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NoCo Nature Festival

Nature Festival

Come spread your wings and branch out with a new festival that celebrates the unique nature of Northern Colorado. The Northern Colorado Birding Fair is getting a new name, a new location and a whole lot more pizzazz! The NoCo Nature Festival replaces the Birding Fair on Saturday, September 27, 2014 at Nix Farm Natural Area in Fort Collins.

Everyone is invited to a free day of fun and learning for the entire family that includes live animals, interactive activities, live music, food, vendors, presentations, giveaways, a nature costume contest and more! Free parking and shuttle available. Come join in on this nature-filled festival!

Direct questions to Heather Young at (970) 619-4489 or

Birding Fair


Nix Farm Natural Area
1745 Hoffman Mill Road
Fort Collins, CO 80524

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Festival Agenda


7 a.m. Bird Walk Rocky Mountain Bird Observatory Bird Banding Station
8 a.m. Bird Walk Presentation: Watchable Wildlife - Raptor Watch Berthoud Lion's Club begins serving breakfast
9 a.m. Bird Walk Nature quest activity booths open
9:15 a.m. Presentation: Wolves
9:30 a.m. Wildlife camera walk with the Rocky Mountain Cat Conservancy
10 a.m. Presentation: Sunprinting Nature Art Food and live music begin
11 a.m. Presentation: Spellbinding Nature Stories for Everyone!
11:15 a.m. Wildlife camera walk with the Rocky Mountain Cat Conservancy
11:45 a.m. Nature costume contest and Butterfly Release
Noon Live music
12:15 p.m. Presentation: Nature Under the Microscope with Gardens on Spring Creek
12:30 p.m. Wildlife camera walk with the Rocky Mountain Cat Conservancy
1 p.m. Presentation: Reptiles with Zoological Discovery Center Weather walk with CoCoRaHS
1:15 p.m. Open House with Joshua, the Black-Footed Ferret
2 p.m. Presentation: Masked Bandit of the Short Grass Prairie
2:45 p.m. Lady Bug Release
3 p.m. Event closes


Bird walks
Join expert birders from Rocky Mountain Bird Observatory on these tours that will help you become more familiar with the local birds and help build up your birding skills. Bird walks count towards your Nature Quest passport.

Rocky Mountain Bird Observatory Banding Station
See science in action at a migratory bird banding station run by the Rocky Mountain Bird Observatory! Biologists will be capturing wild birds and fitting them with uniquely numbered leg bands. During this process, the biologists will share interesting features about the bird and discuss its life history with visitors. This is a unique opportunity to see, hear and even touch our avian allies. The data collected contributes to a better understanding of bird ecology and management.

Nature quest activity booths
Earn your 2014 NoCo Nature Festival binoculars by completing nature quest activities. Find out about which animals make what tracks and how birds avoid obstacles and camouflage themselves against predators — and that's just for starters! You can earn a stamp at each nature quest activity booth you go to. You can also attend presentations or walks for a stamp.

Wildlife camera walks with the Rocky Mountain Cat Conservancy
The Rocky Mountain Cat Conservancy (RMCC) is dedicated to promoting wild cat conservation through research and community stewardship. Despite the mountain lion being one of the top three predators in North America, along with the grizzly bear and wolf, surprisingly there have only been a few studies on this keystone species. With human-mountain lion encounters on the rise, there is much we don't know about this elusive cat, especially along the urban-wildland interface.

Communities, Cameras, and Conservation (CCC) is a citizen-science program started in 2008 that utilizes local students and volunteers to monitor local wildlife via remote cameras. In addition to establishing a permanent outdoor, wildlife-based curriculum at Front Range Community College, CCC projects establish a connection to conservation through hands-on education where no such opportunity currently existed. CCC creates a new opportunity for community members to engage in citizen science research and serve as conservation envoys by raising the level of awareness of the wildlife in their backyard.

Nature costume contest
As part of the Northern Colorado Nature Festival, come and show off your dressing-up and costuming skills in our nature costume contest! Will you be the best angler? What might a forest fairy look like? Have you got the perfect beak and tail for a hawk? Any nature-related costume is welcome to enter, so get creative! The best costume in each category will be awarded a prize donated by REI.

  • Seedling – ages 5 and under – Kid's camp chair
  • Cub – ages 6-10 – Flash 18 pack
  • Bloom – ages 11 and up – Flash 18 pack
  • Flock – families and groups of two or more
    (everyone in the group should wear a costume!) – Nesting tableware set for 4

Registration for the contest begins at 11:15 a.m. to the west of the music stage, and the parade of costumes starts at 11:45 a.m. Prizes will be awarded at the music stage at 12:15 p.m., followed immediately by a butterfly release by the winners and photos with Smokey Bear! Show off what you love about and love to do in the wonderful nature of northern Colorado!

Weather walk with Community Collaborative Rain, Hail, and Snow Network (CoCoRaHS)
Every hour of every day is a perfect time for a weather walk. There is always something special to see (sky and clouds) and feel (wind, warmth and moisture). Join Nolan Doesken, Colorado State climatologist, for an hour of watching and weather and discussing the facts, figures and reasons that help explain northern Colorado's fascinating climate.

Food provided by Nomad, Silver Seed, and Ba-nom-a-nom.

Live music

  • 10 a.m. – noon – Acoustic Aires
  • Noon – 2 p.m. – Fall River Road


Buff up on your nature knowledge and meet some cool critters during this year's presentation line-up!

8 a.m. – Watchable Wildlife: Raptor Watch with Carin Avila of the Rocky Mountain Raptor Program
Join the Rocky Mountain Raptor Program to get tips, fun factoids, and field markings on where to go to find winter resident raptors in the northern Colorado area. Carin Avila, education director, will share these with you, then you can visit the RMRP exhibit and see live raptors on display!

9:15 a.m. – Wolves with WOLF Sanctuary
WOLF is a wolf refuge located in Rist Canyon. This presentation is roughly a 45-minute discussion about the basics of wolf biology, behavior, and ecology in addition to covering the issues surrounding wolf-dogs and the captive wildlife crisis.

10 a.m. – Sunprinting Nature Art with City of Fort Collins Natural Areas
Sunshine brings out the variety and depth of beauty in nature. Bring the exposed beauty into your home by creating your own, unique sun print! Utilizing special photo paper, natural objects, and plain water, you can develop a snapshot of your favorite parts of nature to display at home. All materials are provided and a short demonstration of the process will be provided.

11 a.m. – Spellbinders: Spellbinding Nature Stories for Everyone!
Did you ever wonder how day and night came to be? Come and enjoy stories told by Spellbinders Oral Storytellers of Larimer County about crows, frogs, eagles, bears, and even bats that celebrate our connections to nature through legends, folktales, and fables. Don't miss this one!

12:15 p.m. – Nature Under the Microscope with Gardens on Spring Creek
Learn how trees get water from their roots to their leaves, how leaves breathe and more by observing plant parts under a microscope.

1 p.m. – Reptiles with the Zoological Discovery Center
Meet live reptiles with the Zoological Discovery Center, a non-profit dedicated to educating and sparking a passion for the conservation of wildlife by providing a chance to connect with our animals like never before. We strive to create an environment that helps people gather knowledge about animals, nature, and the need for conservation through in-house and outreach education programs, wildlife rescue and rehabilitation, endangered species breeding programs, and more interaction with animals than a traditional zoo.

1:15 p.m. – Open House with Joshua, the Black-Footed Ferret
Come visit Kimberly Fraser and her black-footed ferret, Joshua before their presentation, Masked Bandit of the Short Grass Prairie, at 2 p.m.

2 p.m. – Masked Bandit of the Short Grass Prairie with Kimberly Fraser
Come explore life on the short grass prairie by learning about a prairie species that is one of the most endangered mammals in North America. Thought to be extinct in the late 1970s, the black-footed ferret (BFF) was rediscovered and the species given a second chance. BFF recovery efforts continue today to save the ferret with many federal, state, tribal, and NGO partners. This is a conservation story you won't want to miss. A live black-footed ferret will be there for you to meet!

Thanks to our presenting sponsor!

Poudre Pet and Feed Supply

Fort Fund Larimer County Natural Resources Colorado Lottery OtterCares KRFC REI Fort Collins

City of Fort
Collins Utilities

City of Fort Collins Natural Areas

Gallegos Sanitation, Inc.

Gardens on
Spring Creek

Northern Colorado Herpetological Society

Larimer County Natural Resources

Background Image: Mariana Butte Golf Course by Steve Moore. All rights reserved.