What better way to support the facelift at the heavily used Bear Creek Nature Center than with heaping plates of Buffalo Gals barbecue, calico beans, colorful summer salads and a heavenly array of desserts.
Smells from the grills filled the hills nearby had signaled the annual Happy Trails fundraiser on Aug. 25.
Sharing all the good news was Todd Marts, county recreation and cultural services manager. Bear Creek Nature Center received $100,000 from Friends of El Paso County Nature Centers to help spruce up and update the popular 2002 exhibits that are showing a bit of loving wear and tear from 140,000 annual visitors. Another $150,000 comes from the county.
Ideas discussed for the update include "living with wildlife," an interactive exhibit on Colorado's greenback cutthroat trout and a diarama about bear families. Happy Trails attendees remembered one year when bear families came racing toward the center when they smelled the fundraiser barbecue cooking.
At Fountain Creek Nature Center, which will turn 25 years old, plans are for a cultural history exhibit on the history and importance of the creek, "Fountain Creek is the Pathway of History," showing "Fontaine Qui Bouille" from the days of the early settlers. This project is $14,000 away from its goal and it's all for the next generation, said presenters.
The focus of the nature centers is "No Child Left Inside!" and Nature Camper Ambassadors treated guests to the facts they'd learned about things from nature found in the parks and the centers.