The result of a unique partnership will be recognized today when corporate, state and local officials gather to dedicate the Colorado Environmental Learning Center complex in Fort Collins. Ceremonies will begin at 10 a.m. in the Coors Pavilion/Welcome Center located on 3545 Prospect Road.
Presenters will include Albert C. Yates, president of Colorado State University; Ray Martinez, mayor of Fort Collins; John Schallenkamp, vice president for Engineering and Technology for Coors Brewing Co.; Marcella Wells, director of the Environmental Learning Center; William Jensen, chairman of the Colorado State Tourism Board; Joe Maurier, North Region Park director, Colorado State Parks; Al Dyer, dean of the College of Natural Resources; and Rich Harter, director of the Fort Collins Convention and Visitors Bureau.
The Environmental Learning Center is a 212-acre nature preserve located along the Poudre River and is now part of the recently designated Poudre River Heritage Corridor. This preserve and the new facility at I-25 and Prospect Road form an impressive gateway to Northern Colorado. The new complex is shared by the Colorado Welcome Center, Colorado State Parks North Region office, the City of Fort Collins Convention & Visitors Bureau, and the Environmental Learning Center. Playing host to tourists, residents and students, the Environmental Learning Center offers an array of special programs for hands-on learning about Colorado outdoors. In cooperation with all the building partners, the ELC also provides a wide variety of information about the area’s history, natural resources and tourism amenities.
Through the partnership of Colorado State University, Colorado State Parks, Colorado State Welcome Center, the city of Fort Collins and the generosity of major donors such as Coors Brewing Company, Stryker Short Foundation, K&M Company, Colorado State Forest Service, Great Outdoors Colorado and John Q Hammons Hotels and Resorts, the Environmental Learning Center has been able to maintain and expand special educational programs and conservation and restoration efforts.
The center provides a unique setting where visitors can experience nature and take advantage of:
- an education center that presents natural and cultural history programs for visitors and residents;
- volunteer opportunities for outdoor recreation and service projects by local school students and civic groups;
- hiking along the Poudre River, a wetland self-guided interpretive trail, a watchable wildlife kiosk and a half-mile trail to a wildlife viewing station;
- a learning laboratory to advance young professionals in environmental education and natural resource interpretation;
- a public awareness and education site for partnering with
National Park Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Colorado Division of Wildlife, U.S. Forest Service and other natural resource agencies;
- a Volunteer Youth Ranger program which mentors area youth to serve as stewards of the ELC throughout the year; and
- a retreat for community groups and organizations.
For more information about the Environmental Learning Center, contact Wells at (970) 491-5358.