Butterflies, improved biking, photo contest, volunteering, sign language

Fort Collins gets Big Jump toward improving bicycling

Fort Collins is one of 10 cities to receive a Big Jump Project grant from the national bike advocacy group PeopleForBikes. 

With an ambitious goal to reach 20-percent bike-to-work mode share by 2020, FCBikes is working to secure funding for and implement a convenient and safe bike network throughout the community. The Big Jump Project grant will focus on improving bike infrastructure in Council District 6.

As a program participant, Fort Collins will annually receive the equivalent of $200,000 in technical support from PeopleForBikes, as well as an additional $50,000 in matching funds or financial commitments from local organizations.

"The Big Jump Project will provide valuable resources and will serve as a springboard as Fort Collins focuses on being a community where people of all ages and abilities can safely and comfortably ride a bike," says Tessa Greegor, FC Bikes program manager.

Over the course of the next three years, Fort Collins and other selected cities will be laboratories for innovation, ultimately illustrating the ways in which U.S. cities and towns can tap into bicycles to radically improve the health and vitality of their communities.

"From encouraging physical activity to helping with congestion, from better connecting people to work training and education to bolstering economic development, bikes are a rather inexpensive way to improve communities," says PeopleForBikes Director of Local Innovation Kyle Wagenschutz. "Communities are not looking at bikes as a catalyst for change on their own, but rather as an important part of the momentum happening to change cities for the better."

For more information, call 970-221-6705 or visit www.fcgov.com/bicycling.

Butterflies coming to Fort Collins

The City of Fort Collins, Gardens on Spring Creek and Butterfly Pavilion (in Westminster) have partnered to build and operate a permanent North American butterfly house in Fort Collins. 

The house will reside at the Gardens on Spring Creek, 2145 Centre Ave., in Fort Collins. Butterfly Pavilion and Gardens will operate it jointly. The 1,700-square foot conservatory will house up to 400 free-flying North American butterflies with thousands of blooming flowers. The butterfly house plans to open to the public in 2019.

“This is…monumental…for the Gardens on Spring Creek. We have been working together with Butterfly Pavilion for over two years, and this [partnership] will directly amplify our mission to enrich the lives of people while fostering environmental stewardship through horticulture,” says Michelle Provaznik, Gardens on Spring Creek executive director. 

“Butterfly Pavilion creates one-of-a-kind, irreplaceable experiences for our visitors," adds Patrick Tennyson, Butterfly Pavilion president and CEO.  "We make memories that last a lifetime and provide opportunities for every guest to make an intimate connection with our natural world. We are thrilled to be expanding our efforts in northern Colorado with Gardens on Spring Creek.” 

In addition to the butterfly house, the Gardens will be adding a conservatory (year-round green space), more offices and a larger visitor-friendly lobby, and expanding its community meeting room.

For more information about the butterfly house and expansion, visit www.fcgov.com/gardens/about-us/the-project/butterflies-at-the-gardens.

Loveland residents invited to submit photos for contest

The Loveland Parks and Recreation Department invites photographers of all ages to enter its first annual Parks and Recreation Photo Contest.

Entrants can submit up to five original photos that illustrate the quality of life that Parks and through May 31.

Winners will be chosen from five categories: Parks; Open Lands and Trails; Recreation; Golf; and Landscapes and Wildlife. One grand-prize winner also will be chosen. Winning entries will receive $50; the grand-prize winner will receive $100. Additionally, winning photos may be used in Parks and Recreation publications and promotions, and will be featured on the department’s social media accounts. Winners will be announced in July.

For additional information, a full list of rules, waivers and entry forms, stop by the Parks and Recreation Administration office at 500 E. Third St., Ste. 200, or visit www.cityofloveland.org/departments/parks-recreation/promotions/photo-contest.

Larimer County makes volunteering easy

Larimer County Department of Natural Resources launched a registration and volunteer management system, called Offero, on Wednesday, March 1.

Through Offero, members of the public can:

  • View a calendar of events, programs, guided hikes, volunteer projects and more
  • Register for events, programs, guided hikes and volunteer projects (all referred to as "activities" in Offero) after creating a free account (name, email and phone number are required)
  • Apply to volunteer with Larimer County Department of Natural Resources
  • Request a special or group program, or teachers can request a school field trip.
  • Offero also serves as a volunteer management system and database, where volunteers view and sign up for work opportunities and trainings, track their hours and more.

Offero was originally developed several years ago by the City of Fort Collins Natural Areas Department and built by Squarei Technologies, a local Fort Collins company.

The system can be accessed at offero.larimer.org. For questions please contact Teddy Parker-Renga, community relations specialist with Larimer County Department of Natural Resources, at (970) 619-4561 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

UNC awarded $2 million grant for American Sign Language program

UNC's Department of American Sign Language and Interpreting Studies has been awarded a $2 million grant from the Rehabilitation Services Administration of the U.S. Department of Education.

The funding will be used over five years to increase the quality and number of interpreters of color and/or from heritage signing backgrounds (hearing or deaf individuals raised by deaf parents who use ASL in the home) who specialize in the legal system. UNC also contributed more than $185,000 to this project.

It's anticipated the program will prepare more than 150 interpreters of color and from heritage signing backgrounds for work in the legal setting over the life of the grant.

For more information about the project, visit www.unco.edu/project-climb.