Your May News from Beaver Ponds
|Mud season has arrived with spring at Beaver Ponds ~ and Kahale is enjoying the warm sunny days between snow falls.
Are you experiencing warm spring days and cool nights in your neck of the woods?
As I sat down to write to you it began to dump again up here at 10,200 feet. This past month we saw between 12-18 inches of snowfall! It doesn't stick around for long, as the sun typically comes out a day or two after and creates what locals refer to as mud season. The good news is this translates into the local
South Platte watershed being at 116% normal snow pack and the Colorado statewide estimate is 107%.
As spring slowly returns to northern Park County, it is a welcome sight to both humans and animals alike. The red-tailed hawks and chickadees are back and the pine squirrels are trying to relocate their food caches. The pine squirrel is a common tree squirrel of sub-alpine forest. The marten (pictured here) is a weasel that lives in trees, and is a major predator of the pine squirrel. Both are found at Beaver Ponds.
You'll be happy to hear that despite these late snows it's a busy time at Beaver Ponds as the local Boys and Girls Club, Girl Scout troops, and other kids have come to learn about gardening, insects, and more. We also have end-of-year field trips scheduled by school groups and other visitors scheduled for the summer.
In addition to our upcoming Summer Open House on July 10th (save the date!), we will keep you posted as to upcoming events through our monthly newsletters.
Be sure to "like" us on Facebook to stay in the know about all things Beaver Ponds.
Please give us a call if you're going to be up near Beaver Ponds - we'd love for you to stop by!
In this issue you will enjoy an introduction to herbchronology, an update on our fiber program and yarn we have for sale, as well as a little farewell to our buddy Zeb -- the alpaca that recently passed away. Thank you for all your support of our programs and our furry friends.
It's a great time to visit, as Sacramento Creek has open water and the sounds of the creek are refreshing after a long winter of ice and near silence. Soon you will see the emergence of the spring wildflowers and the beauty they add to the landscape in the mountains. This will bode well for the pollinators who come through Beaver Ponds during the short summer months.
I hope these warmer days bring you outside for lots of activities and adventures.
"Humankind has not woven the web of life. We are but one thread within it. Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves. All things are bound together. All things connect." ~ Chief Seattle
Herbchronology - Big Data, Small Plant
Do you remember the
from last month's
when Beaver Ponds discovered a nearly 700 year-old tree on our property? This was the result of a dendrochronology study...next up is an herbchronology study.
We are very excited to share with you that Beaver Ponds recently received a significant grant from the South Park National Heritage Area (SPNHA) to measure the annual growth rings of alpine herbaceous plants! The technical term for this work is herbchronology - a term coined in the 90s for this type of work.
This may not seem exciting to you at first glimpse, but can you believe that like trees, perennial herbs have a growth zone that tells us the age of herbaceous plants like the penstemon pictured above -- who knew?
Poop and Wool
Are you curious how alpacas fit into Beaver Ponds sustainability picture?
The answer is two-fold: poop and wool.
Alpacas are unique because their manure isn't "hot" and therefore is able to be used to fertilize plants without having to wait for it to process for a couple years. While the alpacas are eating and digesting and lending a helping hand to the food and plants we are growing, they are also growing their fiber that we have been gathering and now have processed into yarn!
Green Tips from Beaver Pond to Your Home
You can expect to find monthly sustainability tips like this delivered to your inbox.
This month's tip on eggshell gardening comes from Beaver Ponds friend and guest writer Marjorie Gillmeister who left the limelight of New York City to farm organically in Texas on The Gillmeister Ranch established in 1972 by her 90 year old father-in-law with their sweet son Wolfgang (pictured below).
If you begin your garden from seeds this year, why don't you consider starting seeds in eggshells? Growing seedlings in eggshell pods is a natural, biodegradable, and environmentally earth-friendly way to recycle and can be planted directly into the soil after being cracked a little with care and supply nourishment to the plant and soil by slowly releasing calcium.
- Egg carton
- Seed Starter Planting Mix
- Small spoon
- Spray bottle or plant mister
- Awl, ice pick or wide sharp needle
When cracking the eggshells, gently crack the top part of the egg (narrower point end) with a sharp knife and gently pour the egg from the opening for use.
2. Save eggshells, gently rinse well inside and out with warm water. For extra sanitation, boil the shells for a few minutes to make sure all traces of egg residue are cleaned out. If the shells foam up a bit, you will know that you've brought the leftover residue to the surface. Read more...
If you have a tip you'd like to share with our Beaver Ponds family, please send a note to Kelly at email@example.com.
You're invited to join Beaver Ponds Sustainability Club
Will you please join me in becoming a member of the Beaver Ponds Sustainability Club by giving a monthly donation of $10 or more to support our programs?
By giving a monthly gift, you are educating visitors on how to better steward our earth. I don't know about you, but I find my news feed is often filled with sad stories of how we are destroying our precious home. You have a choice where to invest and we hope you will choose our small program that is committed to big ideas for helping individuals make better choices that minimize their impact on our earth.
Give today and you will help put some sunshine in our solar panels, wind in our turbines, and water through our microhydro turbine, as we grow into a cutting edge resource dedicated to helping people make better energy and sustainability choices.
You may not realize this but Beaver Ponds is turning four years old in October and has undergone much growth and transformation to bring us to where we are today. We are dreaming even bigger but need your help to get there.
Your gift will ensure we can conduct good science, continue our forest management work, educate students and adults alike how to be better stewards of the earth, and so much more.
You'll join me and a bunch of other committed investors in growing Beaver Ponds into an exceptional environmental education center!
Director of Development
Member of Beaver Ponds Sustainability Club
A Fond Farewell to Zeb
We're so sorry to share with you that Zeb, the elder of our alpaca herd, succumbed to kidney failure in April. Zeb had a definite personality by being both the gentlest and orneriest of our alpacas. You could always let visiting students and children scratch him under his chin but likewise you had to be weary when walking behind him because he liked to kick.
Zeb will be missed,
but suffering is no way to live.
Peace be with you Zeb.