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Volunteer of the Month: Robert Ward

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Photo: Robert Ward leads a Peadling the Poudre bike tour, sharing his extensive water knowledge with guests.

In 2005, Robert Ward completed 14 years as Director of the Colorado Water Resources Research Institute, located on the Colorado State University campus (CSU).  In his research administration role, he served terms as President of the National Institutes for Water Resources and the Universities Council on Water Resources (UCOWR). His 35-year career on the CSU Engineering faculty involved teaching courses in systems analysis methods, water quality monitoring and management, and engineering design. His work on water quality management and monitoring sent him around the world, to places like New Zealand and The Netherlands. In January 2006, he also was awarded Honorary Life Membership in the Colorado Water Congress, recognizing his work in connecting university-based water research to the solution of practical day-to-day water management problems.

Besides consulting and professional society activities, retirement for Robert includes hiking, biking, reading, gardening, raising funds for the CSU Water Resources Archives, and serving as a current Heritage Culturalist Volunteer (and former Board Member) for the Poudre Heritage Alliance (PHA), a group that seeks to inform the general public about the development of western water law and technology, using the Poudre River as a classic example. 

Robert supports PHA programs and events by leading Pedaling the Poudre bike tours and providing well-researched interpretation for PHA’s Heritage Trails initiative. Robert’s expertise and involvement with the Cache la Poudre River National Heritage is invaluable and very much appreciated!

To learn how you can volunteer with the Poudre Heritage Alliance, please contact Jordan Williams at admin@poudreheritage.org or visit  our website: https://poudreheritage.org/heritage-culturalist-volunteers/

Field Trip Scholarships Still Available for K-12 Classes to Visit CALA

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The Cache la Poudre River National Heritage Area (CALA) and the nonprofit managing entity—the Poudre Heritage Alliance (PHA)—received a $9,000 Open Outdoors for Kids grant for the 2019-2020 school year from the National Park Foundation (NPF), the official nonprofit partner of the National Park Service. The NPF grant supports PHA’s Learning in Our Watershed™ program, which provides scholarships to schools in Larimer and Weld county to visit various locations throughout the CALA.

This grant from NPF is part of their Open OutDoors for Kids program, which creates pathways for kids to explore and connect with national park experiences. It is made possible through generous support of partners including Union Pacific Railroad and donors across the country.

Through this partnership with NPF, PHA will be able to provide scholarships that defray transportation and admission costs for approximately 25 schools and 3,000 children during the 2019-2020 school year. The field trip grants are still available on a first come, first served basis through PHA’s website: https://www.poudreheritage.org/field-trip-grants/.

Scholarship priority is given to 4th grade classrooms and Title I schools. Popular destinations within the Cache la Poudre River National Heritage Area include the Poudre Learning Center, Children’s Water Festivals in Greeley and Fort Collins, Centennial Village in Greeley, and the Fort Collins Museum of Discovery. The Poudre Heritage Alliance also offers guided wellness walks as a way to explore the heritage area through this program.

A 4th grade teacher from Bauder Elementary had this to say about the Learning in Our Watershed program: “Your donation to fund this trip made it possible for our kids to only pay half the admission. As a Title I school, getting these kids real life experience is so important. Because of you we made that possible. Thank you.”

These initiatives are coordinated alongside the Department of the Interior’s Every Kid Outdoors program. The ​Every Kid Outdoors​ annual pass provides fourth grade students, along with their families, friends and classmates, free access to National Park sites​, along with more than 2,000 other federal recreation areas for a year. The Every Kid Outdoors Program encourages fourth graders to explore, learn, and recreate in spectacular settings, including national parks, wildlife refuges, marine sanctuaries, and forests.

To obtain the free pass, fourth grade students visit the ​Every Kid Outdoors website​, participate in a short educational activity, and download a voucher. The voucher is valid for multiple use between September 1, 2019 and August 31, 2020 to correspond to the traditional school year. The voucher may be exchanged for a plastic keepsake pass at participating federal lands.

The Every Kid Outdoors Program was established by Congress in 2019. It replaces the Every Kid in a Park Program which was launched in 2015. It is an interagency collaboration between the National Park Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Bureau of Reclamation,  Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and U.S. Forest Service.

2019 Year-In-Review

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Thank you for a wonderful year! The Poudre Heritage Alliance was able to reach thousands of people within the Cache la Poudre River National Heritage Area, promoting heritage and culture, engaging citizens in the river corridor, and inspiring learning, preservation and stewardship. We look forward to continuing this work in 2020. We hope you will join us in these efforts! To make a year-end donation to the PHA please click here.

poudre heritage alliance 2019 year in review

 

OUR MISSION: The Poudre Heritage Alliance serves the Cache la Poudre River National Heritage Area, providing current and future generations the opportunity to understand and celebrate the area by careful planning and facilitation of educational programs and related amenities in collaboration with residents, private sector and government entities.

Support the Poudre Heritage Alliance on CO Gives Day – Dec. 10, 2019!

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The Poudre Heritage Alliance invites you to support our efforts to build a deeper understanding of the Poudre River’s national significance, including its role in influencing water development, water law, and water management, by donating to us on Colorado Gives Day – December 10, 2019.

Our goal is to raise $1,000 in this 24-hour period to support our mission and vision while growing projects like PHA’s Learning in Our Watershed field trip grant program and the Play It Safe on the Poudre river safety initiative.

Plus, thanks to the $1 Million Incentive Fund from Community First Foundation and FirstBank, your donation goes even further!

DONATE

Volunteer of the Month: Judy Firestien

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Much of our work would not be possible without volunteer power! This month we are honoring Judy Firestien, one of our Heritage Culturalist Volunteers, who currently volunteers her time at PHA Board Meetings taking minutes while also promoting the CALA to the community through the Von Trotha Firestien Farm at Bracewell.  Thanks for all of your time and energy, Judy.

Question: Tell us about your career path and your work on the Farm.

Answer: I worked for several small biotech companies in Fort Collins as Office Manager for about 12 years before moving back to the family farm northwest of Greeley in 2005.  I had begun to gather genealogy and historic information on our farm and the settlement of Bracewell where the farm is located.  In 2008, I compiled much of this information into a nomination for the farm and in 2009, our farm, Von Trotha-Firestien Farm at Bracewell, was listed on the National Register of Historic Places.  Since then, we have hosted educational groups and are continuing to work on “hands-on” activities to educate the public on the importance of agriculture and irrigated farmland in this area.  For several years we have had an “Open Farm” event with antique tractor displays, petting zoo, pony rides, irrigation demonstration, and educational displays to encourage people to come out and experience the farm.  We also regularly host gatherings such as graduation parties and birthday parties at the farm and have also hosted a couple of weddings.

Q: What do you like most about the Cache la Poudre River National Heritage Area?

A: I really enjoy the great history it holds with regard to agriculture and water law and the development of the Greeley-Fort Collins area.  It is also so special to me because a portion of our farm lies within the Heritage Area and I have many fond childhood memories of times along the river, mostly exploring with my dog, Duke.  We also had an ice skating pond on our property next to the river and spending time skating and having skating parties are some of my very favorite memories.

Q: Why did you become a volunteer with the Poudre Heritage Alliance?

A: I wanted to further solidify the knowledge I have gained over the past years with regard to history of the area, water history and water law, and historic preservation.  I hope to further use this knowledge on our farm to educate the public on history, water, and how awesome the PHA is and to inspire and encourage them to learn more!  (You can learn more about Judy’s farm and its history within the CALA at www.BracewellFarm.com.)

Q: When you aren’t supporting PHA as a volunteer or managing the Farm, what do you like to do for “fun”?

A: Sometimes it seems like my favorite hobby is mowing or doing “weed patrol”, as I call it, around the farmyard!  Not really a hobby, but seems to take up a lot of my time during the summer to try to keep the place looking nice.  I enjoy spending time with friends, hanging out on the “sky deck” at the farm, reading, watching movies, researching genealogy and history, and walking.  We built a structure at the farm awhile back that started as a picnic shelter, but we added a deck on top.  It’s fairly high and might be considered more of an “observation deck”, but we have dubbed it the “Sky Deck”!   It’s a great place to hang out with friends or relax and enjoy the sunset!

Interested in volunteering with the Poudre Heritage Alliance? Please contact Jordan Williams at programs@poudreheritage.org to learn how you can support the Cache la Poudre River National Heritage Area, or click here to sign up!

Celebrating Native American Heritage in the Cache la Poudre River National Heritage Area

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During the month of November, we join the nation in celebrating Native American Heritage Month, recognizing the significant contributions the first Americans made to the establishment and growth of the United States.

Crazy Bull and Chief Friday in Washington, D.C. in 1873. That year, a delegation of Northern Cheyenne and Arapaho from the Red Cloud Agency went to the capitol with their agent, Dr. John J. Saville, to discuss their hunting rights as well as their future home (Photo by Alexander Gardner, 1873)

Indigenous peoples have been living in and migrating through the unique eco-tone of the Cache la Poudre River National Heritage Area for more than 13,000 years. As Brenda Martin, Curator for the Fort Collins Museum of Discovery writes, “Tribal groups as we know them today are not recognized as being present until 1,000 A.D., if not longer, beginning with the Numic (Uto-Aztecan) speakers, commonly known as the Ute. Oral tradition and the ethno-historic record show evidence of other tribal groups like the Apache, Comanche, Arapaho, Cheyenne, Kiowa, Lakota, Shoshone, and Pawnee in Colorado as early as the mid-17th century.”

In the early 1800s, after the Louisiana Purchase, Euroamericans begin exploring the Plains. In the 1850s, the federal policy of westward expansion brought many more people to the area of the country we now call Northern Colorado. This policy promoted agriculture, mining, and trade. Thus began a painful history for the Native American tribes that have called this area home for so many hundreds of years.

Martin writes, “In 1868, the last of the Native Americans, Friday and his band of Arapahos, were removed to Wyoming, with the Federal government mandating by 1878 the removal of all Native people to designated reservations. Except for the Southern Ute Indian Tribe and the Ute Mountain Ute Tribe, all others were located outside of Colorado. Combined with other assimilation policies, conversion to Christianity, restriction to boarding schools, and the outlawing of most Native American ceremonies, there was a tremendous loss of cultural knowledge and traditions.”

 

In their own words, Northern Arapaho elders shared the importance of the Poudre River to their tribe’s history and culture on this video series produced by the Poudre Heritage Alliance:

This month, we look forward to sharing some of the many stories of Native American peoples and celebrating their unique cultures and traditions. We hope you will join us in learning more about the indigenous tribes of the Cache la Poudre River National Heritage Area and sharing in the celebration of our Nation’s First Peoples.

 

Sources:

Burris, Lucy. (2003). People of the Poudre; An Ethnohistory of the Cache la Poudre River National Heritage Area
AD 1500-1880. Fort Collins, CO: Cache la Poudre River National Heritage Are, Friends of the
Poudre, and the Dept. of the Interior National Park Service.

Martin, Brenda. (May 2009). Native American Timeline for Larimer County, CO [PDF file]. Retrieved from https://poudreheritage.org/wp-content/uploads/native_american_timeline_for_larimer_county.pdf

 

Tom Trout

Volunteer of the Month: Tom Trout

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Much of our work would not be possible without volunteer power! This month we are honoring Tom Trout, one of our Heritage Culturalist Volunteers, who brings a passion for water and history to his volunteer experiences here at the Poudre Heritage Alliance. Thanks for all of your time and energy, Tom.

Tom grew up on a small farm in Ohio.  As an agricultural exchange student to Peru, he experienced irrigated agriculture in an arid climate, and, on his return, headed West to graduate school in Agricultural Engineering at CSU.  After 2 years improving irrigation systems in Pakistan, he joined the USDA Agricultural Research Service (ARS) as an irrigation scientist.  He retired in 2015 after 32 years conducting research in irrigation water management in Idaho, California, and Colorado.  He continues volunteering at ARS and as an adjunct faculty member in Civil Engineering at CSU, and takes an occasional consulting trip overseas (going to Uruguay in November). As a Heritage Culturalist for the Poudre Heritage Alliance, Tom combines his favorite subjects:  Water and History.  Tom and his wife, Vickie, remain involved in activities at CSU through alumni functions, sports and hosting international students.

Interested in volunteering with the Poudre Heritage Alliance? Please contact Jordan Williams at programs@poudreheritage.org to learn how you can support the Cache la Poudre River National Heritage Area, or click here to sign up!

Pedaling the Poudre Bike Tours Help Educate Citizens, Youth, and Professionals About Past and Present Water Issues Along the Cache la Poudre River

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A Peadling the Poudre participant enjoys the views of the Poudre River from the bridge at Lions Open Space.

 

FORT COLLINS, Colo. – The Poudre Heritage Alliance (PHA), managing nonprofit of the Cache la Poudre River National Heritage Area (CALA), hosted two Pedaling the Poudre™ – Urban Water Cycle Tours on September 20 and 21 with support from Water Education Colorado and several planning partners including Coalition for the Poudre River Watershed, Bike Fort Collins, and City of Fort Collins Utilities.

The tours started in Bellvue by the Watson Lake Fish Hatchery and finished at Odell Brewing, with most of the ride taking place along the scenic Poudre Trail. Several stops at locations like Lions Park Open Space and the new Poudre River Whitewater park allowed each group of 25+ people to hear from water experts and natural resource professionals.

State Representative Jeni Arndt, who participated in the September 20th tour, commented, “I’m so appreciative of the Poudre Heritage Alliance for a wonderful, educational tour of the Poudre River—all on bicycles!  As we move into our water-short future, people will need an in-depth understanding of one of our most precious resources.”

This program received financial support from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment through their nonpoint source mini-grant initiative. Other financial partners included Morning Fresh Dairy,  which provided snacks for the tours, and the Colorado Water Center. Registration was free for all participants because of generous support from these organizations.

Topics discussed along the way included agriculture in Northern Colorado past and present; the development of water law and water management systems; river and natural area restoration; water quality and utility customer best practices; hands-on macro and micro invertebrate displays; and water conservation through craft brewing process innovation. “The tour was great. I really enjoyed all the speakers who were arranged – it made for an informative and dynamic event!” said David Fetter, Natural Resources Project Manager from SWCA Environmental Consultants.

Speakers from Northern Water, Poudre Valley Community Farms, Larimer County Natural Resources, Colorado State University, Odell Brewing, and the City of Fort Collins Park Planning, Natural Areas, and Utilities helped ensure that the tour presented a wide variety of perspectives.

The Poudre Heritage Alliance, in conjunction with its Heritage Culturalist volunteers, leads several bike tours each summer, spring, and fall. From March – October 2019, PHA hosted 8 tours at different locations along the Poudre Trail, including two educational rides through the Town of Windsor’s Park, Recreation, Culture department. Over 100 people participated this year, which included groups rides affiliated with the American Society of Civil Engineers and Colorado State University. To stay-up-to-date when the next tour registration opens, interested individuals can visit PHA’s website or email programs@poudreheritage.org.

pedaling the poudre_program impacts 2019

Poudre Heritage Alliance Honors Senator Wayne Allard and Dr. Richard Bond at 2nd Annual Emeritus Dinner

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Senator Cory Gardner, Emeritus honorees Senator Wayne Allard and Dr. Richard Bond, and 2018 PHA Emeritus Richard C. Maxfield (Photo credit: Sara Capen)

 

The Poudre Heritage Alliance (PHA), managing nonprofit of the Cache la Poudre River National Heritage Area (CALA), honored Senator Wayne Allard and Dr. Richard Bond at the 2nd Annual Emeritus Dinner this past Saturday, September 7th, for their outstanding service to the PHA and the National Heritage Area.

PHA Emeritus are selected from those individuals who have served the Poudre Heritage Alliance and/or the Cache la Poudre River National Heritage Area with distinction and excellence and considered deserving of this role for outstanding service. Board members emeritus may have been on the PHA Board of Directors or engaged in major volunteer or advocacy activities in his or her service to the Cache la Poudre River National Heritage Area.

Dr. Richard Bond was a former Board Member of the Poudre Heritage Alliance and was integral in the organization and creation of the Cache la Poudre River National Heritage Area, the first Heritage Area to be designated west of the Mississippi. Dr. Bond was introduced by 2018 PHA Emeritus honoree Richard Maxfield, also a former board member of the PHA.

With his sponsorship of the Cache la Poudre River Corridor Act in 1996, the precursor to the legislation that created the Cache la Poudre River National Heritage Area, Senator Allard was instrumental in the creation of the CALA. He was introduced by his former legislative aide, Senator Cory Gardner. Speaking about the CALA, Senator Gardner said, “We can protect our truly special places by working together with communities of different needs and different interests to bring them together, and with community input we can find a way to protect and preserve the most precious places among us.”

During his acceptance speech, Senator Allard said, “The Poudre River has a reputation. It appeals to all sorts of interests, recreational interests, hunters and fisherman, it appeals to the economies of Greeley and Fort Collins because the water there has contributed to their urban growth. And, also, because it has environmental concerns. And what they [PHA] are trying to do is to bring together a balanced effort and that’s one of the main reasons that I went on ahead and got involved with that particular piece of legislation.”

The event program for the Emeritus Dinner consisted of introductions by colleagues and friends of the PHA, with special awards being given to each of the honorees. The presentations and speeches were recorded for historical archiving purposes.

Several Larimer and Weld County business leaders and commissioners, Greeley, Fort Collins, Windsor and Timnath municipal leaders, and Colorado State University and University of Northern Colorado faculty and Board of Regents attended the dinner. Other leaders in attendance included Maria Secrest, Regional Director for Senator Cory Gardner, Sara Capen, Alliance of National Heritage Areas Chair, and the National Park Service’s Intermountain Regional Director of National Heritage Areas, Alexandra Hernandez. The emcee for the evening was Town of Windsor Open Space & Trail Manager and current PHA Board Chairman, Wade Willis. For the full list of PHA’s current Board of Directors please visit www.poudreheritage.org/board

For pictures and video from the event or for more information about PHA and CALA, please contact Megan Maiolo-Heath at the Poudre Heritage Alliance Office: 970-295-4851.

 

Ross Proving Up House

Poudre Heritage Alliance Receives “Friends of Preservation” Award

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The Ross Proving-Up House at it’s new location at The Farm at Lee Martinez Park in Fort Collins.

 

The Poudre Heritage Alliance was honored on Tuesday evening with a “Friends of Preservation Award” from the City of Fort Collins for “Outstanding Preservation of Historic Resources” for our work on the preservation of the Ross Proving-Up House, a project to stabilize, repair, paint and move the historic structure to The Farm at Lee Martinez Park (600 N. Sherwood) in Fort Collins. Other partners on the project included the City of Fort Collins Recreation Department, City of Fort Collins Parks Department, Ethan Cozzens, and Empire Carpentry.

James Ross just before leaving Scotland. (Image from the Fort Collins Archive #S01532.)

The house, constructed by Scotsman James Ross in 1891, was built to meet the size qualifications under the 1862 Homestead Act of 10 feet by 12 feet. The 1862 Homestead Act encouraged settlers to claim 160 acres of land owned by the U.S. government. The only stipulation was that the settlers live on and improve the land. After a minimum of five years, they could pay a small fee, apply for a patent and receive title to the land. This is how much of the vast United States prairie was settled.

Meg Dunn, a Historian at Northern Colorado History, writes, “Because of the tremendous amount of work that was necessary to put the land under cultivation, families often built a small, simple structure to live in until a point when they could spend more time and resources on building a larger house. This small building (Today we’d likely call it a shack.) was referred to as the “proving up” house because it was a step in proving up for the land.”

To learn more about this historic building please visit this great blog post from NOCO History: https://www.northerncoloradohistory.com/james-ross-proving-up-house/