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Celebrating over 40 years of PLAN Jeffco and the Jefferson County Open Space Program

Articles that Educate

Pack it in / Pack it out and Outdoor Ethics - graphic

Pack it in / Pack it out and Outdoor Ethics

Author: PLAN Jeffco

Date: December 2016

Outdoor Ethics may be summed up in the phrase Leave No Trace, and in Jefferson County Open Space Parks, like all other park systems, the rules of good outdoor ethics apply. Specific rules may be found in park regulations, which all park users should know and follow ... read article »

Slower Life - The Worms of Spring - drawing of worm by Jan Ratcliffe

Slower Life: The Worms of Spring

Author: Sally L. White

Illustrations: Jan Ratcliffe

Date: May 2016

Did Charles Darwin retire after spending 20 years on his greatest contribution, On the Origin of Species by Natural Selection? Not likely. But he did slow down, in a sense. Where he had studied pigeons and chickens in his pursuit of inherited traits, he turned in later years to earthworms and plants, where his efforts were equally impressive though far less well known. Why did one of the world's great scientists ... read article »

Tuesday Birder - Birds at Mount Falcon - Turkey Vulture.

Birds at Mount Falcon

Author: Ann Bonnell

Date: September 2015

On September 29, seventeen members of the "Tuesday Birders" spent four and one-half hours looking for and counting birds at the West (upper) end of Mount Falcon Open Space Park. One hundred ninety-five individual birds ... read article »

Tuesday Birder - The Birds of Chatfield - Great-horned Owls nesting at Chatfield State Park (Photo by Rob Raker)

The Birds of Chatfield

Author: Ann Bonnell

Photos: Jim Esten & Rob Raker

Date: May 2015

Hiking, biking and horse-back riding are not the only things that you can do in the open spaces of Jefferson County. Ann Bonnell, long-time PLAN Jeffco Board Member and volunteer naturalist ... read article »

Tuesday Birder group visits Bear Creek Lake Park - Canada Goose

Tuesday Birder group visits Bear Creek Lake Park

Author: Ann Bonnell

Date: March 31, 2015

Tuesday Birders, led by Ann Bonnell, Dave Hill, and Phil Gerkin, visited Bear Creek Lake Park, a City of Lakewood Park, on March 31st for a four-hour walk amidst 58° - 75° weather to record bird species and numbers. ... read article »

Tuesday Birder group visits Lair O' Bear Open Space Park - Stellerís Jay

Tuesday Birder group visits Lair 'o' Bear Open Space Park

Author: Ann Bonnell

Date: November 4, 2014

Tuesday Birders lead by Dave Hill, Ann Bonnell and Mary Keithler, visited Lair 'o' Bear,a Jeffco Open Space Park, on November 4th for a three hour walk amidst 31 - 53° weather to record bird species and numbers. ... read article »

Living and Playing in Coyote Country by Mary Ann Bonnell

Living and Playing in Coyote Country

Author: Mary Ann Bonnell

Date: September 2014

Creating coyote-savvy open space users and residents helps reduce conflict between coyotes, pets and people throughout Jefferson County. Educating and motivating citizens to help preserve open space and the wild species that use it is at the core of the PLAN Jeffco mission. This is the first of ... read article »

On Golden Clouds by Sally L. White

On Golden Clouds

Author: Sally L. White

Date: September 2014

Perhaps city folks don't notice, but few who live in mountains and foothills escape knowing when the pines are doing their thing, and this spring was certainly one of the obvious ones. We see pollen adrift on spring puddles, pollen gathered from the roof to collect in ... read article »

Damnation Toadflax Or How Pretty Plants become Problem Pests by Sally L. White

Damnation Toadflax Or How Pretty Plants become Problem Pests

Author: Sally L. White

Date: September 2013

Even a plant-lover, and I do consider myself such, can be challenged by some species, and the mellowest of us can be pressed into trophy hunting when circumstances are right. Summer is the season for bagging the biggest baddest trophies in our ... read article »

Distelfinks and Dinosaurs by Sally L. White, illustrations by Jan Ratcliffe

Distelfinks and Dinosaurs

Author: Sally L. White

Illustrations: Jan Ratcliffe

Date: May 2013

Sparrows don't quite do it for me: I look at them and I clearly see birds, normal birds, hopping on the ground looking for seed or flying around. But distelfinks are different. Distelfink, literally "thistle finch," is a handy word still used by ... read article »

When Winter Comes: Strategies for Survival by Sally L. White, illustrations by Jan Ratcliffe

When Winter Comes: Strategies for Survival

Author: Sally L. White

Illustrations: Jan Ratcliffe

Date: February 2013

Our world is surprisingly full of animals, even in our heavily developed areas. How does nature ensure that fullness? By paying a large price: excess. This annual tax often comes due in winter. Every student of nature stumbles upon and must come to terms with ... read article »

Life After Life by Sally L. White, illustrations by Jan Ratcliffe

Life After Life

Author: Sally L. White

Illustrations: Jan Ratcliffe

Date: October 2012

Hidden within our soils are a host of organisms engaged in decomposition, that deconstruction project without which life on Earth would long since have disappeared. As with other ecological systems, this one is an iceberg: The part we can't see ... read article »

Douglas-fir: By any other name by Sally L. White, illustrations by Jan Ratcliffe

Douglas-fir: By any other name

Author: Sally L. White

Illustrations: Jan Ratcliffe

Date: July 2012

The tree we know today as Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii) baffled botanists for decades. People have known it as yellow spruce, red spruce, red fir, Douglas spruce, and Oregon pine. It's not unusual for a plant to have many common names ... read article »

Snowbirds by Ann Bonnell

Snowbirds

Author: Ann Bonnell

Date: January 2012

Sometimes called "Snowbirds," Darkeyed Juncos are slightly larger than House Finches, with white feathers at the outside edges of their tails. They always show up at your yards and feeders with the first snowfall ... read article »

A Harvest for the Holly Days by Sally L. White, illustrations by Jan Ratcliffe

A Harvest for the Holly Days

Author: Sally L. White

Illustrations: Jan Ratcliffe

Date: January 2012

That holiday tradition of "decking the halls" is a long one still well practiced today. Seeing our homes and streets festooned with greenery, we might think little has changed from those nostalgic Victorian Christmases we emulate ... read article »

Fall Harvest: the Gift That Keeps on Giving by Sally L. White, illustrations by Jan Ratcliffe

Fall Harvest: the Gift That Keeps on Giving

Author: Sally L. White

Illustrations: Jan Ratcliffe

Date: September 2011

Year after year, domestic and wild plants give us—and local wildlife—"free food," as it were. But some years are special. Trees bent under the weight of fruit they carried; now pantry shelves bend under the weight of jams and jellies as we try to cope with ... read article »

Everything is Rosy! by Sally L. White

Everything is Rosy!

Author: Sally L. White

Date: June 2011

"Here in Colorado's foothills and mountain slopes, our future is rosy. So is our present, and for some time, so has been our past. We are fortunate in that almost everywhere we look, we see roses. Although June is the traditional month for traditional roses, the native roses we enjoy here often ... read article »

The Bird Family with an Attitude: The Corvids by Ann Bonnell

The Bird Family with an Attitude: The Corvids

Author: Ann Bonnell

Date: June 2011

The Corvids are probably the most notable family of birds with an attitude. They are loud, pushy and act like they are the boss, running off other bird species and often eating other birds' eggs and hatchlings. The Corvids found in our area ... read article »

Big Bluestem: Plant of the Future by Sally L. White, illustrations by Jan Ratcliffe

Big Bluestem: Plant of the Future

Author: by Sally L. White

Date: March 2011

This fall I had an email from a botanist friend: "What's going on with big bluestem?" After he pointed it out, I noticed that, sure enough, this species, one of the dominant grasses in the tallgrass prairie (as in the source of the original Kansas sods ... read article »

Birds of Jefferson County: Accipiters by Ann Bonnell

Birds of Jefferson County: Accipiters

Author: Ann Bonnell

Date: March 2011

"What is that hawk who comes into my yard and eats 'my' birds?" These hawks are probably Accipiters, a sub-group of the birds of prey most easily distinguished by their long tails and short, broad, rounded wings which allow them to ... read article »

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