SUMMER SOLSTICE SUNRISE AT BLUFF LAKE
What a more beautiful way to kick start the summer than by watching the sunrise and sunset at Bluff Lake to celebrate the Summer Solstice. Dr. Phil Schmidt, PhD (Aeronautics and Astronautics/ MIT and Engineering/ Stanford) lead a program where participants modeled the Earth’s movement through the solar system to better understand our seasons and nature’s relationship to planetary alignment. And after a bit of learning, participants got to enjoy roasting marshmallows over the campfire.
FAMILY NATURE ADVENTURE DAY: ROUND 2
A BIG thank you to Denver Public Works and to all the families that joined us for our Mad Science Family Nature Adventure Day on June 17th! We used the power of the sun to cook a snack, learned how to write with invisible ink, and created giant bubbles. Denver Public Works also taught us about urban stormwater and conducted water tests in Bluff Lake’s Sand Creek.
If you missed this round, join us next time on July 15th anytime from 10-1 at Bluff Lake.
DAVID MALLERY JOINS THE TEAM AS NEW EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
David comes to Denver and Bluff Lake with over 30 years of experience in youth and nature programming, conservation, development and public policy work. Early in his career he had the great fortune to help design, build and operate a large youth camp. From there, he went on to become a Federal park ranger for nearly ten years. In this capacity he had the opportunity to help design and build campgrounds, day-use parks and wildlife areas. He also developed and operated environmental education programs, took an active role in the re-establishment of the American Bald Eagle in the SE US, and he even worked with paleontologists to recover a mosasaur, from the Cretaceous Period.
David completed a Master’s degree in Public Policy and Administration while working full time as a park ranger. If you ask David what brought him across the country and to Bluff Lake, he will quickly tell you, “This is my dream job. My entire life and career has been a pathway to Bluff Lake.”
TRIO OF NEW GRANTS
BLNC is the fortunate beneficiary of grants from three different funders that have never given to BLNC in the past. Sometimes it’s difficult to persuade funders to give to new organizations. In the past month, we’ve gotten this great news three times.
First, HDR Foundation has announced an award of $16,000 to BLNC to build a teaching deck next to Sand Creek, where our summer campers go in and wade and explore the waters. Nominated by HDR employee Tina Gurdikian, wife of board member Bob Gurdikian, BLNC’s new deck will serve as a more comfortable changing and learning post for kids exploring our site.
Second, as we announced just about a month ago, Patagonia-Denver gave $2,500 to assist in the native habitat revegetation efforts that need to be conducted following the completion of our Year-Round Lake project.
Third, Melinda Gray Ardia Environmental Foundation is supporting BLNC with a grant of $1,500 toward our Nature Exploration Teams (NETs) program as well. Grants from Melinda Gray Ardia are very competitive and difficult to receive. We feel fortunate to have received a grant for our groundbreaking, multi-day program.
GREAT OUTDOORS COLORADO INSPIRE INITIATIVE: EMPOWERING BLUFF LAKE AND PARTNERS TO GET KIDS OUTDOORS
Great news for BLNC and families in northeast metro Denver: Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO) has announced funding for projects across the state designed to get kids and families outdoors. A total of $13.5 million is being allocated across the state in Phase 1 of this effort, including $2.7 million to the GoWild Northeast Metro Coalition. Of that, approximately $240,000 will be allocated to five projects at Bluff Lake:
- Approximately $72,000 to expand our landmark multi-day environmental science field trip, Nature Exploration Teams
- Approximately $71,000 to convert our shed into a modest welcome and information center for our visitors
- Approximately $48,000 to construct a nature playground
- Approximately $25,000 to begin a Family Adventure Day program on Saturdays
- Approximately $22,000 to hire site management interns to help take care of our site 15 hours a week, six months a year, shared with our neighbor The Urban Farm
Thank you to GOCO for your vision and funding, and to the GoWild Northeast Metro Coalition for including BLNC and believing in our work. In the end, we hope to make a profound difference for kids in the community for many years and generations to come.