Smithsonian Exhibition Exploring the Global Water Story

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Smithsonian Exhibition Exploring the Global Water Story
Scheduled to Open at the Greeley History Museum

GREELEY, CO— Water is the most vital resource for life on Earth; no living thing exists without it. “H2O Today”—a new exhibition at the Greeley History Museum, 714 8th St.—examines the diversity and challenges of global water sources and promotes conversation, creativity and innovation through art, science and technology. Organized by the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES), the exhibition will be available locally from Saturday, Sept. 2 through Sunday, May 20, 2018.

“H2O Today” dives into what it means to live on a planet where 71 percent of the surface is covered in water, yet less than 3 percent is drinkable. The exhibition highlights the crucial role it plays in daily life through water power, industry, agriculture and home use. Visitors will learn the affects climate change, population growth and pollution have on the water cycle and weather patterns as well as the creative ways people around the world are tackling the challenges of water shortages and pollution.

Local artifacts on display include items related to the Greeley Ice and Storage Company, and a water clock used to measure water levels at the head gate for Union Colony Ditch No.3. Visitors will also have an opportunity to learn about irrigation and use an example treadle pump to see how the pump moves water.

The “H2O Today” exhibition is part of the Smithsonian’s Think Water Initiative to raise awareness of water as a critical resource for life through exhibitions, educational resources and public programs. The public can participate in the conversation on social media at #thinkWater.

“H20 Today” was adapted by SITES from an exhibition organized by the American Museum of Natural History in New York City ( and the Science Museum of Minnesota in St. Paul (, in collaboration with Great Lakes Science Center in Cleveland; The Field Museum in Chicago; Instituto Sangari in Sao Paulo; National Museum of Australia in Canberra; Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto, Canada; San Diego Natural History Museum; and Science Centre Singapore with PUB Singapore.

The exhibit is sponsored locally by the Cache la Poudre River National Heritage Area and the 501(c)3 non-profit management entity of the heritage area, the Poudre Heritage Alliance.

For hours of operation and information about this and other exhibits on display at the Greeley History Museum, visit


SITES has been sharing the wealth of Smithsonian collections and research programs with millions of people outside Washington, D.C., for 65 years. SITES connects Americans to their shared cultural heritage through a wide range of exhibitions about art, science and history, which are shown wherever people live, work and play. For exhibition descriptions and tour schedules, visit

Investments in conservation easements reap benefits for Colorado

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Similar to public investments in National Heritage Areas that have 5 to 1 returns for local economies in Colorado, conservation easements also highlight significant benefits for communities throughout the state. Here are a few key excerpts from an article by Mary Guiden in CSU’s SOURCE:

“A new analysis from Colorado State University found that each dollar invested by the state for these easements produced benefits of between $4 and $12 for Coloradans. Public benefits include clean water and air, scenic views, access to things produced by local farms and ranches products, and wildlife habitat: all things that contribute to a high quality of life in the state.”

The study focused on Colorado’s investments in conservation easements funded through a tax credit program and Great Outdoors Colorado. The voter-approved program uses a portion of lottery proceeds to help with efforts to protect wildlife habitat, river corridors, productive agricultural lands, iconic scenic views. It has also created trails and open spaces for Coloradans to enjoy.

Study co-author Michael Menefee, an environmental review coordinator with CSU’s Colorado Natural Heritage Program, said the investments are filling a vital need for conservation of identified priorities on private lands. “An active partnership between private landowners and public policy can achieve what neither acting alone can accomplish,” he added.”

The Cache la Poudre River National Heritage Area and the Poudre Heritage Alliance have partnered with Great Outdoors Colorado in the past, with the upcoming Eastman Memorial Natural Area development in Greeley serving as the next project in this partnership.

Check out the full article here at CSU’s SOURCE

*Photo of Pleasant Valley in Bellvue, CO by Michael Menefee

Field Trip Grant Program - Kids scenic view

Over 50 Community Assistance Programs Offered by National Park Service!

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News release from NPS: 

We have a new resource for National Park Service staff and partners!

Today the National Park Service launched its Directory of NPS Community Assistance Programs.

The 54 programs outlined in the Directory provide funding, technical assistance, and other resources to community groups for historic preservation, investment in historic sites, recreation and improved access to public lands, and education and professional development in and outside national parks.

Community assistance programs of the National Park Service empower local organizations to advance historic preservation and conservation work in rural and urban communities across the United States. These programs serve as economic drivers, transforming underutilized places into community assets that enhance quality of life and boost local economies through tourism and job creation.

View the directory here: Community assistance program website

Thank you!

CommunityAssist Team

Heather Scotten Passchier,

Elle O’Casey, Elle_O’

Rivers, Trails, and Conservation Assistance Program
Washington D.C. 20240
NPS Stewardship Institute
Woodstock, VT 05091

Coalition to Protect America’s National Parks: Fund National Heritage Areas

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Excerpt from Article: (Check out the full post here)

“C.   Enact Program Legislation to Permanently Authorize and Fund the National Heritage Areas 

The National Heritage Area approach has a thirty-year track record of developing strong regional partnerships for resource conservation and community prosperity. Today there are 49 National Heritage Areas from Alabama to Alaska. Program legislation has been introduced with bi-partisan support for over a decade and now is the time to make a push for its passage.”

Poudre Heritage Alliance and the Cache la Poudre River National Heritage Area Announce Three Large Grant Recipients for 2017 Totaling $29,212

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May 30, 2017

The Poudre Heritage Alliance (PHA) and the Cache la Poudre River National Heritage Area (CALA) have given out their large grant awards for 2017 to the following local projects: the Historic Windmill installation and interpretation at Centennial Village in Greeley; the restoration of the James Ross Proving-up House at the Farm at Lee Martinez Park in Fort Collins; and the Nature Rides Program through the Growing Project and the Boys and Girls Club in Northwest Fort Collins. The total award to all three recipients will equal $29,212 out of PHA’s budget, which largely originates from federal funding sources. See below for more information about these projects:

Historic Windmill Installation: Centennial Village Museum, established as a Centennial-Bicentennial community project in 1976 adjacent to Island Grove Regional Park in Greeley, CO, was designed as a living history site to interpret the architectural and cultural heritage of Greeley, Weld County and northeastern Colorado, The Historic Windmill project would repair and re-install a Steel Eclipse Type WG (worm gear) Fairbanks-Morse and Company windmill that includes a stock tank with a recirculating water system in the High Plains section of the Village. The windmill interprets the delivery of water for domestic use, stock raising, and irrigating crops in the rural irrigated and dryland districts of Weld County. An interpretive panel adjacent to the windmill plus curriculum materials for presentations at the annual spring and fall History festivals at the Village will be developed as a part of this project.

Proving-up House Restoration: Saved from demolition in 2005, the City of Fort Collins moved the historic 1890 James Ross “proving-up” house to storage until an appropriate permanent placement for educational purposes could be found. The only documented proving-up house known to exist in Larimer County, the Ross House has survived for 127 years. The Homestead Act of 1862 was adopted to get vast government lands west of the Mississippi into private hands for settlement and development. The Act mandated homesteaders had to build a small dwelling, live in it, improve the land, and after five years, for an $18 filing fee, they owned that quarter section of land. These houses, sometimes called “claim or filing shanties” often had no foundation and were portable, to be able to “prove-up” other holdings. Last fall, the Ross House was relocated to The Farm at Lee Martinez Park along the Cache la Poudre River in Fort Collins, where it will be restored and interpreted for the enjoyment and education of all citizens.

Nature Rides Program: The Growing Project (TGP) is developing a new, educational program that connects youth from The Boys and Girls Club to natural areas in Northwest Fort Collins for activities related to the watershed and local ecology with Growing Project educators and experts. TGP will work with Bike Fort Collins and the Bike Co-op to secure bikes and bicycle education for youth participants to ride from their facilities to the natural areas with TGP staff. Part of programming will include occasional service days that will partner with The City of Fort Collins to do clean up in the natural areas and learn about river health from City experts. Youth will also have the opportunity to invite family members on these rides.

More about CALA and PHA: The Cache la Poudre River National Heritage Area is one of 49 National Heritage Areas (NHA) in the United States. NHAs are places where natural, cultural, historic, and scenic resources combine to form a cohesive, nationally distinctive landscape arising from patterns of human activity shaped by geography. CALA stretches 45 miles along the curves and bends of the hard-working Poudre River from the eastern border of the rugged Roosevelt National Forest, down through the blossoming cities of Fort Collins, Windsor, and Greeley, until the vital water resource conjoins with the South Platte River in the Colorado eastern plains. As the managing organization behind CALA, the Poudre Heritage Alliance serves the local communities of Larimer and Weld County by building a deeper understanding of the Poudre River’s national significance as it relates to water law and water management. PHA and CALA bring together residents, private organizations, and government entities behind this common goal, while also enticing tourists with the recreational, environmental, and historical points of interest throughout the Heritage Area. PHA programs and initiatives that support these efforts include volunteer trainings, grant-funded projects, and outreach events that help educate people about water history and the importance of the Poudre River corridor today.


For more information about PHA or CALA, please contact the Poudre Heritage Alliance Office
at or 970-295-4851.

Colorado’s Three National Heritage Areas – Positively Impacting Local Economies, Fostering Mutually Beneficial Community Partnerships, and Preserving Important Historical Regions

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April 20, 2017 – Colorado’s National Heritage Areas oversee a wide variety of programs and services that make economic and cultural impacts throughout their regions while receiving a large portion of their funding from the federal government. The NHAs in Colorado collaborate with local governments, county administrations, and federal agencies, including National Parks such as Rocky Mountain and the Great Sand Dunes, as they wisely utilize these federal dollars. Not only are the three NHAs in Colorado joining forces on a new marketing initiative, but they are also busy highlighting their importance to local communities in the face of potential federal budget cuts.

The Cache la Poudre River, South Park, and Sangre de Cristo National Heritage Areas are currently working together with a Colorado Tourism Office grant on a coordinated marketing effort that showcases the importance and accessibility of these unique areas. A new website landing page will include a map that connects travelers to all three areas while providing information on recreational and educational opportunities available in each. South Park will focus on education through recreational themes, interpretive exhibits, and heritage trail items. Sangre de Cristo will look at historical and cultural elements by offering tours and classes. The Cache la Poudre River will highlight how local industry can play a role in National Heritage Areas through railroads, ranching, and beer. For now, check out the National Park Service website locator for more information about these areas, and read on for additional facts about the Colorado Heritage Areas and how they are making an impact alongside the National Park Service.

Cache la Poudre River National Heritage Area (CALA): Since its inception in 2009, CALA has been able to leverage federal funding in both Larimer and Weld Counties for a return on investment of over 5 to 1. (For more information on CALA’s economic impact, see the 2016 Poudre Heritage Alliance’s Annual Report here.) The Poudre Heritage Alliance (PHA), which is the management group that oversees CALA, invested this money alongside its partner organizations into many key events, museums, trails, signs, exhibits, education, and historical interpretive programs and projects. Highlights for 2016 included the Council Tree Video Archiving, where PHA worked with the Northern Arapaho Tribe to tell the story of the Council Tree Site through videos. (View PHA’s video library here, which includes a clip about Northern Arapaho leader William Friday.)

A few more examples of completed projects in 2016 by PHA include the first annual Heritage Culturalist volunteer training program; partnering to develop the Byways Loop Tour that connected the Heritage Area and three Scenic Byways for a creative heritage and natural tourism experience; and working with the State Historic Fund and Poudre Landmarks Foundation to create plans for turning the 1882 Water Works into a Water Interpretation Center.

Jennifer Beccard, Executive Director of the Poudre Landmarks Foundation, had this to say about the Water Works project: “This grant, made possible by federal funding through the National Heritage Areas Program, helped our organization to create construction documents to preserve and upgrade this 23-acre site into a Northern Colorado Water Interpretation Center… When complete, the proposed Water Interpretation Center will provide Northern Colorado with a central location dedicated to water history, water law, and water distribution information.”

South Park National Heritage Area (SPNHA): SPNHA has been able to leverage federal funding on a 6 to 1 basis with Sales Tax revenues increasing by as much as 12%. Under their current agreement, the SPNHA is looking at a 9 to 1 return according to its 2016 Annual Report. Working with partners, the SPNHA has preserved trails, supported events, and boosted community pride.

Every year the SPNHA provides grants to local non-profit groups which enable these groups to successfully complete outstanding and vital projects through Park County. This projects include preserving Park County’s industrial, railroad, and ranching heritage. Additionally, SPNHA promotes heritage tourism and community development through the promotion of authentic rural American towns such as Hartsel and Alma. Without funding and support from SPNHA, many of these local initiatives would be greatly curtailed due to the lack of infrastructure and financial support.

Sangre de Cristo National Heritage Area (SdCNHA): SdCNHA has been able to leverage federal funding and equally match it from partner organizations for a 2 to 1 return on investment according to its 2016 Annual Report. Working with partners in Alamosa, Costilla, and Conjeos Counties, SdCNHA has preserved historic buildings and a unique cultural language; invested in educating youth about local culture and history, interpretive signage, and events; and is currently working on designating four sites within the region as National Historic Sites.

SdCNHA focuses on historic preservation, heritage tourism, community revitalization, and cultural education.In the past two years the SdCNHA has provided funding to local organizations to hold an archeology youth camp for junior high and high school students, preserved the Nasario Gallegos house in Costilla County, awarded educational scholarships to local students, and initiated an ongoing oral history project that records the historical stories and assists teachers in creating curriculum to teach that local history in the K-12 school districts within their heritage area.

Funding issues: National Heritage Areas are places where historic, cultural, and natural resources combine to form cohesive, nationally important landscapes, and a large portion of their funding comes from the National Park Service. However, NHAs are not federal entities, do not own or affect private property rights, and are administered typically through a local non-profit or unit of local government. Unlike national parks, National Heritage Areas are large lived-in landscapes. Money that comes from the federal budget goes into projects that the NHAs oversee, like volunteer trainings, historic preservation, tourism, community revitalization, and heritage education. These programs encourage financial partnerships with public and private sectors and produce greater benefits to taxpayers than the initial federal dollars invested. The impact of the Colorado NHAs on their local communities and economies provide a large return on investment for every federal award that is given, which could not be substituted for funding solely at the local level.

For more information, please contact:


Kathleen Benedict, Executive Director

Poudre Heritage Alliance



Victoria Martinez, Executive Director

Sangre de Cristo National Heritage Area



Andrew Spencer, Executive Director

South Park National Heritage Area


***Volunteers and Poudre Heritage Alliance staff work on documenting the Council Tree site alongside the Northern Arapaho Tribe (Photo taken by the Poudre Heritage Alliance)

Cache la Poudre River National Heritage Area announces dates for its volunteer ambassador program alongside State Historical Fund Grant Award

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The Cache la Poudre River National Heritage Area (CALA) is announcing its 2017 Heritage Culturalist Program (HCP) training dates with a call for interested individuals to apply. This project is paid for in part by a History Colorado – State Historical Fund Grant.

* HCP training is scheduled for April 20-22, 2017, and applications are currently being accepted via the website: . Community members in Larimer and Weld counties with a passion for learning and sharing the history of the Poudre River are encouraged to apply. The training features classroom sessions at the Poudre Learning Center and field learning expeditions led by local historians, authors, and experts in the field of history and historic preservation. Space is limited. For more information about the Heritage Culturalist Program and to obtain a volunteer job description, please go online or contact the Poudre Heritage Alliance Program Manager Maggie Dennis at 970-295-4851 or

The award of the History Colorado State Historical Fund grant will allow the Cache la Poudre River National Heritage Area and its non-profit managing entity, the Poudre Heritage Alliance (PHA), to offer the HCP training program in 2017 and 2018. The overarching goal is to produce a dedicated group of certified volunteers and to continue to document and celebrate historic buildings, landscapes, and engineering structures in the CALA for years to come. The grant award gives the Poudre Heritage Alliance the ability to recruit outstanding presenters for the training, market the program in the CALA’s communities, and enhance resources available to volunteers. National Heritage Areas (NHAs) are places where natural, cultural, historic, and scenic resources combine to form a cohesive, nationally distinctive landscape arising from patterns of human activity shaped by geography. The Cache la Poudre River National Heritage Area (CALA) is one of 49 NHAs and encompasses the “working Cache” – 45 miles of the Poudre River, beginning at the eastern edge of Roosevelt National Forest boundary and continuing to its confluence with the South Platte River east of Greeley. This region was designated by Congress to provide for the interpretation and promotion of the area’s unique & significant historical contributions to our nation’s heritage of water law, western cultural & historical lands, waterways, and structures. For more information about the PHA or CALA, please contact the Poudre Heritage Alliance Office at or 970-295-4851.

*The contents and opinions contained herein do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of History Colorado.



Heritage Culturalist Volunteers during the 2016 training session by the George Strauss Cabin, along the banks of the Cache la Poudre River in Southeast Fort Collins


Along the Cache la Poudre River, looking downstream to the B.H Eaton Ditch

View the full news release:  NEWS RELEASE – CALA volunteer program dates 2.27.2017


Cache La Poudre River National Heritage Area Receives 2017 Active Trails Grant From The National Park Foundation

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Cache La Poudre River National Heritage Area Receives 2017 Active Trails Grant From The National Park Foundation

 WASHINGTON (February 2, 2017) – Cache La Poudre River National Heritage Area is one of 21 national parks selected to receive a 2017 Active Trails grant from the National Park Foundation, the official charity of America’s national parks.

Now entering its ninth successful year, the multi-faceted Active Trails program enriches national parks; strengthens relationships between parks, community members and organizations; and supports individual growth and well-being.

“The Active Trails program promotes healthy lifestyles while simultaneously protecting and enhancing precious land and water trail resources. This multi-faceted program offers many ways in which volunteers, community groups, corporate partners, students and educators can get involved with their national parks through hands on trail work, citizen science, formal and informal learning activities, special events and community activities.”

Since 2008, the National Park Foundation has granted nearly $3.8 million through its Active Trails program. As of early 2016, Active Trails has engaged more than 15,000 volunteers and nearly 900 project partners.

“National parks offer great spaces to recreate, be active, and build community. Whether it is admiring a dark night sky, walking in the footsteps of your ancestors, or taking part in a healthy exercise challenge, our Active Trails grants make it possible for people from all backgrounds to engage in activities that are good for the body and mind,” said Susan Newton, senior vice president of grants & programs at the National Park Foundation.

“As the National Park Service enters its second century of service, connecting more people to parks, trails, and heritage areas builds on the success of our centennial and prepares us for the 50th anniversary of the National Trails System in 2018,” said Rita Hennessy, the National Park Service National Trails System program manager. “These grants will encourage new generations of visitors to build their own connections to America’s remarkable places, where they can be active and inspired.”

The entire list of the 2017 Active Trails recipients can be found here.

The Active Trails projects are great examples of the countless ways there are to #FindYourPark. Launched in March 2015, Find Your Park/Encuentra Tu Parque is a public awareness and education movement to inspire people from all backgrounds to connect with, celebrate, and support America’s national parks and community-based programs. #FindYourPark invites people to discover and share their own unique connections to our nation’s natural landscapes, vibrant culture, and rich history.

The National Park Foundation wishes to thank The Coca-Cola Company and The Coca-Cola Foundation for their generous support of the Active Trails program.





More than 25,000 National Park Service employees care for America’s 414 national parks and work with communities across the nation to help preserve local history and create close-to-home recreational opportunities. Visit us at, on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube



The National Park Foundation is the official charity of America’s national parks and nonprofit partner to the National Park Service.  Chartered by Congress in 1967, the National Park Foundation raises private funds to help PROTECT more than 84 million acres of national parks through critical conservation and preservation efforts, CONNECT all Americans with their incomparable natural landscapes, vibrant culture and rich history, and INSPIRE the next generation of park stewards. In 2016, commemorating the National Park Service’s 100th anniversary, the Foundation launched The Centennial Campaign for America’s National Parks, a $350 million comprehensive fundraising campaign to strengthen and enhance the future of these national treasures for the next hundred years. Find out more and become a part of the national park community at

Poudre Learning Center - Photo by Gabriele Woolever

Introducing: New Officers and Board Members of the Poudre Heritage Alliance!

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The Poudre Heritage Alliance (PHA) is the Non-Profit 501c3 entity that manages the Cache la Poudre River National Heritage Area (CALA). The CALA is the area along the Cache la Poudre River from the mountains to the confluence with the South Platte River. Designated by Congress in 2009 to interpret how water law has influenced the historical, environmental, agricultural and industrial assets within the community around the Poudre River and created a unique culture around water. The PHA is made up of a board of up to 15 members that represent the community at large, Larimer and Weld County, Cities of Greeley and Fort Collins as well as the Town of Windsor, Belleview, Laporte and Timnath. On January 4, 2017 new officers were elected and new board members participated in their first PHA board meeting. This board meets once per month at the Poudre Learning Center or at the administrative offices which are located at the Colorado Welcome Center.

Current Officers of the Board

  • Bob Overbeck, Chairman
  • Wade Willis, Vice Chairman
  • Karen Scopel, Treasurer
  • Dan Biwer, Secretary

New Board Members

  • Dan Biwer, Greeley Assistant City Attorney – At Large
  • Sean Conway, Weld County Commissioner
  • Dan Perry, Greeley Museum – At Large
  • Andy Pineda, Northern Colorado Water
  • Nick Haws, Northern Engineering – At Large
  • James Wurz, Colorado State University

Existing Board Members

  • Gary Buffington, Larimer County
  • Bob Overbeck, City of Fort Collins
  • Bill Miller, Friends of the Water Works
  • Becky Safarick, City of Greeley
  • Karen Scopel, At Large
  • Ray Tschilliard, Poudre Learning Center
  • Wade Willis, Town of Windsor

Read the full press release here: News Officers and Board 2017 Press Release