, Jeanie Schroder, Shawn King.

Género: Punk gitano, música cabaret oscura, Indie Folk, Rock independiente

Álbum más exitoso: A Mad and Faithful Telling.

30H!3

Dúo de Boulder, Colorado. Tomaron su nombre del código de área de su ciudad, 303.

Miembros de la banda (actualmente): Sean Foreman, Nathaniel Motte.

Género: Synth-pop, Crunkcore, Trap, Rock electrónica, rock alternativo.

Álbum más exitoso: Streets of Gold.

The Lumineers

Basados en Denver, Colorado, los fundadores Fraites y Schultz empezaron a escribir y tocar música juntos en Ramsey, Nueva Jersey en el año 2005. Son influenciados por músicos como Bruce Springsteen, Bob Dylan y Tom Petty.

Miembros de la banda (actualmente): Wesley Schultz y Jeremiah Fraites.

Género: Folk y rock independiente, música Americana.

Álbum más exitoso: The Lumineers

Gregory Alan Isakov

Actualmente basado en Boulder, Colorado, Isakov originalmente vivió en Johannesburg, Sudáfrica. Junto con su familia, emigró a los Estados Unidos en 1986 y fue criado en Filadelfia, Pensilvania. Se inspira en la música de Leonard Cohen, Kelly Joe Phelps, y Bruce Springsteen.

Artista: Gregory Alan Isakov.

Género: Folk contemporáneo, Folk independiente, Country Folk.

Álbum más exitoso: This Empty Northern Hemisphere.

Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats

Actualmente basados en Denver, Colorado. Nathaniel Rateliff creció en el estado de Misuri. Cuando se mudó a Denver, formó el grupo Born in the Flood (2002-2008). Eventualmente se volvió un proyecto diferente nombrado Nathaniel Rateliff and the Wheel (2007-2014). En 2013, mientras todavía tocaba en otros grupos, Rateliff empezó a colaborar con Joseph Pope III y otros miembros. Así nació Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats.

Miembros de la banda (actualmente): Nathaniel Rateliff, Joseph Pope III, Patrick Meese, Like Mossman, Jeff Dazey, Mark Shusterman, y Andreas Wild.

Género: Soul, música góspel, Folk Rock, Blues Rock, música Americana.

Álbum más exitoso: In Memory of Loss.

OneRepublic

Formada en Colorado Springs, Colorado en el año 2002, la banda OneRepublic ha ganado varios premios musicales y muchas nominaciones, incluyendo algunas para premios de Billboard Music Awards, Premios American Music, World Music Awards, y los premios Grammy.

Miembros de la banda (actualmente): Ryan Tedder, Zach Filkins, Drew Brown, Brent Kutzle, Eddie Fisher, y Brian Willett.

Género: Pop Rock, Pop, rock alternativo.

Álbum más exitoso: Native.

 

Educational opportunities like this are supported in part by Bohemian Foundation.

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The Pollinator You Know: The Honeybee!

Post written by Alexa Leinaweaver, Live Animal Husbandry Coordinator.

The Pollinator You Know: The Honeybee!

When most people hear about pollination, the first thing they think of is the honeybee.

The oldest bee that scientists have found so far was in Myanmar, encased in amber and dated at 100 million years old! Bees that old were hunters, eating other insects. At some point they started visiting flowers for nectar and pollen, changing into the honeybees that we know and love.

Honeybee colonies have been kept in man-made hives since Ancient Egypt and have been important throughout human history. In addition to being delicious as a sweetener in food, honey can be used to make mead (an alcoholic drink), which works as an antiseptic. It has even been used to embalm mummies! Beeswax can be used in making many products, such as candles, soap, cosmetics, and waterproofing. Honey and bees are so important that people have named their children after bees. Deborah and Melissa both mean “bee” in different languages; Pamela derives from a word for “honey”.

When Europeans colonized the Americas in the 17th century, there were no native honeybees. Native Americans tribes at the time kept and traded other kinds of bees. European settlers brought the Western Honey Bee (Apis mellifera) along with their familiar crop plants when they moved to the Americas. As we have expanded across the planet, humans have deliberately expanded the range of the Western Honey Bee, and it is now found on every continent in the world except Antarctica.

Healthy Honeybee Colonies

In a healthy honeybee colony, you can see thousands of individual bees. Most of what you see are the worker bees, which are females that cannot lay eggs. There are usually 10,000-50,000 workers per colony. The workers care for the queen and young, defend the hive with their stingers, build comb for the young honeybees and the honey, and collect food. There are also drones, which are the male honeybees. There are about 1,000 drones in a given colony. Drones have no sting, do not forage for food, and cannot defend the hive. Their only purpose is to mate with the queen. There is only one queen bee in the colony. She is larger than all the other bees, and usually has a circle of worker bees around her (her “court”) that take care of her, bringing her food and cleaning her. The queen is the only individual who can lay eggs, and can lay as many as 2,000 eggs per day!

The worker bees leave the hive and may fly up to two miles away from their home to find food. They seek out flowers and collect nectar, which is a sugary solution that flowers produce in order to attract pollinators. The worker bee then returns to the hive and performs a dance to indicate to her fellow workers where she found food. The collected nectar is transformed into honey and may be consumed by any of the adult bees or fed to the young who cannot yet fly to find their own food. The honey can also be harvested by humans.

Honeybee colonies normally survive for several years, going dormant in the winter cold and then becoming active in the warmer months. During favorable conditions (an abundance of food), the hive will create “daughter queens,” and the old queen and much of her colony will relocate to make room for the new queens.

What is happening with the FCMoD colony?

Fort Collins Museum of Discovery has had a bee colony in the Animal Encounters exhibit for our visitors to watch and enjoy since the exhibit opened. However, our colony has collapsed several times since then. Each time we have obtained a new colony from our professional beekeeper.

There are a lot of environmental factors that can negatively affect a honeybee colony, and a lot of colonies around the world are struggling and collapsing right now. There are some pesticides that are worse for bees, especially the class of pesticide called neonicotinoids. There are diseases and parasites that can affect a colony. Climate change may also be playing a factor with bee colonies dying.

What our beekeeper thinks may be happening to the honeybee colony here at FCMoD is that the bees may have found a flower source in the area that has been sprayed with a certain kind of pesticide. They collect the nectar and pesticide, then carry it back to the colony and tell their sisters where to find more. The bees eat the poisoned nectar and honey, and die.

How can we stop honeybee colony collapse?

There are a lot of different pesticides that people use to control weeds and to get rid of bugs they don’t like. But since we do like the honeybees and the honey they make, we need to make sure that we use pesticides that won’t hurt the bees. Pesticide application can be done at night when bees are not foraging. Additionally, making sure not to apply pesticides to blooming plants will help prevent bee deaths.

Like all animals, bees need good quality and abundant food. We can plant native flowers at our homes so honeybees and all the native Colorado bees have healthy and nutritious food sources.

We should also look for ways to reduce our impact on the environment around us, improving the lives of all animals that we share our environment with. Find reusable products instead of single use items you throw away. Turn off the lights in empty rooms. Compost. Take shorter showers. Each of us can have a huge positive impact on the wild animals that live around us.

Learn more about how pesticides can affect bees and other wildlife:

EPA Tips for Reducing Pesticide Impacts on Wildlife

National Pesticide Information Center: Protecting Wildlife from Pesticides

Learn about native plants you can use in your garden:

Colorado Native Plant Society plant lists

Find out how to reduce your impact on the environment:

World Wildlife Fund’s Tips for Reducing Your Environmental Impact

Can you spot the queen bee in this picture? She is larger and a slightly different color.

The FCMoD honeybee colony, in Spring of 2018.

Photos courtesy of Alexa Leinaweaver

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Daily Discovery: Agriculture in Action!

Post written by Hannah Curtis, Education Assistant.

Daily Discovery: Agriculture in Action!

Agriculture and farming have a long history in Fort Collins and all over the globe. Most of the time we only see the end product, the fruits and vegetables at the grocery store. With this activity, see what happens under the dirt through experimentation with the scientific method!

Follow along through Facebook and Instagram with museum educator Hannah as she demonstrates this experiment in her own home. Happy Farming!

Supplies:

General:

  • Water
  • Indoor space with sunlight
  • Sharpie or marker
  • Paper and pencil to record daily observations
  • Potting soil and planter (optional)

Growing Produce from seeds:

  • Seeds (dried beans, flower seeds, other fruit or vegetable seeds)
  • Baking tray or cutting board
  • Paper towels
  • Spray bottle (optional)
  • Ziploc bags

Re-Growing Produce from Kitchen Scraps:

  • Kitchen scraps (celery base, lettuce heart, green onion base, yellow onion top)
  • Small bowls or containers
  • Sharp kitchen knife and adult supervision

Instructions:

For ages 3-5:

  1. Review what plants and flowers need to grow and walk through the stages of plant growth.
  2. The Ziploc bag method can be easily monitored and observed, but we recommend setting up a method together that works best for your household. See procedures below.
  3. Ask your young scientist what they think will happen to the produce or seeds? Talk about different plants they have seen and discuss how they grow or where their favorite fruits and vegetables come from.
  4. Observe and talk about what is happening to your produce or seeds every day.

For ages 6 and up:

  1. Review what plants and flowers need to grow and walk through the stages of plant growth.
  2. Work through the scientific process before proceeding with the experiment. Decide on an experiment you want to test.
  3. Write down your answers for the scientific process and create your method for observation.
  4. Depending on your growing method, follow the procedures below.
  5. Record your observations every day in an observational chart, farming journal or a photo archive. As your produce grows you can look back on previous days, predict what will happen next and share with family and friends!
  6.  Follow along with Hannah as she tests her experiment in her home.

Want to download these directions? Click here for a handy PDF!

Follow along with our Daily Discovery! Click here for all activities that you can do at home.

Educational opportunities like this are supported in part by Fort Fund.

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Arbor Day 2020

Post written by Alex Ballou, Marketing Assistant.

Arbor Day 2020

Every year Arbor Day is celebrated the last Friday in April. This Arbor Day we wanted to share 5 fun facts about trees that will ‘leaf’ you ‘stump’ed!

  • Did you know that the tallest tree is around the same size as the Statue of Liberty? According to the Guinness World Records, the tallest tree can be found in California’s Redwood Forest. Hyperion is a Sequoia tree that is 380 feet tall. Hyperion is estimated to be between 600 and 800 years old. The statue of liberty is 305 feet tall. Hyperion could overpower and shadow the Statue of Liberty in size!

  • According to the Guinness World Records, the oldest living individual tree is found in California’s White Mountain range and its name is the Methuselah. This tree is 4,845 years old! This bristle cone pine tree stands guard of the Mountain range today.

  • Trees drink up to 100 gallons of water a day – this is 200 times more than the average human drinks a day! That’s a ‘tree’mendous amount of water!

  • Trees can be used as natural compasses. If a tree has moss growing on it, that side is the north of the trunk because that side spends the most time in the shade. If  you are lost in a forest and there are any tree trunks around, the growth rings that are thicker are on the south because that side gets the most sun. Trees can direct you back to the path where you were rooted from!

  • The worlds largest tree in terms of sheer volume is a giant Sequoia named General Sherman. This tree could be the largest living thing on the planet. General Sherman is located in California’s Sequoia National park. The tree is a whopping 52,508 cubic feet in volume. You would need more than 15 people all connected to hug this tree’s trunk!

To find out more about our local effort as an annual Tree City, USA award recipient for over 40 years, find out more from The City of Fort Collins Forestry Division. This division maintains over 54,500 trees along streets and in parks, cemeteries, golf courses and other City facilities or property. They strive to sustain a safe, healthy and attractive urban forest through frequent and sound management practices.

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National Beer Day

Post written by Alex Ballou, Marketing Assistant.

National Beer Day

It’s #NationalBeerDay and there is no better place to celebrate this holiday than our home – Fort Collins, Colorado!

History of National Beer Day

National Beer Day is celebrated annually on April 7. This day marks the signing of the Cullen-Harrison Act. The signing of this act led to the 18th Amendment being repealed, with ratification of the 21st Amendment to the constitution. This enactment took the first step toward ending the prohibition. Beer drinkers rejoiced as they were able to purchase beer again for the first time in 13 years!

Beer is now the world’s most widely consumed alcoholic beverage. Following water and tea, it is the third most popular drink overall. This was not a “sour” move to make!

Fun fact: April 6, the day before National Beer Day, is also known as, New Beer’s Eve.

Local Beer History

Fort Collins is sometimes referred to as the “Napa Valley of Beer.” Although alcohol arrived with the first settlers in Fort Collins, prohibition hindered the growth of the industry until 1969.

In 1980, the large beer company, Anheuser Busch, made a bid to open a brewery in the city. It took 8 years to get the city on board for the first brewery in Fort Collins. The plant began construction in 1988. In 1990, Doug Odell opened Odell Brewery Co. Soon after, New Belgium opened in 1991. Other breweries opened soon after these leaders in the industry. Fort Collins was one of the first to latch onto the craft beer movement. By 2010, a new generation of breweries, like Funkwerks & Equinox Brewing, emerged. According to Visit Fort Collins, the city is now home to over 20 local craft breweries!

The craft beer industry, with its emphasis on local breweries, plays a vital role in the communities economy and culture, this goes hand in hand with the outdoor recreation that is popular in Colorado.

How YOU can celebrate!

Celebrate today with a pint of your favorite local brew. Even if you are stuck at home, no worries! You can order beer from your favorite breweries in Fort Collins (please check the preferred brewery website for updated hours and delivery options).

Cheers! 🍻

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Enter the Zooniverse

Post written by Ben Gondrez, Digital Dome Manager.

Enter the Zooniverse

Have you ever wondered if there was an easy way to help scientists and researchers make new discoveries from your very own home? Well, whether you’ve had that thought or not, you can indeed be a vital participant in actual research through the Zooniverse! The Zooniverse is the world’s largest and most popular platform for people-powered research. By utilizing the power of volunteers – more than a million people around the world who come together to assist professional researchers – Zooniverse makes it easy for anyone, including you, to contribute to real academic research from their homes on their own computers. As many of us are spending more time than usual at home observing social distancing in response to COVID-19, now is the perfect time to become a citizen scientist and Zooniverse makes it easy for all ages of people to get involved. So how does Zooniverse work? Check out this short animation to learn more:

Ready to get started helping with real research projects from your own home? You can visit zooniverse.org to see all active projects including projects like Planet Four, a project exploring the surface and weather of Mar’s south polar region, or the project Bash The Bug, helping researchers find effective antibiotics to fight tuberculosis. Not sure where to start? Here are a couple of curated lists of projects and other links from Zooniverse to help you get started:

Designed for 5-12 year olds:

  • Curated list of age-appropriate Zooniverse projects for younger learners
  • Zooniverse-based Activity for 5-12 year olds
  •  Classroom.zooniverse.org
    • Wildcam Labs
      • Designed for 11-13 year olds, but the content can easily scale down for younger audiences.
      • Great way to engage if you love looking at photos of wild animals and want to investigate ecological questions. The interactive map allows you to explore trail camera data and filter and download data to carry out analyses and test hypotheses.
      • Educators can set up private classrooms, invite students to join, curate data sets, and get access to the guided activities and supporting educational resources.
      • Individual explorers also welcome – you don’t need to be part of a classroom to participate. · Planet Hunters Educators Guide

Designed for 11-13 year olds:

Designed for teens and adults:

  • Curated list of Zooniverse projects
  • Zooniverse-based Lesson Plan for teens and adults
  • Classroom.zooniverse.org
    • Wildcam Labs
      • Designed for middle school classrooms, but the content can easily scale up for older audiences.
      • See description above.
    • Astro101 with Galaxy Zoo
      • Designed for undergraduate non-major introductory astronomy courses, but the content has been used in many high-school classrooms as well.
      • Students learn about stars and galaxies through 4 half-hour guided activities and a 15-20 hour research project experience in which they analyze real data (including a curated Galaxy Zoo dataset), test hypotheses, make plots, and summarize their findings.
      • Developed by Julie Feldt, Thomas Nelson, Cody Dirks, Dave Meyer, Molly Simon, and colleagues.
    • For both Wildcam and Astro101 Activities
      • Educators can set up private classrooms, invite students to join, curate data sets, and get access to the guided activities and supporting educational resources.
      • Individual explorers also welcome – you don’t need to be part of a classroom to participate.
  • Planet Hunters Educators Guide
    • Designed for 11-13 year olds, but the content can easily scale up for older audiences.
    • See description above.
  • Notes from Nature Activity
    • Designed for 11-13 year olds, but the content can easily scale up for older audiences.
    • See description above.
  • Snapshot Safari-based Lesson Plans and Interactive Timeline
    • Developed by University of Minnesota PhD student Jessica Dewey
  • Kelp Forest Ecology Lab
    • Through the Zooniverse FloatingForests.org project, researchers are striving to understand the impact of climate change on giant kelp forests, an indicator of the health of our oceans. In this lab, students analyze Floating Forest and other ocean data to explore their own research questions.
    • Developed by Cal State – Monterey Bay faculty Dr. Alison Haupt and colleagues
  • NEH Teacher’s Guide for Digital Humanities and Online Education
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