Kids in Nature
Eighty-one kids enjoyed the wonders of the National Forest as they attended 9 different hikes with PWV rangers on Lower Dadd Gulch and Lady Moon/Disappointment Falls Trails during the 2016 season, along with 23 family members and agency staff and volunteers. Boys and Girls Club of Fort Collins, Cub Scout Pack 12, Generation Now and GrandFamilies Coalition participated, along with a couple hikes for PWV Families. The Kids in Nature volunteers followed the kids’ lead, going at their pace and exploring whatever interested them, often the stream, mushrooms, rocks, plants, insects, spiders and birds. In addition, each hike included a special curriculum of either aquatic macro-invertebrates, trees, or mammals in our mountains. We always teach Leave No Trace, ‘It’s All Yours’ and basic safety, as well. Most of the kids who participated had never been in the mountains before and they loved it! The kids’ unsolicited comments say it all:
- “This is a fun day!”
- To another kid: “You don’t hurt nature.”
- “I wish I lived here.”
- “Whoa! Look at the waterfall!”
- “This is the best day ever!”
In 2016 the Kids in Nature committee completed Hiking with Kids in the Roosevelt National Forest brochure. These are available at the Fort Collins USFS Visitor Center and also on the PWV website under the TRAILS tab (along with a more complete listing of the enticements of the recommended trails).
Affiliation Gatherings are a social and educational event held on the second Monday of most every month. The events are open to the public as well as PWV members. The 2016 Affiliation meetings covered a wide range of topics. We had presentations on numerous critters including rattlesnakes, bull snakes, bison and prairie dogs; not only did we learn about these critters but also what tracks and sign they leave behind. For those with wanderlust, we reached out to Colorado's own back yard three times and then went where few, if any of us have been. Colorado's backyard was covered with Wild51 presentations (Wild51 commemorating the 51st year since the National Wilderness Act was enacted by the US Congress in 1964) covering Wilderness Area patrols we are so fond of, a historical perspective of the Poudre Canyon and then a record number of people listened about Another Day in Paradise on the Colorado Trail. After Colorado it was onward to a Svalbard excursion presented by PWV founder, Mr. Bell! For the techies in the crowd, we learned about the Delorme inReach satellite communication devices. We can't forget about the Fire Ecology lesson either. Over 550 people attend the 2016 Affiliation Gatherings with about 15% of them as guests of PWV.
The job of the 2016 Recruiting/Public Outreach committee was to “fill the Spring Training tents.” And it did: 66 new members constituted the largest recruiting class ever, and with close to 90% of those completing their commitment of at least 6 patrols, one of the most active classes ever. The class was the result of distributing PWV brochures and posters across the area, contacting stables, tack shops, and feed stores; arranging for community presentations; advertising, articles, and announcements in local media; passing the word on social media; two Preview events; interviews of 100 applicants; and hours of e-mailing. The result was well worth the effort!
PWV Endowment Fund
The purpose of the PWV Endowment Fund committee is to provide a stable, predictable, and ongoing funding basis to support new PWV programs and initiatives. In 2016 we ran two successful fundraising events: the Back-yard party (BYP) services auction, which raised over $10,000, and the Fall Fundraising Campaign which was run in concert with the Operating Fund-Raising committee. A special thanks to Judy and Rhys, who hosted the BackYard Party event, and the many volunteers. As a result of these efforts, the Endowment Fund surpassed its initial goal of $50,000, and currently exceeds $60,000. The committee is now in a position to offer special project grants to PWV committees. We have also submitted our profile to the ColoradoGives organization, which will provide state-wide visibility to potential donors. We continue to partner with the NoCo Community Foundation, which manages the investments of our Endowment Fund. We are looking forward to another successful year in 2017.
- Trained 66 new PWV recruits to identify, report, and treat five target noxious weed species.
- Trained 12 PWV members (+ 3 members of the public and one member of Backcountry Horsemen) to identify, report, and treat 22 noxious weed species; USFS staff and 5 Larimer County staff assisted with the training and/or were trained.
- Held 19 weed pulls to treat noxious weeds at 23 locations in 8 different areas. Musk thistle, Houndstongue, and Bull thistle were treated on a total of 115 acres. Thirteen different PWVs participated in one or more weed pulls; donating a total of 347 volunteer hours (and 1 member of the public donated another 8 volunteer hours).
- Held two public weed pavilions (one at the North Fork trailhead and one at the Little Beaver Creek trailhead on Old Flowers Road) where a total of 13 day hikers were contacted about noxious weeds – where they occur, the negative impacts they have on native ecosystems, and what PWV, Canyon Lakes Ranger District, and Larimer County are doing about them.