Colorado State University is celebrating a century of field education, research and conservation as part of Pingree Park’s 100th anniversary Aug. 9.
The primary purpose of CSU’s mountain campus 50 miles west of Fort Collins is to give students an opportunity to truly experience education in a natural setting. Pingree serves as a field base for instruction, conferences, workshops and research activities for more than 5,000 annual visitors, and its cabins, classrooms and labs are used by more than 200 students and faculty in CSU’s Warner College of Natural Resources each summer.
Pingree also hosts about 1,500 area elementary students each fall for Eco Week, and features a Challenge Course that is designed for team-building and personal growth.
Highlights from the weekend anniversary event include a barbecue, guided hikes, history tours, ecology talks, a campfire program, a beer garden and live music. Overnight housing options also are available for the weekend.
“The 100-year anniversary is about appreciating the perseverance of Pingree. The Ramsey and Koenig families homesteaded here; the early forestry and natural resource students put up with rugged conditions to study; and today environmental education students and conference guests can still enjoy the wild moose and sound of the coyotes calling,” said Pat Rastall, director of the Pingree Park Mountain Campus. “Hopefully Pingree retains its beauty and people will continue to enjoy all the natural wonders of the valley for the next 100 years.”
Over the years, Pingree has weathered fires, floods and a tornado. While the facilities have stood the test of time, the 100-year anniversary is a reminder that the campus must plan for the future. Fundraising for 16 new cabins is underway to replace the student cabins that date back to 1948. The new cabins will be energy-efficient, increase the number of beds available for students, and feature larger porches for outdoor gatherings and study sessions.
The 1,200-acre campus sits at 9,000 feet above sea level adjacent to Rocky Mountain National Park.
Commemorative posters featuring the 100-year anniversary also are available on the website as part of a fundraising campaign to support the facilities and programs at Pingree.