Your special monthly delivery from high in the mountains of Colorado to your inbox.  Expect environmental education updates, sustainability tips, and inspiration for becoming an ever-better steward of the earth.
Your April News from Beaver Ponds
Dr. Richard Guyette and Beaver Ponds Executive Director Kevin taking a break during the dendrochronology outing.

EDAre you enjoying the first few weeks of spring as much as we are at Beaver Ponds Environmental Education Center?  With the passing of the equinox and the waning of the March Full Worm Moon there are some exciting changes in the mountain air here at BP!
 
We're implementing some fun and informative initiatives designed to bring our mission into your home on a regular basis.  Many of you have expressed your desire to know more about our namesake - beavers who live on and near the property.  Watch for the launch of a beaver blog in the next few months that will share with you the adventures of our resident wildlife, flora and fauna, and animals from our beavers' perspectives.  Also, be sure to "like" us on Facebook to receive household tips for living a more ecologically-sensitive and mindful life.
 
In this issue you can look forward to learning more about our trees (along with other scientists, I discovered a tree dating back 700 years at Beaver Ponds!),  sustainable agriculture, our fiber program, and the volunteers and interns who make our field classroom a reality.
 
In 2016 we are looking forward to hosting more programs and collaborations for you to enjoy -- including an opportunity to purchase art created by artists on-site in September.  Keep your eyes peeled for your May newsletter that will announce some open house opportunities for you to come and visit as well as a special overnight opportunity to camp out and watch the beavers in action this summer!  In the meantime, feel free to give me a call to schedule a visit for yourself or a community or school group at Beaver Ponds.

Finally, I would personally like to welcome Kelly Voss, our new Development Director, to the Beaver Ponds family.
 
 
Kevin 
Executive Director 

Pleased to meet you Beaver Ponds family   

DoD
Beaver Ponds has hired me to ensure that the mission you support and love -- "to give individuals of all ages the tools and knowledge to become better stewards of the earth" -- is able to continue for many years to come.  

Please take a moment to check out our new Donate Now page and join me in pledging a monthly gift to Beaver Ponds.  
 
As your new Director of Development, I've been hired to help garner support for implementing and sustaining the programs you love.   I hold my Master's degree in nonprofit management from Northeastern University and have dedicated the last decade of my life to fund raising as both a professional and volunteer for a variety of missions near and dear to my heart.   Read more...
     

Are the trees in
your backyard nearly 700 years old?  Ours are.  And some of our neighbor's are 2,000 years old...
 
TreesHave you ever wondered how old the trees are in your back yard? 
 
At Beaver Ponds, the cores recently taken from live lodge pole pine show that most of the trees started growing around 1880.  This date corresponds with the establishment of the Duquesne Smelter that was built in 1877 on what is now our property.  The smelter would have used wood as its main source of fuel and they probably cut most of the timber in close proximity. 
 
However! Cross-sections from several stumps at Beaver Ponds show much older dates when the trees started growing.  One bristlecone pine was cross-dated with samples previously collected on Windy Ridge north of Alma.  Using cross dating, the Missouri Tree Ring laboratory was able to determine this tree started growing in 1356!  Read more...  

Beaver Ponds hugelkultur mound.

Do you know what hugelkultur, micro fodder, and vermiculture have in common?
 
Sustainability
More than just a bunch of fun words to say, these are some of the ways that Beaver Ponds is engaging in sustainable high elevation agriculture. 
 
You can consider each of these initiatives as "demonstrations" that are meant to inspire folks like you to try some of these practices at home. Some may be more realistic for your lifestyle than others! 
 
Over the past few months, we have had fun learning together with our interns, students, and visitors about how we are efficiently utilizing our agricultural resources at Beaver Ponds.  This includes learning about high elevation gardening such as hugelkultur (a composting process employing raised planting beds constructed on top of decaying wood debris and other compost), micro fodder feed systems (a system for sprouting and growing barley for our livestock), vermiculture (process of using worms to decompose organic food waste), and mound composting. Read more...  
 
A Silver Laced Wyandotte.

News from the Hen House
 
 
HensCock-a-doodle-doo is not a sound you will be hearing from our hen house any time soon, as our new flock is "ladies only"!
 
Our new flock of chickens is established and the hens are great winter egg-layers.  We chose special heritage breeds, that could manage our altitude and climate better, such as the "chocolate egg layer" from France the Cuckoo Maran, and the green egg layer called the Americauna, along with the New Hampshire Reds, Silver Laced Wyandottes, Barred Rocks, and Silver Leghorns.  The Silver Leghorns are a very rare breed that were bred for their white egg color, although they produce fewer and smaller eggs compared to the other breeds. Read more... 
 
Watch for a hen naming contest on
our Facebook page later this month.


Locals you can call ahead to swing by and purchase a dozen eggs for $5 to help support Beaver Ponds' hen house.
 
Volunteer Elwood skirting fiber.

What to do with one hundred pounds of fiber...
 
FiberDo you ever check the labels on your clothing and discover that an item is made of alpaca or other natural fibers?
 
Beaver Ponds is working toward creating useful and artful objects with our fiber -- from the coats of our llama, alpacas, and goats. 

Over the past two years, we have collected close to 100 pounds of fiber from our alpacas - Boone, Zeb, Nash, Quantam, Radar, and Kaya, our Llama - Donzi, our angoras - Jellybean and Kalahari, and last but certainly not least our Cashmeres - Viola and Miranda.  Don't you agree that they have been very generous?  We will process about a three-quarters of the collected fiber and retain the rest as raw fiber to be used in future workshops.  Read more...
 
 
Volunteers Make Beaver Ponds Possible!
 
VolunteersBeaver Ponds depends on many volunteers to help care for our animals, land, and many sustainability projects.  If you're young or old or anywhere in between, we could use your help!  Please contact Kristin to learn more: kbarrett@beaverponds.org
   
Callie Edwards lives in Fairplay and goes to school at Colorado Mountain College.  She loves phtography and is a perfect pick to keep track of our "photo points." Photo points are photographs which provide a qualitative record for documenting and evaluating vegetation changes over time.  We have identified several photo points at Beaver Ponds to take periodic photos to record changes in vegetation over time.
Daniel Dunn, our spring semester intern, has lived in Breckenridge, CO for 16 years. While he skis 80 days and rides a mountain bike well over 100 days annually, Daniel still has time to learn about renewable energy, taking care of the planet, and ways to give back to his community.  As a student in the Sustainability Studies Program at Colorado Mountain College, Daniel has rekindled his desire for expanding his knowledge of local food production.  He is excited to learn all that he can from his mentors Kristin, Kevin, and Eric.

Marilisa Vigano is our newest volunteer. She grew up in the heart of Brianza, a little jewel in Northern Italy, where moraine hills and glacial mirrors of water are nestled between the majestic mountains of this wonderful land.  While in Italy, she worked as an environmental educator. Recently she moved to Fairplay, CO where she is helping Beaver Ponds create fun, educational programs for younger children. 

Ellwood Barrett, from Alma, is featured above for his work with the fiber from our alpacas, llama and goats. He has helped "skirt" many pounds of fiber (skirting removes unwanted fiber and contaminants) and is working on hand cleaning and carding fiber to be spun or turned into fleece.  He hopes his fleece will be used to create useful, artful objects such as hats and felt animals.
 
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