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The Eagle Comes to ACES

An August 1982 Jeep adventure to Picnic Point on Richmond Ridge of Aspen Mountain turned into a rescue operation for Jim Hamilton. He discovered a grounded golden eagle, unable even to walk. The eagle’s fierce gaze and sharp, menacing talons gave Jim pause, so he motored to Hallam Lake and reported his discovery. Years of experience with less than exact directions to wild animals in distress compelled me to insist he accompany me back up the mountain. With welder’s gloves for protection I immobilized the broken bird in a heavy blanket and returned to Hallam Lake.


2013 Annual Membership Dinner

Posted in Bulletin Board

Thank you to our wonderful community of members who attended our Annual Membership Dinner: Picnic on the Preserve. A special thanks goes out to our sponsors: Obermeyer Asset Management and Stirling Peak Properties. Thank you for making the event possible!


Serviceberry in Spring

It’s that magical time of year where new bursts of life color the landscape seemingly overnight, and my early evening wanders around the Woody Creek ranch I call home have become a daily occurrence. My eyes are peeled for subtle changes in plant phenology—periodic life cycle events such as budburst, first leaf and first flower—that I’m tracking as part of ACES’ Community Field Lab citizen science initiative.


The Solution to Climate Change

Posted in Bulletin Board

Orinigally published on April 18, 2013, in the Aspen Daily News "Green Issue" of Time Out.


American Pasqueflower & ACES Community Field Lab phenology projects

A couple of times a week I walk a loop from Hallam Lake down the Rio Grande trail and up through the Meadows and through the West End. In the past year I have been recording the changing of the seasons by photographing and taking notes about the snow on the mountains, water in the creeks, changes to plants (phenology), and presence of animals.


Birding in Monte Vista

sandhill cranes, birding, colorado

Alamosa isn’t the first place you think of when you’re planning an early-spring weekend getaway. Known mostly for being Gunnison’s rival as the coldest spot in the state, Alamosa is 250 miles away from Aspen, a five-hour drive this time of year (via Glenwood Springs, Minturn and Leadville).


The White-faced Ibis and the Power of Citizen Science

We’ve had a lot of fun with all of our Rock Bottom Ranch (RBR) visitors this spring, but two in particular have stood out. This week we’ve been graced by a pair of White-faced Ibis, who have been spotted multiple times flying around the Ranch and feeding in the pastures! This highly nomadic bird strikes a dramatic figure next to the Canadian Geese and Mallard Ducks that are our usual avian visitors. Its plumage appears black under some conditions, but when hit by sunlight it reveals itself to be an iridescent blue-green.


Rabbit: a Healthy, Nutritious, Sustainable (and Underappreciated) Food

Posted in Ranch Report
Spring at Rock Bottom Ranch

Article originally published in Edible Aspen's Spring 2013 Issue.

Raising animals for food in your backyard is a great way to fundamentally change the way you look at our food system, and your land. Yet if you have limited space, your options for livestock can be limited. A cow in a suburban backyard is likely to depress your neighborhood’s home values, and too many meat chickens might warrant a visit from the health inspector.


Third Grade Nature Detectives

Posted in Kids' Corner

In environmental education class Aspen Elementary School (AES) third grade students have been learning about what it takes to be a naturalist detective in the winter. Ask any AES 9 year old, and they’ll tell you that you can look for animal clues in the snow to help create a story of who has been out and about. Nibbled pinecones mean a pine squirrel has been chomping away in the trees up above. Scat along the trail means a coyote has been trotting around looking for dinner. Long rubbings on aspen trees mean elk have been busy scratching their teeth to consume the bark.


Bird Nerding with a Kid

Posted in Bulletin Board
Chickadee

My oldest son Jack (5.5) has had an interest in nature for most of his life. Yes, we get outside a lot living down at Hallam Lake, but Jack is into books, videos and computers too. Nature shows like “Wild America” and “Zoboomafoo” by National Geographic, and bird and mammal field guides, have been a part of his afternoon quiet time for most of his life. During the past couple of years we have been identifying birds visiting our feeder. It began simply enough with magpies and robins, but our list has been steadily growing.