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July 2018

NEWS RELEASE: Rotary Club awards $4,000 grant to Poudre Heritage Alliance

By News

Rotary Club of Fort Collins Supports Learning in Our Watershed™

FORT COLLINS (July 30, 2018) – Students really do learn on field trips, yet they are in danger of disappearing from American schools, particularly for disadvantaged students. Figures show that field trips have dropped nationwide an estimated 30 to 50% since 2002.With skyrocketing bus costs, school budgets decreasing, and the expectation that educators present as much standards-related content in the school day as possible, many schools are viewing field trips as an unattainable luxury.

However, thanks to a $4,000 grant from the Rotary Club of Fort Collins awarded to the Poudre Heritage Alliance (PHA), students in Larimer County will be able to learn outside the walls of the classroom.

Through its Learning in Our Watershed™ program, the Poudre Heritage Alliance provides funding for field trips to K-12 school teachers in Larimer and Weld County that bring students to the Cache la Poudre River National Heritage Area. The mission is simple – to help youth understand and value the Poudre River and their water heritage, ensuring a next generation of river stewards.

As part of this new grant from the Rotary Club, PHA will be able to provide more volunteer support from its Heritage Culturalists in teaching these program participants about the Heritage Area. Also, educational videos and other materials will be available to enhance the experience before the field trip even begins.

Studies have shown that field trips and hands-on learning make concepts more memorable, and enhance students’ critical thinking skills, historical empathy, tolerance and appreciation for museums and natural areas.

One teacher from Irish Elementary expressed these thoughts about their Learning in Our Watershed™ field trip:

“Students learned about the water cycle, water conservation, and river systems this year in 3rd grade. The field trip helped the students further understand the importance of the Poudre river in Fort Collins and all the ways we use it. They also learned how to keep rivers clean and how to conserve water on a daily basis. They also learned about the ecology of the Poudre river.

Thank you very much for the scholarship! If not for you our students would not be able to take advantage of this wonderful opportunity.”

Thanks to support from the Rotary Club of Fort Collins, the Poudre Heritage Alliance will be able to expand opportunities for youth to directly experience and come to appreciate the Cache la Poudre River National Heritage Area. To receive a scholarship award for 2018-2019, applicants need to apply online:



The Cache la Poudre River National Heritage Area (CALA) tells the story of the river where Western Water Law began and still informs the use of water throughout the arid West today.  CALA shares the long struggle to sustain a viable agricultural economy, and meet the growing needs of a diverse and expanding population, while conserving the Poudre River’s health.

CALA’s 501(c)3 nonprofit managing entity – the Poudre Heritage Alliance – PROMOTES a variety of historical and cultural opportunities; ENGAGES people in their river corridor; and INSPIRES learning, preservation, and stewardship. Find out more at:


The mission of the Rotary Club of Fort Collins is to provide direct service to others in our city, to promote high ethical standards throughout our community, and to advance world understanding, goodwill and peace through our fellowship of business, professional, and community leaders.

The vision of the Rotary Club of Fort Collins is to be known for our service to the members of this city and for our commitment to Service Above Self helping disenfranchised children and others throughout the local and global community. Find out more at:

Picture above: PHA Chairman Bob Overbeck and PHA Executive Director Kathleen Benedict receive $4,000 grant from Fort Collins Rotary Club at July 11 luncheon



Poudre Heritage Alliance

Jordan Williams


Colorado Heritage Journey – 2018

By News

July 23, 2018 – This summer, visitor and locals can once again visit all three National Heritage Areas by checking out the Colorado Heritage Journey landing page. Along the way, visitors will learn about the history and heritage that ties us all together from a new perspective: Jordan Williams, Assistant Program Manager for the Poudre Heritage Alliance, will be hiking the Colorado Trail from Denver to Durango from August to early September alongside his wife and their dog, Aska. During their trip, the threesome will be making stops in South Park and Sangre de Cristo National Heritage Areas and blogging about their experiences. Additionally, they will be positing about their adventures on Instagram @thehikingheeler and @poudreheritage.

In 2017, the Cache la Poudre River, South Park, and Sangre de Cristo National Heritage Areas created a first-of-its-kind marketing initiative that highlights the importance of heritage tourism—the next big evolution in the $19.7 billion Colorado tourism industry. By teaming up with the Colorado Tourism Office, this campaign by the three Colorado National Heritage Areas showcases the importance of partnerships in leveraging tourism dollars for the benefit of local economies.

A website landing page entitled “Colorado’s Heritage Journey” includes a map that connects out-of-state visitors and locals to all three areas while providing information on the unique recreational and educational opportunities available in each region. Additionally, a hard copy brochure are available at select state welcome centers and local visitor offices, thereby encouraging people to plan a driving tour of all three areas.

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. Each Colorado Heritage Area receives approximately $300,000 in federal funding and on average they are able to leverage these dollars at a 5 to 1 return on investment. For more information about the individual Heritage Areas, see below.

Cache la Poudre River National Heritage Area (CALA) begins in northern Colorado, where the river flows out of the Rocky Mountains, through the town of Fort Collins and extends east to its confluence with the South Platte River, just east of Greeley. The area commemorates the river’s significant contribution to the development of water law in the western United States, the evolution of the river’s complex water delivery systems and the cultural heritage of the region. From beer tasting at 25+ breweries and bike riding along 45 miles of the Poudre River, to fly fishing and enjoying concerts and western rodeos, there’s a lot to experience here. (

South Park National Heritage Area (SPNHA) is in the heart of Colorado. It is here where the past is always present, protecting and promoting its existing historic mining and ranching structures as well its natural resources. It’s less than two hours’ drive from Denver or Colorado Springs, but feels like a journey back in time – to the days of prospectors, trappers and even prehistoric man. In South Park, you can ride horseback, hike in an authentic wilderness area, or fish lakes and rivers all the while enjoying the scenic vistas that include Colorado’s snowcapped 14,000 foot peaks. (

Sangre de Cristo National Heritage Area (SdCNHA) is the gateway to southern Colorado and preserves and protects the unique cultural heritage here. This area is rich in history, religion, culture and bio-diversity protecting and promoting the villages and lifestyles of some of America’s earliest Spanish settlements and early railroad communities. It is among the most unique and well-preserved cultural landscapes in the nation, with stunning natural resources. From scenic drives along Los Caminos Antiguos Scenic Byway, fishing on the Conejos River, sledding down the Great Sand Dunes, or visiting the oldest Catholic parish in Colorado, there’s a lot to appreciate and enjoy here. (

*Photo courtesy of Kelsey Devereaux: Jordan Williams and Aska at Lory State Park

National Heritage Area Directors Meet in Boulder

By News

Across America there are places that are richly layered with stories of people, their traditions and arts, their histories and their breathtaking landscapes. Forty-eight of these areas have been recognized by Congress as places that have made significant contributions to the history of and the formation of the United States. These places have  have been designated as National Heritage Areas.

In 2009 Congress established the Sangre de Cristo National Heritage Area (SdCNHA) in the San Luis Valley for the purposes of providing an “integrated and cooperative approach for the protection, enhancement, and interpretation of the natural, cultural, historic, scenic and recreational resources of the area.” In the feasibility study that led to this national recognition it was stated that SdCNHA represents a “profound historical, religious, cultural, ethnic and biological diversity that historically served as a staging ground for a new nation that was being redefined. Hispano, Anglo and Native American Cultures interacted in this area, witnessing the convergence of the old with the new.”

Alex Hernandez, the National Heritage Area Regional Coordinator for the National Park Service (NPS), led a two-day training session in Boulder, Colorado in mid-June. “The National Park Service was pleased to host a regional National Heritage Areas workshop, where representatives from the Intermountain Region’s six National Heritage Areas could collaborate with one another and share ideas for engaging the public on meaningful heritage-oriented projects. The Intermountain Region’s heritage areas highlight the diverse and significant stories of our nation’s history and the West. Their community-driven efforts to tell these stories demonstrate the importance of partnerships among communities, heritage areas, and National Park units.”

Tori Martinez, Executive Director of Sangre de Cristo National Heritage Area, stated “We are proud to be a part of this national effort to preserve, protect, and promote our countries stories and natural resources. Though each National Heritage Area is unique in what we focus on, we all strive to share our piece of the countries history with locals and visitors. This common goal provides many opportunities for collaboration, which makes National Heritage Areas a good model of partnerships with government and the private sector, nonprofit and business, higher education and K-12.”

Sangre de Cristo National Heritage Area(CO), was one of six National Heritage Areas represented at the Boulder training. The others were South Park National Heritage Area(CO) and Cache la Poudre National Heritage Area(CO), Northern Rio Grande National Heritage Area(NM), Mormon Pioneer National Heritage Area(UT) and Yuma National Heritage Area(AZ). Some of the topics covered were collaboration efforts between National Parks and Heritage Areas and Heritage Areas with each other, legislative outreach, resource needs, reauthorization planning, sustainability, technical assistance opportunities and National Parks Service support.

Each Heritage Area was able to share about the projects going on in their region and highlight some of the work they have done to help preserve and protect their sacred places.

“It was amazing to hear stories about history and culture from the regional representatives. One of the most important lessons I took from the workshop was the realization we all share so much of the same story. The people and their heritage on the land we all love is the communal experience we all strive to preserve and protect. Together we can bring a tapestry of wonderful stories to the public square.” said James Nelson, Associate Director of Mormon Pioneer National Heritage Area.

Each heritage area was able to share what programs they have accomplished in the last year and the efforts they are making for their heritage area to have sustainable resources for the future. One effort that is universal across the board is the heritage areas partnerships with National Park Service.

Kathleen Benedict, Executive Director of Cache la Poudre River National Heritage Area stated, “Working collaboratively with our National Park Service representatives in the Intermountain Region helps National Heritage Areas like the Cache la Poudre River by integrating and promoting our initiatives on a larger scale. These cooperative efforts ultimately allow smaller organizations like the Poudre Heritage Alliance to have a bigger impact on a national-level, thereby assisting with the fulfillment of our organizational goals and mission.”

National Heritage Areas are not national park units. NPS does not assume ownership of land inside the boundary of each National Heritage Area nor does the NPS impose land use controls as a result of National Heritage Area designation. Rather, NPS partners with, provides technical assistance, and distributes matching federal funds from Congress to National Heritage Area coordinating entities. Some heritage areas like Sangre de Cristo have a National Park within their boundaries and thus create even closer partnerships.

Kathy Faz, Chief Interpreter for Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve also attended the training. She stated, “Great Sand Dunes is proud to be included within the boundaries of the Sangre de Cristo National Heritage Area, it allows the park to enhance our visitor’s experience within the surrounding communities. We will continue to support a variety of community-based activities that celebrate the rich culture and history of the southern San Luis Valley.”

One thing was evident, National Heritage Area staff and National Parks staff all care greatly about preserving our nation’s historic and geographic features and will continue to work in close partnership for generations to come, so that tourists and residents alike can continue to enjoy America’s past, present and future.

*Photo courtesy of South Park National Heritage Area

For more information, please contact:

Jordan Williams, Assistant Program Manager, Poudre Heritage Alliance, 970-295-2851