Greeting from Beaver Ponds!
Paul and visitors to our booth
at Burro days!
We need your help!
September and October will be big months for Beaver Ponds. You can be a citizen scientist and help us with our Sacremento Creek project or use your construction skills to help us assemble our new hoop house.
We will be working hard to implement our Sacramento Creek Protection Plan thanks to a grant from the South Park National Heritage Area. We will need volunteers to help
map the creek, take water samples, and help with community meetings.
We will also be putting up our 72x30' hoop house! This will vastly increase our ability to grow produce and also enhance our agricultural/gardening programming. Volunteers can help construct the hoop house, build raised beds, and plant!
Thank you for being a part of Beaver Ponds!
Would you like to be a Junior Reporter - Get your name, picture and words in our newsletter!
Write about how you are working to make our planet a better place every day!! We would like you to share with us what you, you and your friends or you and your family are doing to help the environment, help animals or being more sustainable on this earth we call home. Some examples include high altitude gardening, composting, raising your own food, recycling, tagging birds, ....
Email us with your story idea and we will help you develop an article we will publish in our newsletter or website. The email is firstname.lastname@example.org
You are in school - but maybe you need an interesting read:
For younger readers:
The Difference Between Dogs, Wolves, Foxes and Hyenas | Children's Science & Nature
To adults, the differences are very obvious. But to a child, the difference between dogs, wolves, foxes and hyenas could be difficult to spot. After all, these animals are all cousins. This educational book will be of great help to the little ones. With the pictures accompanying the texts, understanding and retention will be much more effective.
A Dog in the Cave By Kay Frydenborg
We know dogs are our best animal friends, but have you ever thought about what that might mean?
Fossils show we've shared our work and homes with dogs for tens of thousands of years. Now there's growing evidence that we influenced dogs' evolution-and they, in turn, changed ours. Even more than our closest relatives, the apes, dogs are the species with whom we communicate best.
Combining history, paleontology, biology, and cutting-edge medical science, Kay Frydenborg paints a picture of how two different species became deeply entwined-and how we coevolved into the species we are today.
Animal Therapist (Weird Careers in Science)
This series investigates unusual careers in science-related fields and finds out about commonly considered ways in which science can be put to use. With full color photographs and illustrations. Ages 12-16 years.
For older readers or for a good family read:
Call of the Wild
By Jack London
The Call of the Wild, considered by many London's greatest novel, is a gripping tale of a heroic dog that, thrust into the brutal life of the Alaska Gold Rush, ultimately faces a choice between living in man's world and returning to nature. Adventure and dog-story enthusiasts as well as students and devotees of American literature will find this classic work a thrilling, memorable reading experience.
Where the Red Fern Grows
by Wilson Rawls
Billy has long dreamt of owning not one, but two, dogs. So when he's finally able to save up enough money for two pups to call his own-Old Dan and Little Ann-he's ecstatic. It doesn't matter that times are tough; together they'll roam the hills of the Ozarks.
Soon Billy and his hounds become the finest hunting team in the valley. Stories of their great achievements spread throughout the region, and the combination of Old Dan's brawn, Little Ann's brains, and Billy's sheer will seems unbeatable. But tragedy awaits these determined hunters-now friends-and Billy learns that hope can grow out of despair, and that the seeds of the future can come from the scars of the past.
by Jack London
White Fang was first published in 1906, Jack London was well on his way to becoming one of the most famous, popular, and highly paid writers in the world.
White Fang stands out as one of his finest achievements, a spellbinding novel of life in the northern wilds.
In gripping detail, London bares the savage realities of the battle for survival among all species in a harsh, unyielding environment. White Fang is part wolf, part dog, a ferocious and magnificent creature through whose experiences we see and feel essential rhythms and patterns of life in the animal kingdom and among mankind as well.
It is, above all, a novel that keenly observes the extraordinary working of one of nature's greatest gifts to its creatures: the power to adapt. Focusing on this wondrous process, London created in
White Fang a classic adventure story as fresh and appealing for today's audiences as for those who made him among the bestselling novelists of his day.
The Ancient Art of Weaving:
The next class in our Fiber Workshop Series is
The Ancient Art of Weaving:Solar Dying. It is being facilitated by fiber expert
Jane Wunder, who has been spinning for over 40 years.
Fiber Workshop Series, The Ancient Art of Weaving: Solar Dying
Class 2: Sept 16, 9 to 5pm
This amazing workshop will teach you how
to dye your own yarn (or fabric) using locally
gathered materials to make the dye.
$45 per class
Hand Made Felted Boot Liners
Class 1: Saturday, Sept 30th, 1 to 4pm
Class 2: Saturday, Oct 7th, 1 to 4pm
$25 per class
In addition to learning all about the art of weaving, participants will also learn about keeping fiber animals and processing raw fiber. They will also get to meet and interact with the alpacas, goats, and a llama who annually contribute their fiber to the Beaver Ponds Sustainable Agriculture Program.
Reflections on this Summer at Beaver Ponds
Summer has been an amazing time at Beaver Ponds.
We had over 600 visitors and 22 group visits.
Below are some of the highlights from this past summer.
- Blue Creek Elementary School brought its preschools and 2
graders to learn about Beavers and built some awesome Beaver dams.
- South Park Site stewards trained their new volunteers on how to identify and treat archaeological sites using Beaver Ponds as a sample site. Can you identify what happened to this tree?
- We partnered with Boys and Girls Club of the High Rockies and the Mosquito Range Heritage Initiative for a week of nature science and learned about watersheds and aquatic insects. Mountain Top Children's Museum in Breckenridge visited as well.
- The Fairplay Library visited to learn about our local watersheds.
The Cottonwood Institute and Keystone Science Center visited and spent the night before moving on to higher ground.
- Every month on the 10
Eric Chatt hosted a native plant walk and we learned about the various blossoming plants and how they could be used as balms and natural medicine. With our bright sunny high altitude days the bark of the aspen is critical to help us ward off the sun's rays.
- Not to be left out our animals were an important part of our summer. Several fiber workshops showed participants the art of drop spindle and weaving from alpaca fiber.
- We had a record growing season with lettuce, kale, carrots, cabbage, and potatoes galore. Read a special section about our harvest in our next newsletter and learn about our Fifth Anniversary Shindig feast that served up our own produce.
- Finally, our volunteers made sure our monthly RiverWatch analysis was a success.
Update, Tips, and Tricks from the BP Greenhouse and Gardens to Yours!
Eric's blog has been so successful it has been taken up as a monthly topic for
Ute Country News.
As a result we have split it into a reflective learning element and a garden update. Please read his thoughts below.
The Forest as a Bath: A metaphor to live by
How can getting out in nature contribute to your health? Researchers are studying how the simple act of being in nature or "bathing" in nature influences mental health and physiological parameters such as blood pressure, anxiety, depression, and a host of other effects. Many Asian cultures value and embrace this type of sensory engagement with the forest with an intention of healing engrained in the practice.
We are uniquely poised in Colorado to experience a diverse array of forest and mountain landscapes. Whether gardening with a backdrop of Lodgepole pines and Engelmann spruce, breathing in the fresh mountain air, smelling the volatile essential oils, seeing vivid colors in the plants, sunrises, sunsets, feeling the wind blowing through the canyons, all of these experiences have the potential to contribute to our healing response.
Intention has been shown to have a significant impact in healing so I invite you to get out into nature with the intention of health and healing for yourself, Earth, and the other creatures we share this planet with. Learning about our watersheds, ecological niches, sustainable ways of living, and simple interactions with the natural world is what we offer at Beaver Ponds, and we invite you to do this on your own as well. Individual actions are needed to help our environment. Mindful people help themselves and their local environments. We encourage learning about and taking action to regenerate soils, to produce alternative energy, to share seed and food, eating locally, and to appreciate the dynamic interplay between organisms and resources.
Bathing our senses in the perceptive diversity that we encounter is an opportunity to be present and calm. When stress reduction, peace of mind, relaxation, lowering blood pressure are measurable results what do we have to lose in regular encounters with nature? The better question is what to we have to lose without regular encounters with nature?
One of the pleasures of working at an Environmental Education Center is to experience the wonder and fascination that people have when they experience and learn from natural settings. People from all walks of life may display a wide range of engaged and enchanted reactions to certain natural sights, smells, tastes, and textures.
There is much overlap between health care, ecology, biology, chemistry, physics, anthropology, agriculture, sociology, and mindfulness. Multifaceted interdisciplinary approaches to living more harmoniously with nature may be warranted. Collaboration is essential. Again we are lucky to be in such a beautiful place with protected spaces to get outside and explore.
In German bath towns there is a strong integration between natural environments and healing facilities. They even utilize the phrases cure park, cure garden, aroma garden, and saline promenade (modern versions are called inhalatoriums)! Nature cure was exemplified by promoting walking barefoot, "stepping" or slowly walking in streams with a specific intention. Hydrotherapy, therapeutic nutrition, psychology, art therapy, physiotherapy, herbal medicine, sauna, and many other disciplines are blended in a very eclectic stew brewed with healthy intention and practice. Spa vacations (4 weeks duration when I was there) in these "bath towns" are something that is part of healthcare in Germany, often getting people out of the cities into smaller countryside towns and forested areas.
As the August 21 solar eclipse reminded many people, we live on a mysterious and beautiful planet. For a moment people flocked outside, traveled hundreds of miles, scientists studied the surface of Mercury among other myriad questions, and thousands of people reveled at our place in the universe and the opportunity to see such a unique event. People who are lifelong learners often hold on to the three year old curiosity that helps to make ordinary moments in our natural world feel fresh and intriguing as the eclipse did for many.
If "forest bathing" is trending in fitness programs, what does this suggest about our collective progressive dissociation with nature. We as species have co-evolved with our natural environments. It shouldn't come as too much of a surprise that seeing the color green, smelling the essential oils of pine and cedar, or hearing the water flowing down the creek would be good for us.
Beaver Ponds Environmental Education Center offers groups and classes an opportunity to bathe their senses in nature while learning about and engaging in practice involving sustainable energy, agriculture, wild crafting plants, ecology, watersheds, and more. We offer workshops in tincture and salve making, fiber arts, local food production and health benefits, gardening, among other opportunities. We also enjoy working with volunteers, local schools, interest groups, and scientists to collect data and to share data. We all learn on the shoulders of others and provide a space for dialogue and education
So how can we as community interact in a mutually beneficial way with nature, reduce our carbon footprint, and heal individual and societal ills. "Get outside" like your mom used to say. Perhaps this will help your own health, and help nourish and foster the appreciation and good stewardship that our land needs. For your sake, for our sake, and for goodness sakes, please take a forest bath.
Beaver Ponds will be sharing tips for gardening in the Rocky Mountains, food as medicine, ecological tidbits, sustainable energy, and other information that we feel may help our community as individuals living within our special ecosystems here in Colorado and elsewhere.
For information, questions, appointments, volunteer interests, etc. please check our website (BeaverPonds.org) and our Facebook page (Beaver Ponds Environmental Education Center), and feel free to email me at email@example.com. Please join us at 9:00 am this month for a free native and medicinal plant hike with Eric Chatt N.D. on September 10th and for our Solar Dying Fiber workshop with Jane
Jane Wunder on September 16th from 9am to 5 pm. Check the web for class registration.
Eric Chatt N.D.
Site Manager Beaver Ponds Environmental Education Center
August Blog 2017
What are you going to do with your bountiful harvest? Part of the age old tradition of gardening for "victory" or in today's parlance, sustainability, is the passed on genetics and the knowledge of preservation and storage of foods and medicines. Thinking ahead and planning out your recipes may greatly increase the longevity and palatability of your harvest.
Why have staples such as potatoes and cabbage been so important for our survival, and how are they optimally grown and stored? What do you do with potatoes to store them for next year? And how can we spice up our staples to give us some amazing tasting probiotic foods? These will be some of the topics covered in our effort to inspire others with knowledge and tools to be their own keystone species. Like the beaver, we have the capacity to influence other species downstream. Local staple foods are part of decreasing our high country carbon footprint.
Gardening in the high altitude takes patience and determination as well as utilizing knowledge gained from others. Some of this knowledge is passed down in various cultures (human and microbial-pun intended). We will focus on two staple crops today that are useful as a nutritive and can be stored for winter consumption. What we at BPEEC are finding is that with the right vegetables a bountiful harvest can be obtained without pests or weather damage.
Whether the topic is local food and sustainable agriculture, ecological diversity and webs of life, green building methods, alternative energy sources, or water quality in the mountain watersheds, our goal is to inform and educate other busy bodies, shakers and movers, and people just genuinely interested in becoming better stewards of the land.
Here is a short introduction to the most local ecological niche that we know. The micro biome refers to the arrangement of microorganisms in the gut. The gastrointestinal system is an ecological niche and as scientists learn more about gut flora, the importance of proper floral balance becomes more and more apparent. Gut flora influences immune health, mental health, and certain fermented foods like sauerkraut, Kim chi, yogurt, koji rice, miso, and others are examples of altering staple foods via the introduction of other microbial species. For more information or for a hands-on fermented foods class, contact Beaver Ponds Environmental Education Center (BPEEC).
Spinach, cabbage, chard, kale, and Brussels sprouts are all staple foods in the Brassica family (Brassicaceae). Right now at 10,200 feet between the outdoor huglekulture and raised beds we are growing dragon carrots, Napoli f1 carrots, white satin carrots, Broccoli, garlic chives, Tyee f1 spinach, Bilko cabbage, potatoes, fennel, calendula, Waldstroms and Concept lettuce. Since potatoes are in the Nightshade family they produce pest deterrents and require little to no protection from the chipmunks. Along with the cold-hardiness, this makes for a great high altitude staple food. As well as being loaded with carbohydrates to fuel the brain and replenish glycogen in the liver, the potato is a plant with very high levels of the mineral potassium.
In the geothermal greenhouse we have Red Rubin Basil, Korean Licorice mint, Osaka Purple Chard, Collard greens, Arugula, Dino Kale, Fennel, Garlic Chives, Daikon radish, Cherry Radish, Tomatoes are not producing fruit yet, Summer Thyme, Tyee F1 spinach, Aloe, Banana, Lavender, Bilko F1 cabbage, Dill, Parsley, among other wonderful vegetables, many of which were utilized for our 5 year anniversary Shindig meal on August 26th. Check in regularly to see what's growin' on at Beaver Ponds.
Eric Chatt N.D. (Site Manager)
Articles we liked - and You might like too
Our goal is to find articles that are either beneficial to all our readers or start "dinner conversations". This month, an article and related site that piqued our interest was about Community Trusts. We often hear of nature conservancy, but how about neighborhood conservancy? How do we sustain neighborhoods? These community trusts hope to create sustainability within rural and urban communities.
What is a community land trust (CLT)?
CLTs are nonprofit organizations-governed by a board of CLT residents, community residents and public representatives-that provide lasting community assets and permanently affordable housing opportunities for families and communities. CLTs develop rural and urban agriculture projects, commercial spaces to serve local communities, affordable rental and cooperative housing projects, and conserve land or urban green spaces. However, the heart of their work is the creation of homes that remain permanently affordable, providing successful homeownership opportunities for generations of lower income families.
Read and listen to a Colorado Public Radio article about attempts to create a Community Trust in Several Denver Neighborhoods.
Upcoming Events at Beaver Ponds
Plant Hikes-The 10th of every month until November
edicinal and native plants.
Starts promptly at 9:30am at Beaver Ponds!
Fiber Workshop Series:
The Ancient Art of Weaving: Solar Dying
Class 2: Sept 16, 9 to 5pm
Fiber Workshop Series:
The Ancient Art of Weaving: Hand Made Felted Boot Liners
Class 1: Saturday, Sept 30th , 1 to 4pm
Class 2: Saturday, Oct 7th, 1 to 4pm
$25 each, you can attend one or both if you would like.
Please support Beaver Ponds and help all of us become better stewards of the earth.