We've Done It -- Thanks Everyone!

A huge thank you to all who contributed to meeting and surpassing the "MPEC at Horseshoe Lodge Challenge Grant". The goal, which began in mid-November, was to match $30,000 by Feb. 14 (Valentine's Day). Dave just tallied up what we've brought in, and the number is $156,721.06. This includes a surprise donation of $120,000 from an anonymous donor (a different person than the anonymous donor who offered the challenge). So, add it all up, and this effort produced $186,721 towards the Horseshoe Lodge project. So, THANK YOU TO ALL WHO HELPED MAKE THIS HAPPEN!!! Read more about it at http://www.chieftain.com/metro/1171651729/8
Let's keep the momentum going for the Horseshoe Lodge!


The Year's First Wildflower, Right On Schedule

It's been a snowy winter, but the last few days have been warm, and I had a feeling that all this sunshine created the right conditions for spring beauties to begin blooming. So, a quick hike up the Tower Trail, and sure enough, right where I always see the first bloom of the year, there was one Claytonia rosea, pale white and in bloom (pictured above)! The flower (less than an inch wide, only a few inches tall) was tucked against the stem of a Gambel oak, growing through last year's fallen oak leaves. Just a few feet from the bloom, a deep snowbank was melting its water into the minerally soil. Typical of this species, as soon as the days warm in late January or early February here in the park's south-facing shrublands, the spring beauty is ready to let us all know that, winter or not, snowy or not, spring is around the corner. So, if the winter cold and snow has you down, hike a quarter mile or so up the Tower Trail, look carefully on the west (right) side of the trail, and get a taste of spring! Several other spring beauty plants appear to be ready to bloom in the next week or so! ~ Ranger Dave


Winter snow and School programs

As you can see from some of the other postings, winter is in full swing here at the Pueblo Mountain Park. The feet of wonderful snow we have received this winter have not slowed down what we are here to do at MPEC, bringing children to the outdoors to teach them about nature. Foresight and good fortune have helped our programs to continue unabated as the snow falls.

We have scheduled more program days this year than ever before! The demand for our programs is a testament to the quality educational experience that children receive when they visit the Mountain Park during the Nature: the Natural High and Earth Studies programs. My hat's off to Dave for creating great programs that show amazing results.

While we are experiencing the kind of winter that makes living in Colorado great, we have been able to share this winter wonderland experience with students from Pueblo District 60 schools. Almost all of our snow has fallen on the weekends, allowing for safe driving conditions during the week. Also, we started programs two weeks early this school year, scheduling a very busy fall and early winter to accommodate the extra program days. This foresight has allowed us some flex time during the coldest and most blustery (did I make up that word?!) time of the year. We have been able to reschedule where needed to keep the kids coming up to the Park this winter.

Our programs have remained on schedule thanks to our supply of snowshoes. All of our programs have become snowshoe programs, and the kids love it. Linda and I have only made minor adjustments to the Earth Studies program to account for the winter and we have been test driving a new snow oriented Nature: the Natural High curriculum that the kids seem to really enjoy.

I cannot tell you how many times in the last month I have heard "this is the best field trip ever!" I am so proud to be a part of this great organization. It is so cool to see the joy on the students faces when they see the snow piled up to the top of the fence here at the MPEC. They hardly know they are learning!

Let it snow!