Poudre Learning Center
Minutes from downtown.
Nesting bald eagles. Three miles of hiking trails. Sixty-five acres of prairie, wetlands, and a spectacular reach of the Cache la Poudre River. An 18-acre learning lake for catch-and-release fishing. And it’s all in a city of more than 100,000.
Though it’s housed in the relocated and rebuilt 1909 Hazelton School, the Poudre Learning Center is really an outdoor classroom – a place where, according to facility director Ray Tschillard, you can not only learn about nature, but also learn from it. “We’re not trying to make scientists out of everybody,” he laughs.
We’re trying to instill a sense of wonder and establish a connection between people and the outdoors. Because if you feel connected to the outdoors, you value – and protect – the outdoors.
Tschillard knows all too well the lure of the nearby Rocky Mountains. But he believes that there’s a lot to see in Greeley’s own backyard. “Part of what we’re trying to do,” he explains, “is help develop a sense of place. By coming here, students and families have a chance to really interact with the Poudre River and its inhabitants – fish, fowl, reptile, insect – and to understand the valuable role they’ve played in our history and our future.”
When the center opened 10 years ago, Tschillard had hoped to get a couple thousand people coming through. “By the end of the year,” he says, “we had 6,000. Last year? 22,000. And it’s all thanks to volunteers and the way this community has embraced it. All together- It’s in our NATURE.”
You’re invited . . .
The Poudre Learning Center grounds are open to the public free of charge, sun up to sun down including the trails, eagle spotting scope, and river access.
Regular events make the center a special place . . .
The Learning Center’s Nature Café is a monthly event where local professionals give presentations, demonstrations, or lead participants in a wide variety of topics and activities rooted in nature, sustainability, environmental stewardship and other outdoor connections. Nature Café is held at 6:30 p.m. the third Thursday of each month. Visit PoudreLearningCenter.org/events or Facebook.com/PLCOutdoors for more information.
Astronomy Nights – Seeing the Stars
Astronomy Night is a public night-sky observation event hosted by the Northern Colorado Astronomical Society. Members of the society gather together with viewing equipment and guide participants along a tour of the night sky for an evening filled with space exploration, discussion, and simple enjoyment. You can bring your own equipment or use equipment brought by society members. Astronomy Nights are held monthly from 7-10 p.m. Visit PoudreLearningCenter.org/events for upcoming Astronomy Night dates.
F.I.S.H. (Families Investigating Science at Home)
F.I.S.H. is a monthly workshop held at the Learning Center on the last Saturday of each month. Families engage in activities that are focused on exploring and learning from nature, while spending quality time together. Each F.I.S.H. event has a different theme with local professionals leading the way; different activities are held throughout the 9:00-noon time frame. For just $1 per child each child receives one free fishing vest filled with tools that can be used to investigate nature and science at home. Visit PoudreLearningCenter.org or Facebook.com/PLCOutdoors for upcoming F.I.S.H. events.
El Espejo/Boys of the Moonshell
El Espejo (June 27-July 1) and Boys of the Moonshell (July 11-15), for boys and girls respectively, a week-long summer science research experience for students in grades 5-8. These camps are designed to encourage a sense of wonder in the outdoors by allowing the students to explore as field ecologists, while forming positive relationships and advancing personal development with guidance from mentors. The 2016 theme is “Science Through Art” focusing on the various ways science is applicable in artistic expression, as well as other fun activities. Need-based scholarships are available.