The Durango Nature Center is a hybrid between a place that is kept in its natural state and managed to maximize observation of native species.
This means that although we try to allow flora and fauna to exist without much interference from us, we occasionally provide ways to make it an educational experience for visitors. When we can provide these opportunities through community partnerships, those experiences are that much more valuable.
Adaptation is a word that is used often in Durango Nature Studies’ curriculum.
Adaptations are traits that help a species or an animal survive. On a day-to-day scale for humans, adaptations are also small changes in the way we view the world – changing our perspective in a situation to make the best of it. Like the animals we study, humans are constantly adapting to their environment.
Durango Nature Studies’ summer camp is in full swing, and our first session of campers had to adapt to
There has been much concern lately about water-quality levels in the Animas Watershed. We often take for granted that rivers can be floated, jumped in and enjoyed, especially in a town such as Durango with the Animas running through it and multiple rivers in the area feeding into the river system. This certainly is disheartening, but it is important to teach students why these things happen and ways they can make a difference.
Durango Nature Studies strives to use STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) and nature education to learn about nature’s systems so that ultimately we will create scientists of the future that will make thoughtful decisions about how humans interact with natural systems.
My son got a gecko for Christmas and named him Binx.
He has always had a fascination with lizards in the wild. Many parents who send their kids to Durango Nature Studies’ summer camps can share in this common bond.
Lizards are a draw. When we first brought Binx home, he was covered with vibrant colors, but as the days passed, he began to fade into a milky, dull version of himself. Then, of course, he shed his skin and promptly ate it, showing off his vibrant new colors.
Thomas Berry, the great cultural historian and writer, wrote in his book Befriending the Earth: “We are talking only to ourselves. We are not talking to the rivers, we are not listening to the wind and stars.”
Berry’s statement is more true than ever, especially in a time when it is so important for humans to connect to their natural world.
The way kids are brought up to talk about nature influences what is important to them. The recent publication of the Oxford Junior Dictionary, which limits its word count to 10,000, symbolizes a disconnection with nature.
As we kick into high gear trying to live up to our New Year’s resolutions, the wildlife in our area go about their business.
For an animal living at higher elevations, the goal in January is to survive and adapt to the snow and food shortage. I suppose, if we anthropomorphize a bit, we could say that a New Year’s resolution might be to store even more food this year, to find a warmer winter sleeping spot or to actually gain a little weight this season. Oh, what it would be to have that as a goal.
The holidays are upon us whether we’re ready or not and with or without the snow.
The winter solstice Dec. 21 is the year’s shortest day and brings with it the official onset of winter. It also is a day of hope, as it heralds the gradual return of longer periods of sunlight after prolonged darkness.
The term solstice means “sun stands still.” On the winter solstice, the sun appears to stop in its
Durango Nature Studies celebrates its 20th year this year.
For a nonprofit, this is quite a milestone, and like most nonprofits, we have had our ups and downs, we have regrouped and reformed, we have grown in our understanding of our place in the community.
On Sunday, Durango and the rest of the U.S. experienced a supermoon, a time when the moon’s elliptical orbit is closest to the Earth, making the moon appear larger than usual. For those of you who went on Durango Nature Studies’ monthly full-moon hike, you learned a lot about the moon during this special night.
I happen to be in upstate New York on a trip to the Hudson River with my mother as I write this column. As the bus drove back to the hotel after a long day of touring, everyone looked at the moon,
My family just returned from a quintessential summer road trip to Yellowstone National Park.
While there, I saw something that will stay with me forever. We hiked to a small mountain lake surrounded by fields of wildflowers and views of mountains. On a small stream that comes into the lake, the native cutthroat trout that live in the lake were moving upriver to spawn.
I had never actually seen this spectacle before, but the sight of hundreds of brightly marked fish, each more than a foot long, making their way diligently upstream was a true wonder of nature. We saw places