We arrived early on Friday at the Nature and Raptor Center of Pueblo (NRCP), located on the banks of the Arkansas River in the shade of Cottonwood trees shimmering gold in their fall foliage. Our workshop was with a passel of energetic kids who were enrolled in the Center's weekly nature camp. We started the workshop with a basic intro to Leave No Trace principles in the the Center's yurt, as spacious and comfortable a classroom as we've enjoyed. After "talking the talk" indoors, we moved outside and into the beautiful autumn day where we could literally "walk the walk" regarding durable surfaces and choosing the right trail. As we explored the Center's grounds, the kids developed a clear understanding of the durable and resilient materials underfoot, and the consequences of choosing to travel on sensitive materials of low durability. We ended our walkabout with a game of "Durable Hop, Skip, and Jump," which we chalked out in front of the yurt.
Durable Hop, Skip, and Jump
After lunch, it was the kids' turn to treat us to a tour of the Center's raptor rehabilitation facility, where injured and orphaned birds of prey are nursed through recovery and prepared for release back into the wild. In fact, we were able to witness the release of a beautiful great horned owl that had come to the Center as an orphaned owlet earlier this past summer. Director John Gallagher and his staff run a fascinating program that appeals to all ages with its message of responsible environmental education and decision-making.