SOAPSTONE BISON HERD CELEBRATES 5 YEARS AND OFFERS CREATIVE WAYS TO CELEBRATE
The Laramie Foothills Bison Conservation Herd is celebrating five years of success bringing bison back to the prairie of Northern Colorado while establishing a genetically valuable, brucellosis-free herd that can support bison conservation efforts across the continent. The program is celebrating the milestone with a virtual celebration and self-guided activities on November 7 & 8, 2020.
Saturday, November 7 – 12-1:00 PM Opening Ceremony (virtual via Facebook)
Sunday, November 8
ALL weekend – Self serve activities including: Odell Brewing Company’s “Golden Bison Ale” beer launches exclusively at the Odell Brewing Co. taproom, at home bison art projects/classes from Pinot’s Palette, self-guided hikes and a children’s scavenger hunt at Soapstone Prairie Natural Area and Red Mountain Open Space for a Bison Herd Open House, and a presentation as part of Native American Heritage Month (Nov 10) by the CSU Native American Cultural Center.
Cost: FREE to attend (some at home activities range from $0-$35)
A list of activities and links can be found at https://www.facebook.com/LaramieFoothillsBison
The virtual opening ceremony is a digital collection of partner memories, video footage of the bison on the Soapstone Prairie, presentations of songs by the Iron Family, a performance from award winning blues musician Cary Morin and more. Saturday’s virtual opening ceremony can be viewed exclusively on the Laramie Foothills Bison Conservation Herd’s Facebook page.
Throughout the weekend, the public can engage in virtual and in person activities presented by the many community partners. Pinot’s Palette will offer a virtual bison painting class with a take home kit. Adults can enjoy Odell Brewing Company’s Golden Bison beer crafted for the project and offered exclusively in their taproom with a portion of each beer purchased being donated towards supporting the herd. The Soapstone Prairie Natural Area and Red Mountain Open Space is open throughout the weekend for hiking, exploring and spotting the herd all at your own pace.
Additional ways to support the herd are being offered by Wolverine Farm who has designed a limited artwork to commemorate the anniversary and Intersect Brewing will be donating proceeds from their taproom sales to the herd. From the comfort of homes people can watch video presentations about the bison program: Dr. Barfield’s CSU TedTalk and the interactive science presentation from the Poudre River Public Library’s FoCo Book Fest 2020.
On Sunday, the City of Fort Collins Natural Areas Department has organized a Bison Herd Open House which includes a scavenger hunt and area experts on site from 10:00 AM -12:00 PM, and open hiking at Soapstone Prairie Natural Area and Red Mountain Open Space. That evening, audiences can enjoy a virtual educational talk, “Stewardship Behind the Scenery – The Making of a Herd”. Featuring speakers: Dr. Jennifer Barfield, CSU College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences; Ty Smith, Director, CSU Native American Cultural Center; Matt Sampson, City of Fort Collins Natural Areas; Meegan Flenniken, Larimer County Natural Resources; Liba Pejchar, CSU Warner College of Natural Resources and Jack Rhyan, National Wildlife Research Center, and US Department of Agriculture. Interested people can register for this talk/free zoom event here and download the scavenger hunts and read more details about the Bison Herd Open House here.
The Laramie Foothills Bison Conservation Herd is a collaboration between Larimer County, the City of Fort Collins, the United States Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, and Colorado State University. Bison Days, the 5 year anniversary event partners include: Colorado State University, CSU Native American Cultural Center, Downtown Fort Collins Creative District, City of Fort Collins Natural Areas, Odell Brewing Co., Pinot’s Palette Fort Collins, and Wolverine Farm.
Bringing bison back to this space was also important for local indigenous communities. The partners of the Laramie Foothills Bison Herd respect and honor the presence of the bison in a space that has historical meaning for Native American tribes. The project hopes to provide a space where connections with this animal and land can be re-established. Some of our bison have been given to tribes in support of their efforts to grow their own herds and foster that connection on their own lands. This continues to be part of our mission.
The care of the bison is supported by donations and we are grateful for all support. If you would like to donate to help us continue our work, please visit www.advancing.colostate.edu/bison.