In This Edition - Quicklinks
Greetings from Beaver Ponds!
February at Beaver Ponds:

Moose at Beaver Ponds
The snow is flying, the sunsets are beautiful and the wildlife is out and about. The moose are also enjoying the winter weather at Beaver ponds.  

We are exited - we have a new site on Youtube! We launched last month. Click here or search YouTube for  Beaver Ponds EEC.

Currently you can see a new welcome video, a view of a visit by Mosquito Range Heritage Initiative youth, and take an aerial drone tour of Beaver Ponds.  Keep checking back for new offerings, including teaching videos.

We are also excited that Amity Vargas has joined the Beaver Ponds team as our Development Coordinator.  Please read the article below for more information about Amity and her hopes for Beaver Ponds!

We have expanded our winter programming and despite the lack of deep snow, we have been able to do some great winter workshops and classes with the Boys and Girls Club and our local elementary school.  Topics have included animal track identification, types of snow, and winter adaptation.  The school visits have been supported by the Colorado Parks and Wildlife "SOLE" program (part of the Greater Outdoor Colorado funding). We are also grateful for last year's grant from the Summit Foundation which allowed us to purchase the snowshoes, poles and equipment to make much of this possible.

Come and visit us this winter!

Executive Director     

PS - Check the Beaver Ponds Facebook page and website.
kidscornerKids Corner -
This month's selections are a series of books for the whole family. Each book is packed with indoor and outdoor games and activities. 

Family Fun:

Rainy Day Kids Adventure Book: Outdoor Games and Activities for the Rain, Snow and Wind

Get kids outdoors-whatever the weather-with this fun-filled book of activities.
As the temperature drops, how can you tempt kids away from their computers? Moms, teachers, and outdoor enthusiasts Steph and Katie have some new and novel ideas for getting them out and about! This great little tome is packed with imaginative games, activities, and nature crafts perfect for rainy, snowy, and windy days. Play splash catch or raindrop racing. Or make a leafy kiteoplane, windmill, or nature parachute to fly with the wind. You'll also find smart advice for staying dry and warm, and on things to collect and bring inside for creative stay-at-home projects.

Great Big Book of Children's Games: Over 450 Indoor & Outdoor Games for Kids, Ages 3-14

Your kids are buzzing bundles of energy, ever eager for new experiences and new challenges. And one of your toughest jobs as a parent is finding ways to channel kids' energies that promote healthy development while keeping them entertained. This book includes:
  • 450 indoor and outdoor games for pre-school to middle-school age kids arranged by age group
  • Games for every occasion, setting and number of players
  • Solo games, team games, party games, and family games, many including innovative twists on old favorites
  • Colorful text, 375 illustrations, and amusing game trivia that add to the fun and make the book easy to use 

The Kids' Outdoor Adventure Book
Nature is a destination, but you don't have to travel anywhere to find it. Just open the door and step outside. A fun, hands on approach to getting involved in nature, The Kids' Outdoor Adventure Book is a year-round how-to activity guidebook for getting kids outdoors and exploring nature, be it catching fireflies in the cool summer evenings; making birdfeeders in the fall from peanut butter, pine cones, and seed; building a snowman in 3 feet of fresh winter snow; or playing duck, duck, goose with friends in a meadow on a warm spring day. The Kids' Outdoor Adventure Book includes 448 things to do in nature for kids of all ages--more than one activity for every single day of the year. Each of the year's four seasons includes fifty checklist items, fifty challenge items, three each of projects, destinations, garden recipes, and outdoor games. Throughout the book, you'll also find fascinating facts, useful tips and tricks, and plenty of additional resources to turn to. Complete with whimsical and vibrant illustrations.

The Nature Connection: An Outdoor Workbook for Kids, Families, and Classrooms

Clare Walker Leslie shows kids how to experience nature with all five senses, whether they live in the countryside, a major city, or somewhere in between. Guiding children through inspiring activities like sketching wildlife, observing constellations, collecting leaves, keeping a weather journal, and watching bird migrations, The Nature Connection encourages kids to engage with the world outside and promotes a lifelong love of nature.

AmityWelcome our new 
Development Coordinator - 
Amity Vargas

Amity Vargas recently joined the Beaver Ponds Environmental Education Center team as our new Development Coordinator. Amity has a diverse background with over 15 years' experience that includes a background in business development, organizational management, and the entire spectrum of non-profit operations. Some of her previous positions have included working as the Executive Director and Director of Operations for the Mountain Post Historical Association and the Assistant Director at the Nan Tolbert Nurturing Center.
Her professional achievements include being selected as one of Colorado Springs Business Journal's '40 Under 40 Rising Stars'. This is the Colorado Springs area's best and brightest young professionals based on an individual's professional accomplishment and community involvement. Amity spent several years serving on AUSA's National Young Professionals panel and has also been featured as a Colorado Springs 'Mover and Shaker' within the Gazette publication.
She has dedicated herself to giving back to the community and spends an extensive amount of time volunteering for organizations like Blue Star Recyclers that employ ethical recycling practices while creating employment opportunities for adults with disabilities. She is also a community advocate for sustainable community gardens and curbside compost programs. Amity has served on the Board of Directors for Women in Defense (WID) Rocky Mountain Chapter, The Mural Project of Colorado Springs, and Women Mentoring Women. She has previously served as a Chairperson for planning events like the annual Pow Wow event for One Nation Walking Together that hosts over 5,000 attendees and the USO's annual gala.
Amity is the proud mother of four children, grandma to one, and wife to her husband Jorge Vargas. She enjoys painting, hiking, reading, and spending time with her family.

Canadian Lynx:  Eric
Regeneration and  Nature

by Eric Chatt., D.O.

Mother Nature contains phenomenal regenerative capacity when given a fighting chance. Sustainability is a common phrase in today's environmental lexicon. Sometimes this term "sustainable" clouds the notion of how urgently we should counteract and repair current and prior environmental damage. Philosophically we really should be talking about regeneration. In this article we will discuss a recent move by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife to delist one of Colorado's largest and most threatened native cats from the protected status it currently enjoys. In January of 2018, U.S. Fish and Wildlife (FWS)
officials suggested that the Canadian lynx (lynx Canadensis) no longer needs special federal protection as a threatened species. In the year 2000 this cat was listed as threatened by the Endangered Species Act (ESA). Last year Washington state wildlife
officials changed the status in that state from threatened to endangered, meaning the concern level remains high despite the current conservation efforts. Jeff Lewis a biologist with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, was quoted in the Methow Valley News Jan. 2018 as saying this about the new assessment, "It's a bit unexpected, because of how we see the population. We're seeing the need for aggressive recovery action. We're not seeing that they have recovered."
The reintroduction of a few hundred of the lynx into the San Juan Mountains occurred in the late 1990s until about 2010, and populations are found as far North as Summit County. Vail resorts and developers in Breckenridge have had to navigate the regulatory challenges associated with ski resort and development plans near lynx habitat. Populations of lynx are difficult to assess. The lynx thrives in boreal forests, feasting on snowshoe hares primarily. They are closely related to the bobcat and visually differ in less notable spot patterns on the pelt and have a downward sloping appearance due to relatively shorter front legs.
This winter is a good example of how snowpack can vary from year to year. Weather extremes are more and more likely as climate change persists, and these extremes contribute to fire danger. Since the lynx depends on deep snowy forests, the impact of climate change coupled with more intense and frequent wildfires is a real threat to the species, minimizing their habitat over time by decreasing forest cover and snowpack. Discrepancies between climate models in research influenced the differing opinions on conservation methods. In an assessment published in 2016, the predictions were for a timeline going out to the year 2100. "The earlier finding was that lynx remain in danger and are likely to be exterminated by the end of the century. Since that's the best science, then we need to follow that," says Matthew Bishop with the Western Environmental Law Center (quoted from the Associated Press 1/11/18).
This new "Species Status Assessment" looking at snowshoe hare populations, climate change, and habitat had a timeline going out to the year 2050 and determined climate change was important in considering lynx conservation policy. The language indicated that in the foreseeable future (after reducing the scope by many decades in this study), lynx are not at risk of extinction from climate change. Loss of habitat is the concern for  these creatures. The question is not whether climate change is a factor, rather it is how much and how quickly.
How can we act as society members to demonstrate we care about future generations?
Protecting our water, protecting the biodiversity that has evolved, improving the soil and crop biodiversity in big agriculture business, composting, improving transportation systems to move away from fossil fuels, and producing our energy in a regenerative
way is how we give mother nature a nudge toward healing. Citizen science and citizen input is very important for the future of our lands.  If we care about the future it is our duty to educate ourselves on important topics and participate in local discussions and efforts to dissuade irresponsible and short-sighted actions. In short, do what we can as individuals. Preserving and improving the biodiversity, our water quality, food quality, soil quality, and proper forest management is the type of dynastic wealth we should be focusing on. Biodiversity is part of the health of our planet and our own bodies, we can do more than we are currently to help. As a 501(c)3 non-profit, BPEEC (Beaver Ponds Environmental Education Center) is involved in providing tools for people of all ages to be better stewards of the Earth.
This topic is of particular relevance as it ties together multiple subjects that are important in understanding our environment. In Colorado we have various threats to our water, air, animals, and plants. Some of these threats can be influenced by local action, and some need national or international collaboration. At Beaver Ponds we conduct hands-on learning around topics such as: how we manage the forest to decrease wildfire risk and promote biodiversity, watershed ecology, beaver ecology, regenerative agriculture, alternative energy (wind, solar, micro-hydro, geothermal), and some citizen science projects for volunteers who wish to get involved. Doing what we can involves being active in your local communities and beyond. There is a huge need for individuals such as citizen scientists and volunteers to help with environmental projects. Along with getting outside and enjoying a hike in some of our protected lands, get active in different ways and let your voice be heard, help build solid data, support good science and collaborative efforts and help to catalyze a new age of regeneration. CPW (Colorado Parks and Wildlife) Citizen lynx sighting form is available and the data is utilized for research. learn/Pages/SOC-LynxSightingForm.aspx.

EventsUpcoming Events at Beaver Ponds
Free Public Days
Every Fourth Saturday from 11:00am-3:00pm
Join us and visit the animals, hike and snowshoe-
dependent on the weather.
Next Dates:

 February 24th
March 24th

Please support Beaver Ponds and help all of us become better stewards of the earth.

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