Monday, June 20, 2016

Siegele Summer Internship Launched With Bioblitzes

By Lydia Fahrenkrug

In the past two weeks, CNHP launched its Siegele internship program by attending three Bioblitzes. The first of these was in the recently designated Browns Canyon National Monument in Chaffee County. The following week, we co-hosted Bioblitzes at the Spring Valley and Rifle Ranches in Garfield County. A BioBlitz is an intensive period of biological surveying to find, identify, and record all the species within a designated area.
Early morning birding by Delia Malone, Mary Harris, Maddie, Alyssa Meier, Lydia Fahrenkrug, and John Sovell (left to right) at Rifle Ranch Bioblitz, in Rifle, CO

At Browns Canyon, the six interns, Lydia Fahrenkrug, Alyssa Meier, Blaise Newman, Gary Olds, Tyler Stratman, and Brandi Thomas, along with Director Dave Anderson, Pam Smith, and Scott Kellman, had an amazing time surveying the diverse landscapes and using the opportunity to work together with many different organizations and professionals. Students gained hands-on experience in a variety of disciplines, such as small mammal trapping, plant identifying and collecting, birding, insect collecting, and bat surveying. It was exciting to collaborate with different professionals while students were introduced and helped to achieve the goals of a Bioblitz.
Entering Browns Canyon National Monument for a full day of surveying, Chaffee Co.
Pam Smith, CNHP Botanist (left), works with CNHP intern, Brandi Thomas, (right) to identify plant in Browns Canyon National Monument, Chaffee Co.





























For the Spring Valley Bioblitz near Carbondale, students were introduced and assisted in data collection for a Modified Whittaker Plot and helped to implement a Picture Post, which allows citizen scientists to take pictures at 9 permanent orientations over time to support environmental monitoring. We learned about the climate monitoring site being installed by the Aspen Global Change Institute by Elise Osenga and Adam Korenblat. At the Rifle Ranch Bioblitz in Rifle, students explored a riparian area and they were surprised by the amount of species they found on this ranch property. Additionally, it was exciting to have interns from the Rocky Mountain Sustainability and Science Network (RMSSN) join CNHP and focus on pollinators at both of these ranches, and also to meet students and faculty from Colorado Mountain College who helped out at Spring Valley. At both ranches, we documented birds with the Roaring Fork Audubon Society, and learn about the ranches from the owners, John Powers and Jana Six. From the Bioblitzes, students learned valuable skills and gained important experience that will help leverage their field projects through the summer.
Implementation of Picture Post at Spring Valley Bioblitz, in Carbondale, CO by Adam Korenblat, Tyler Stratman, Blaize Newman, and David Anderson (left to right).

Friday, June 17, 2016

Remembering Jodie Bell

CNHP mourns the loss of longtime co-worker and friend, Jodie Bell, who passed away on April 10th after a courageous battle with neuroendocrine carcinoma. Jodie was the Ecology Data Manager at CNHP from 1999-2012, when she left to pursue her own yoga business. Although she was part of CNHP’s Ecology team, she had formal training in Wildlife Ecology from Texas A&M University, and had a soft spot for reptiles. Jodie was instrumental in keeping CNHP’s Biotics database up-to- date with the latest plant community associations and regularly reconciled Colorado’s data with the national database at NatureServe. She spent countless hours working with CNHP ecologists to document differing viewpoints on systems and associations, tracking these concepts over time, and identifying the best way to represent these complex entities in the database. Behind the scenes of many data records is the hard work and dedication of Jodie Bell. She enjoyed field work and participated in the Sand Creek zoological survey, La Plata County biological inventory, vegetation monitoring at Pueblo Chemical Depot, several baseline surveys, and more. In addition to her database and biology skills, she was a natural editor and fine-tuned CNHP reports with her sharp editing skills and candid critiques.

Jodie added a personal touch to her work and her laughter filled the halls of CNHP. She led the CNHP birthday fund to ensure every staff birthday was celebrated, and she cared for CNHP’s unofficial mascot Kris, an albino king snake with an attitude whose origin was the source of many tall tales. Her view of wildlife and wild-lands was filled with awe, wonder and an eagerness to learn. In addition to her passion for conservation, her personal passions included yoga and animal rescue and rehabilitation. In her memory, the cat adoption room at the Animal House rescue shelter will be dedicated to Jodie Bell. CNHP extends a heartfelt thanks to Jodie for her many years of service, her significant contributions to our program, and her unending commitment to biodiversity and conservation. We will miss her warm smile and curious nature. We send our deepest condolences to her family.
Jodie Bell on a private ranch in the Eastern Plains of Colorado in 2009. Photo by Denise Culver.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Happy Native Plant Appreciation Week!

Thanks to the Colorado Native Plant Society (CoNPS), June 10th-June 16th is now formally recognized by the state of Colorado as Native Plant Appreciation Week. The goal of Native Plant Appreciation Week is to recognize and celebrate the nearly 3,000 native plant species that are found in Colorado. The state contains 132 endemic plant species that are found only in Colorado. Additionally, a total of 521 of the state's native plant species are considered rare and are tracked by the Colorado Natural Heritage Program. The observance coincides with the 40th anniversary of the Colorado Native Plant Society. Here are a few ways you can celebrate Native Plant Week in Colorado:

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

COMaP Launches Interactive Map

COMaP is the most comprehensive map of protected lands in the state. CNHP is proud to announce the newly revised version of COMaP. The new COMaP, version 10, has significantly updated federal and state lands (which make up almost half of the state) and an additional 355,000 acres of lands conserved under easements, compared to version 9. It also contains interactive maps that can be used to explore and download data without GIS software.

The ongoing updates and services to this database will be supported with subscriptions. If you’re interested in a subscription, visit the COMaP website for more details. Consider subscribing for these benefits:
  • Access to the latest protected lands data through an online map
  • Ability to use the interactive map to view and identify protected lands, query the map and   download spreadsheets, overlay your own files (kml or shp) or add comments and draw polygons. This is especially useful for non-GIS users
  • Access to a suite of data files from the data download center
  • Ability to download the geodatabase and layer files to perform geospatial analysis, build your own custom maps, or serve COMaP map service from your website. This is especially useful for GIS users. 
The new website was built by CNHP with support from a Conservation Excellence grant from Great Outdoors Colorado. The Colorado Coalition of Land Trusts and CSU's Geospatial Centroid partnered with CNHP on the grant. More information can be found in the recent CSU Source article.



Friday, May 13, 2016

Snaketail Ale Brewed for Virginia Natural Heritage Program's 30th Anniversary

You might remember that a few years back CNHP developed a novel collaboration with Odell Brewing Company to conserve the hops blue butterfly (Celastrina humulus). The hops blue butterfly is a rare butterfly in Colorado whose host plant is wild hops (Humulus lupulus). The fruition of that collaboration was Celastrina Saison (pictured below), which produced a $1/bottle donation from Odell Brewing Company to fund studies of the hops blue butterfly.
  Our friend Jason Bulluck at the Virginia Natural Heritage Program (VNHP) liked the idea of partnering with breweries for conservation, and took the idea for Snaketail Ale to Triple Crossing Brewing Company in Richmond, VA, and they loved it! This beer celebrates the St. Croix snaketail, a rare dragonfly known from the Richmond area, and commemorates the VNHP’s 30th anniversary. Snaketail Ale is a heavily dry-hopped session ale that can be found on tap at Triple Crossing Brewery, Richmond, Virginia. Cold 32oz “crowler” cans of Snaketail Ale can be purchased at the brewery's tasting room. Raise a glass and toast to conservation!

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Job Announcement: Conservation Planning Coordinator

The Colorado Natural Heritage Program (CNHP) of Colorado State University is seeking a Conservation Planning Coordinator. The Coordinator will be part of a team that currently includes a Conservation Planner, a Conservation Ecologist, a GIS analyst/Landscape Ecologist, and the Team Leader/Ecologist. The Coordinator will work on existing Conservation Planning projects in addition to writing proposals for new or on-going work. Key duties and responsibilities include:
  • working with the Conservation Planning team and other Colorado Natural Heritage Program (CNHP) staff to identify and secure sources of funds, projects, and collaborative opportunities and participate in proposal development
  • incorporating best available science and biodiversity information into conservation action plans, partnership initiatives, and other planning and implementation efforts
  • working closely with CNHP staff to support programmatic data, communication, planning, and partnership building goals associated with the strategic plan
  • developing and revising project workflow timelines, managing budgets, collaborating with other project staff to ensure timely delivery of quality products.
For the full position description and instruction on how to apply, click here.

Monday, April 18, 2016

CNHP Helps CSU Students Build Field Sampling Skills

Last week CNHP staff members, along with CSU professors Tara Teel and Terra Sampson, spent a day in the field with graduate students from the Conservation Leadership Through Learning Program (CLTL). The CLTL is an innovative graduate program that teaches students how to confront conservation challenges and sustainability from a variety of perspectives. This year’s student cohorts are wrapping up their second semester at CSU, and will spend the last two semesters of their graduate work in places like Kenya, Peru and Namibia.

Pam Smith, CNHP Botanist (right), shows a CLTL student (left) how to identify the rare plant Bell's twinpod (Physaria bellii).
CNHP staff members Pam Smith, Jeremy Siemers and Susan Panjabi, along with Director Dave Anderson and Crystal Strouse from the City of Fort Collins Natural Areas Department, taught CLTL students basic field survey methods and resource management skills at Coyote Ridge Natural Areas in Fort Collins. The students learned about resource management challenges and successes from Crystal Strouse, City of Fort Collins Natural Areas Department Botanist. CNHP staff discussed issues with prairie dog management and rare plant management in public parks. The students got hands on training collecting qualitative and quantitative field data using different kinds of sampling plots and photo monitoring points. The CLTL students can use these field skills to design similar studies as they head out to their study sites across the world.

CLTL graduate students learn to sample vegetation plots at Coyote Ridge Natural Area, Fort Collins.
CLTL students preparing to go out in the field at Coyote Ridge Natural Area after an introduction from Crystal Strouse (left), City of Fort Collins.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Colorado Wetlands App Now Available for Android and iPhones

Just in time for field season, the Colorado Natural Heritage Program is pleased to announce the release of the Colorado Wetlands Mobile App! The App is available for FREE at both the Google Play Store and iTunes App Store.

The Colorado Wetland Mobile App contains three main sections:

Wetland Plants: Detailed descriptions and photos of 711 plant species found in Colorado’s wetland and riparian areas. The plants are searchable through many different search criteria and filters.

Wetland Maps: Access to digital National Wetland Inventory (NWI) maps. The App shows NWI maps for the entire state of Colorado and can use location information from the device to show mapped wetland where the user is located. The Maps screen can also be used to search for wetland plants potentially found at the user’s location.

Wetland Types: Brief description of the most common wetland and   riparian types found in Colorado.
Wetland types can also be used as a filter for searching plant species.

For more information, see the user's manual online.

CNHP welcomes your feedback! Comments and questions can be addressed to Denise Culver or Joanna Lemly.