Monday, January 30, 2017

CNHP Paid Internships for Summer 2017!

CNHP is looking for up to six Colorado State University undergraduate students interested in expanding their knowledge and experience in conservation science. Interns will build skills in plant identification, vegetation sampling, animal monitoring and surveys, monitoring protocols, data collection, and describing conservation values. Interns will be paid $12/hr, with per diem provided for overnight field trips. Program begins June 12, 2017 and ends August 18, 2017. Applications are due by March 1, 2017.

For more information read the full announcement on our website here:

The 2016 Siegele Conservation Science interns. 

Monday, January 16, 2017

Natives in Your Landscape!

Would you like to use Colorado native plants in your landscape? Check out the exciting new webinar below about using natives in your garden. You will learn about natives for sunny areas, for clay, for shade, for formal situations, for fragrance, for fall color, and more!

Why use natives? You can increase the sustainability of your garden, save money from less watering, attract native pollinators, and enjoy a bounty of Colorado’s native wildflowers, shrubs, and trees.

WEBINAR - Native Plants For Every Landscape Situation – March 16, 12 noon to 1 PM, taught by Irene Shonle, CSU native plant expert and County Extension Director.

Interested in receiving a CSU certificate for your knowledge about natives, becoming a Native Plant Master volunteer, or finding offerings in locations across the state? Learn more at or call 303-271-6621. For research-based information on 1,000+ Colorado plants, see Extension programs are available to all without discrimination.

Monday, January 9, 2017

Life as a CNHP Work Study: Taming of the Shrew

By Alyssa Meier

At the end of the hall here at CNHP, there is a small lab in which, not ten feet apart, sit two very different worlds. On one side, we have a freezer filled to the brim with shrew specimens dating back to 2012. On the other, a cabinet loaded to the top with plant specimens all the way from 1993.

Collection of shrew specimens.
Shelf of plant specimens from the 90s.
This past semester, I had the privilege of being a part of two projects that dealt with these specimens. The first project involved taking the old plant specimens, digging through twenty-year-old field journals, and trying to glean enough information to make a label so I could turn them in to the Colorado State University Herbarium. The second involved separating the shrews into individual baggies and giving each a catalog number so we could cart them off to the Denver Museum of Nature and Science.

Each of these projects had its own merits. Making labels for the plants involved a bit of detective work. I was snooping into the past—the far-off years of the 90s when I was just a kid and these plants were still alive. Of course, the field journals of each individual botanist had their own nuances to navigate just to obtain any relevant information, and this sometimes involved tracking down GIS files and surfing through records in Biotics. Many times the information was simply lost over the years.

A pressed rusty lupine (Lupinus pusillus) specimen.
Comparatively, working with shrew specimens was an overload of information. Dozens of grocery bags loaded with sandwich bags loaded with shrews. All of them frozen together. The unfortunate thing about studying shrews is that, because they are so small, it is difficult to draw any inference on habitat or location without the use of pitfall traps or other lethal methods. Thus, the specimens collected are bagged and frozen together. My job was to thaw out the shrews (the smell is indescribable), meticulously peel them apart (so I don’t accidentally rip them in half), put them in separate snack bags, and give them a catalog number.

Me gently peeling apart two shrews that have been frozen together.
Botany and zoology—they both have their ups and downs. One thing's for certain: reeking shrews and crispy plants are still better than case changes.

Monday, January 2, 2017

The Bethke Elementary “Bat-Bots” and Creative Solutions to Deter Bats from Wind Turbines

The Bethke Elementary Legos Robotics Team, called the Bat-Bots, invited Rob Schorr to talk with them about bat conservation and ecology. The Bat-Bots are tasked with coming up with solutions to reduce bat mortality at wind turbines. In 2012, it was estimated that over 600,000 bats died at wind turbine facilities in the United States (M.A. Hayes. 2013. Bats killed in large numbers at United States wind energy facilities. BioScience 63:975-979). They were all aware of the importance of bats for insect control and pollination, and were concerned about conflicts between renewal energy from wind energy development and bat conservation. They wanted to know about possible solutions to reducing bat deaths, while maintaining access to clean energy. Schorr and the team discussed options to use ultraviolet (UV) light as a deterrent (P.M. Gorresen and others. 2015. Dim ultraviolet light as a means of deterring activity by the Hawaiian hoary bat Lasiurus cinereus semotus. Endangered Species Research 28:249-257). The team discussed how to design buildings with UV lights, and were contemplating ways of designing new turbine facilities with dim UV light deterrents.

The Bethke Elementary Bat-Bots include Case L., Carly L., Juliana S., Ella N., Abigail F., and William W., with Schorr.  

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Discussing Bat Conservation and Jumping Mouse Habitat Restoration at Western State Colorado University

In November, Rob Schorr visited with the student chapter of The Wildlife Society at Western State Colorado University to talk about bat conservation. After driving to Gunnison, he met Dr. Pat Magee and his students and spent several hours talking about CNHP and some of the bat conservation projects CNHP is involved in. Of particular interest was student involvement in recruiting climbers to take part in the Climbers for Bat Conservation project. This project is a partnership between bat biologists and climbers to discover new roosting colonies of bats in rock crevices. While at WSCU, Rob also spoke with Dr. Thomas Grant’s master’s-level restoration ecology course about the challenges of doing habitat restoration for bats, and about the habitat restoration work he is conducting for Preble’s meadow jumping mice with Colorado Parks and Wildlife and Douglas County Open Space.
Western State Colorado University on a chilly November afternoon.

Monday, December 12, 2016

46th Annual Symposium of the North American Society for Bat Research

In October, Rob Schorr attended the 46th Annual Symposium of the North American Society for Bat Research in San Antonio, Texas. During his time there, Rob presented a poster discussing the progress and data analysis from a project to monitor maternity colonies of little brown bats (Myotis lucifugus). He and Jeremy Siemers have been conducting a mark-recapture study of little brown bats at two roosts in the Yampa Valley. The intent of this project is to develop baseline estimates of survival, understand roost fidelity, and describe roost conditions for the little brown bat.
Rob manning his poster at the 46th NASBR meeting.
The Mission San Antonio de Valero (The Alamo) was right across from the meeting venue.

Monday, November 7, 2016

An Intern's Adventures (and Ant Bites)

By Alyssa Meier, CNHP Siegele Intern

I spent this past summer with CNHP as an Siegele intern. I worked on various projects all over the state and even got to travel to Yellowstone. It was a wonderful experience full of some great adventures, amazing views, occasional sunburns, and plenty of bug bites (a few too many of those, if you ask me).

I began the summer at two separate BioBlitzes, one at Brown’s Canyon near Buena Vista and the second at Spring Valley near Rifle.
Spring Valley Ranch.
The next few weeks I spent completing surveys for Arapahoe County, weed monitoring at the United States Air Force Academy, and wetland surveys in Huerfano County. I even spent some time in Montrose surveying the rare plant Eriogonum pelinophilum.

Perhaps most exciting of all was my trip to Yellowstone National Park for the GLORIA project. We spent a week in the back country of the Shoshone Wilderness just outside of the park for vegetation monitoring on several of the peaks.

Overall, this summer was very exciting for me. I learned so much about nearly everything, ranging from plants to birds to surveying techniques. It was educational and fulfilling. I wouldn’t have traded this opportunity for anything.

Northern Bobwhite at North Kiowa Arapahoe County property. 
Columbine in Huerfano County. 
Basecamp beneath the peaks – Shoshone Wilderness.

Monday, October 31, 2016

Wetland Monitoring in Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve

One of CNHP’s Wetlands crew spent July collecting data at wetland sites in Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve in southern Colorado. The park and preserve is home to about 1,700 bison, and a large elk herd. The wetland monitoring data collected will be used to aid in planning and decision making as part of the Park’s ungulate management plan process. The wetland crew braved warm weather and abundant mosquitoes to collect vegetation, soil and ungulate use data, and install game cameras at over 20 sites.
The CNHP Wetlands crew and National Park Service Inventory and Monitoring employees after training in Great Sand Dunes National Park. 
Lexine Long and Erin Borgman setting up a vegetation monitoring plot in Great Sand Dunes National Park. 
When not in Great Sand Dunes National Park, the wetland crew also worked on a project surveying fen wetlands close to state highways for a project sponsored by the Colorado Department of Transportation. Fens are groundwater-fed wetlands with 40 or more centimeters of organic soil (often peat). Organic soil accumulates very slowly – at approximately 20cm in 1,000 years, so fens are an incredibly important wetland resource in Colorado. The crew got to spend their time working in the beautiful mountain passes of Colorado, and saw many interesting wetlands while collecting vegetation and soil data for the project.
Lexine Long collecting vegetation data in a fen in the San Juan mountains.
A fen wetland in the San Juan mountains.