I can hardly believe it, but I’m already half way through with this fellowship! After the five property visits last week, I’ve now visited 14 of the 25 properties assigned for the summer. I started the week at three properties near Woodman Road and I-25. Despite the proximity to the busy intersection, each property offers quiet habitats full of verdant grasses, vibrant flowers, and singing songbirds. I had never visited the area and was delighted to see the open ponderosa pine woodlands of the New Santa Fe Regional Trail (the northern extension of the Pikes Peak Greenway Trail). Plenty of hikers and bikers had clearly already discovered the Palmer Land Trust and City-protected park. Right across the train tracks, I also visited two neighborhood-owned parcels featuring towering hoodoos and open views. As usual, everything appeared as healthy as the day the properties were conserved.
Later in the week, I ventured out to two properties in the Black Forest. For me, it was particularly meaningful to read the botanical assessment written by Dr. Tass Kelso and a Colorado College student in 1996. As my field botany professor, Tass had a profound impact on my interest in conservation biology, and her recent passing was difficult news to bear. It was comforting to read her words 20 years later and to know that her passion and knowledge for the region will always inform Palmer’s conservation practices. Today the properties she described are just as diverse and thriving as we expect them to remain far into the future. The conservation community will miss her greatly and will never forget the impact she had on our hearts and minds.
This week, I look forward to visiting the Lower Arkansas Valley, where I will meet Natural Resources Conservation Service employees and visit several irrigated farms Palmer is interested in conserving. Stay tuned for more updates and follow our Instagram to see pictures of upcoming visits.