G.R.I.T. (Gardens, Relationships, Impact, Teamwork) Teen Garden Program at Metzger Farm

Are you a teenager who loves to garden and get your hands dirty? The G.R.I.T. Teen Gardening Program (ages 13-18) is a pilot teen gardening program for Broomfield and Westminster teens that will take place at the Metzger Farm Victory Garden located at 12080 Lowell Blvd., Westminster. It will consist of planning, growing, harvesting, preparing food, and donating some of the harvest. Additionally, participants will be in charge of a pollinator garden. Finally, there will be nature-centered lessons throughout the growing season. Interested participants are expected to attend weekly garden workdays, which will take place on Sunday afternoons starting in May from 2-4 p.m. Apply For The G.R.I.T. Teen Gardening Program by April 30. View the G.R.I.T. Teen Gardening Position Description. Registering for this event does not guarantee your spot. Applicants will be notified of their acceptance no later than May 3. Space is limited to 20 participants.

BIRD CITY BROOMFIELD

Bird City!

The City and County of Broomfield is now officially designated as a Bird City, the third city in the state to do so. Other Colorado Bird Cities include Lafayette and Fort Collins. 

The application to become a Bird City is rigorous and includes action items such as habitat improvements, hosting a world migratory day event, community education and engagement, addressing current threats to birds, and making steps toward sustainability, just to list a few. This is where community members can step in to support our new Bird City status!

Bird City Website

What are birds? 

Birds are Avian species and they are descendants of dinosaurs who sing beautiful songs and dress in gorgeous feathers, no kidding. Luckily, for us, they are tiny dinosaurs. There are many groups of birds carrying out important functions in their ecosystems. 

Birds can be carnivores, omnivores, insectivores, and nectarivores. Physical traits of each group support the birds’ function. Carnivorous raptors have sharp talons and sharp beaks to capture prey, and tear and eat meat. Omnivorous birds host bulky, shell crushing beaks, feeding on insects, seeds, and berries. Insectivorous birds host petite beaks built to catch and eat tiny insects. Nectarivores, such as hummingbirds (truly omnivores that feed on nectar instead of seeds and fruits), feed on nectar in flowers, and in doing so pollinate the flowers they visit, they also feed on insects, and their beaks reflect those functions.

Feathers keep birds warm and dry, and their structures mirror the function of the bird they cover. Birds of prey have feathers that keep quiet as the bird flies for successful hunts. On the other hand, omnivore, insectivore, and nectarivore bird feathers are audible as the birds fly. The colors of feathers can blend into surroundings assisting with camouflage, and on the other can can also be bright and showy for attracting a mate. The wide spectrum of feather color and pattern combinations across all bird species is astonishing. 

Some birds make long journeys, migrating to warmer climates in the winter, seeking food sources, or toward annual mating grounds in the spring. Other birds stay in the same place year round making use of existing resources. 

Birds have their own songs used to communicate with each other as well as other animals, including us. We love bird songs so much that we have music playlists that include bird song recordings for relaxation and sleep. 

The world of birds is fascinating, captivating, and easily becomes a rabbit hole for many people. Birds are very capable of survival, but not without our help, as there are many challenges birds are facing at present, with habitat loss being the most important. 

Become a bird expert! 

Study with The Cornell Lab of Ornithology

Join the Broomfield Bird Club

How can you help? 

With habitat loss being the most important challenge birds are facing today, we can support them by putting habitat back where it’s been lost, and restoring or uplifting existing habitats in our community. 

1. Providing bird feeders and bird baths offers important resources for birds, and can become a project for you. Project Feeder Watch through The Cornell Universisy’s Lab of Ornithology runs an annual citizen science project tracking birds at feeders at feeders across North America. Participating in this project helps scientists and builds your bird literacy. 

2. Planting a native garden that includes native trees, shrubs, flowering plants, and native grasses provides a complete portfolio of support for all birds in our community. If it isn’t feasible to achieve all levels of support, any plot of native plants you can offer will provide important resources for birds. See below for lists of native plants and places to find native plants.

3. Supporting our local open spaces by participating in the Broomfield Open Space Action Network (BOSAN) events will also support our Avian neighbors. Bio blitzes, invasive weed removal, and plantings all serve to support the well-being of our local bird populations. Not everyone has a yard to plant native gardens in so this is a nice alternative activity to become a key feather supporting community member. BOSAN events will be posted on the Broomfield Open Space Foundation website in the coming weeks, keep your eyes peeled!

4. Encouraging others to join in the bird loving actions! We can be powerful when we share our ideas with others and sometimes that’s all someone needs to take action. Spreading the word about ways to support birds is a very valuable action to take. 

Birds bring joy and excitement to our open spaces and yards. We love to see large raptors perched in surprising places along our daily walks, we strive to invite songbirds and hummingbirds into our yards by placing feeders, bird baths, and planting bird friendly native gardens. Spreading the love for birds in Broomfield will make this the most tweet worthy Bird City yet!

We are part of nature and any contributions aimed at elevating our local ecosystems is felt by our feathery friends.

More ways to help birds

Bird Conservancy of the Rockies

The Cornell Lab of Ornithology

Plant lists and programs for native gardening

Audubon Rockies Habitat Hero Program

Colorado Native Plant Society

Get native plants

Harlequin’s Gardens

Echter’s

Save the Date: Spring Speaker Series 2024

Show your support for Broomfield Open Space and learn more about trends, local wildlife, and opportunities to increase your enjoyment of open space. This event is sponsored by the Broomfield Open Space Foundation and the City and County of Broomfield Open Space and Trails Department.

HELD VIRTUALLY at 7 PM. Connection info at Broomfield.org/SpeakerSeries

FEBRUARY 7
“CONSERVATION IN ACTION: DENVER ZOO’S COLLABORATIVE WORK TO SUPPORT BISON AND GRASSLANDS IN COLORADO”
WITH KATE WILKINS

This talk will delve into Denver Zoo’s collaborative work with Denver Mountain Parks to restore the grassland landscape at Daniels Park (Douglas County). More specifically, the presentation will address the importance of conserving Colorado’s grasslands, Denver Zoo’s conservation actions at Daniels Park, and the power of community engagement in achieving conservation goals.

APRIL 10
“AMERICAN KESTREL NEST BOX PROJECT: CONSERVATION AND COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT”
WITH JENNIFER REDMOND

American kestrels are one of the smallest, but most common, raptors that inhabit Broomfield, and most of North America. Colorful and charismatic, they are about the size of an American robin. With their populations declining since the 1960s, we are focused on learning more about these beautiful raptors and informing conservation efforts. This talk will discuss nest box projects and how they can provide additional kestrel nesting sites, as well as opportunities for research, community engagement, and education.

Broomfield Open Space Action Network (BOSAN)

Connecting People Back to Nature and Nurturing the Health of Our Open Spaces

What is BOSAN?

Broomfield Open Space Action Network (BOSAN) was born out of conversations between Jessica Goldstrohm (a Broomfield resident and board member of Broomfield Open Space Foundation) and Mike Artmann (Broomfield resident of 20 years) over coffee about milkweed patches Mike had mapped throughout Broomfield’s open spaces and what the next steps should be. Using the mapped milkweed patches as a starting point, habitat enrichment for pollinators seemed like a great next step, which would also include events to invite community members into the open spaces and become key players in the health of those spaces. 

From there, Jessica, Mike, the City and County of Broomfield Open Space and Trails Department, Broomfield Open Space Foundation, and Urban Prairies Project of the Butterfly Pavilion formed the Broomfield Open Space Action Network and collaborated to create a series of events that took place in the summer and fall of 2023. 

The purpose of the series was to create opportunities for community members to engage with the health of the open space in positive ways. The series included bio blitzes, invasive weed removal, native seed harvesting, and native seed planting. Ages of participants ranged from toddlers to teens to middle aged to retirees all joining forces to enrich and improve the Broomfield Commons Open Space. 

There will be another round of these series in 2024 and anyone is welcome to join in the fun! Look for the announcements here and in our newsletter.

For more information about this exciting new program, please click here.

Thank you to all who made this year’s events possible! This includes all community members who showed up to any and all of these events. 

“Nature in a Digital World: Why Getting Outside in Nature Matters” with Louise Chawla. November 15,Wednesday, 7:00 p.m. (Virtual)

Declining mental health in children and adolescents coincides with two massive shifts in the culture of contemporary childhood: the rise of time on digital screens and the fall of free-ranging exploration and free play outside. This talk begins by sharing research that establishes these connections, and then shares examples of what can be done, as parents, grandparents, park and open space systems, and communities, to bring nature back into children’s lives in ways that support mental health and wellbeing. Examples include “green hours” outdoors, “nature bathing” with teens, nature breaks on schoolyards, and children’s participation in ecological restoration. Added benefits: time in nature is good for all ages! 

Louise Chawla is Professor Emeritus in the Environmental Design Program at the University of Colorado Boulder, and an active member of the university’s Community Engagement, Design and Research Center. She serves on the Scientific Advisory Council of the Children and Nature Network, and the Steering Committee of Growing Up Boulder, a program that involves children and teens in city planning and design. Her research and publications focus on children and nature, children in cities, and the development of committed action for the environment.

Please click here for more information on our current Speakers and how to c

Zoom Link:

 2023 Fall Speaker Series

Please click the link below to join the webinar:

https://broomfield.zoom.us/j/82125155838?pwd=UFB4SGpDK1lTSWJMOWYyWnA4SmUvQT09

Or Telephone:

    Dial(for higher quality, dial a number based on your current location):

    877 853 5247 US Toll Free

    888 788 0099 US Toll Free 

Webinar ID: 821 2515 5838

Passcode: 163588

LET’S HEAD TO THE TOP OF THE HILL AND HARVEST SEEDS!

Hilltop Open Space is host to many native flowering plants, and we’d like to spread the wealth to Broomfield Commons Open Space, but we must first harvest seeds. 

On October 8th from  9 -12 pm we will meet at Hilltop Trailhead to harvest seeds from native plants in Hilltop Open Space. You do not need to be an expert on native plants nor an expert seed harvester, there will be instructions and experts there to guide you. 

We will be planting these seeds in the Broomfield Commons Open Space on October 21st! 

This event is free and for all ages. 

PLEASE  Register at the City and County of Broomfield’s Volunteer Hub

Bring water, sunscreen, sunglasses, hat.  

Wear pants, long-sleeved shirt, and sturdy shoes. 

EXPLORE AND DISCOVER BROOMFIELD COMMONS WITH US ON A FALL BIO BLITZ ADVENTURE ON SEPTEMBER 10!

Broomfield Commons Open Space is home to a plethora of plants and animals native to Colorado.

On September 10th  from 8 am to 12 pm, you are invited to join the City and County of Broomfield, Broomfield Open Space Foundation, and Butterfly Pavilion’s Urban Prairie Project Restoration Master Volunteers to  investigate all the living things found in the Broomfield Commons Open Space in the fall.

We will be conducting a bio blitz (cataloging all life) using the iNaturalist app (a free app used to identify plants and animals) and some nature guides to identify as many plants and animals as we can find. Stay as long as you like, any amount of time you can contribute is helpful! All skill levels and ages are welcome and children under 13 are welcome with an adult.

This event is free. PLEASE  Register at the City and County of Broomfield’s Volunteer Hub

Bring water, sunscreen, sunglasses, hats, closed-toe shoes, and a curious and observant mind. If you plan to bring your phone to use iNaturalist, please download the app and set up your account before the event.

We will meet at 8 am at the Commons Trailhead parking lot off of Lowell at 12955 Lowell Blvd at the intersection of Westlake Drive and Lowell Blvd. 

If you arrive later than 8 am, you can text Jessica Goldstrohm at

970-690-4408 and she’ll direct you where to go.

Open Space Speaker Series: “Yo Cuento: Cultural Wayfinding” with José González, September 13, 7:00 pm

The Spanish phrase “Yo cuento” has multiple meanings, including “I count”, “I matter”, and “I tell a story.” Join José González, Founder at Latino Outdoors and Co-Founder at the Outdoorist Oath, as he shares how his cultural wayfinding interconnected with the language of ecology in service of outdoor equity. Latino Outdoors is a Latine-led organization that supports a national community of leaders in outdoor recreation, conservation and environmental education through providing leadership, mentorship, and professional development opportunities while serving as a platform for amplifying often overlooked cultural connections and narratives.

This is a virtual event, please click here for more information.

José González