The annual Happy Trails BBQ fundraiser at Bear Creek Nature Center went “Happy at Home” this year.
2020 has led to many adaptations, including a Zoom evening replacing an on-site party on Aug. 23, said an on-screen Todd Marts, county recreation/cultural services manager.
Volunteers had delivered Buffalo Gals barbecue meals to pop into the ovens at home, with good-natured video instructions from Michelle Talarico and Kathy Dreiling in their 10th year supporting the centers. And the piece de resistance, a picnic box with all the makings for s’mores, including the sterno. Meals were accompanied by bottles of wine from Sovereignty.
Staff at Bear Creek and Fountain Creek Nature Centers told Zoom guests how they had adapted from the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic. The nature centers were closed from March to May but offered Facebook and YouTube nature videos when more than 100 programs and field trips were canceled.
Centers reopened on a limited basis in May with visitor limitations and masks, along with sanitizing. There were 10 weeks of nature camps outdoors in the park for 200 elementary and middle school youngsters. In the evening’s video, campers said how much the camps meant at a depressing time when they hadn’t been able to be with friends or go outside their homes. A young volunteer said camps “bring me a lot of joy.” One parent wrote that camp had been a benefit to their child’s mental health during the difficult time.
The centers also provided 58 safe outdoor programs for all ages and custom-made 1,000 Nature Activity Outreach Backpacks distributed at free-lunch distribution sites in School Districts 11, 2 and 8.
Marts was enthusiastic about how they had continued to be a community hub “for learning,education and exploration” but challenged supporters for help in the “financial gap” of $30,000 caused by closings and limits during the restrictions. (communityservices.elpasocounty.com/nature-centers/ donations-and-gifts)
Upcoming virtual nonprofit fundraisers
• KPWE Movie Night, “Hidden Figures,” 7 p.m., Sept. 10, scholarships for nontraditional women students at UCCS, Broadmoor World Arena parking lot, tickets $39.50-$50 per car, broadmoorworldarena.com
• Youth Symphony virtual Night of White Lights, 7 p.m. Sept. 19, participants invited to dress up in white and celebrate at home, appetizers and libations picnic basket delivered from Garden of the Gods Catering, $100 per couple, music by Collective Groove, csysa.yapsody.com
•3rd Annual Come Walk With Me Fundraising Breakfast, Springs Recovery Connection, celebrating addiction recovery, virtually this year, on Sept. 24, 7:30 a.m. Register by Sept. 3 for breakfast mailed to homes, Loyal Coffee and Biscotti. srchope.org
• Special Kids Special Families Night of Comedy, Oct. 10. Virtual. Supports Zach’s Place program for kids with disabilities. Comic Steve Mazan. Silent auction. sksfcolorado.org/event/noc