2019 Report on Public Impact - Sand Creek Regional Greenway Partnership

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02 | Report on Public Impact Sand Creek Regional Greenway Partnership Board of Directors–November 21, 2019


Thirty years ago, a handful of visionaries devoted their energies to a green corridor tucked between industry and freeway and airport runways. They made it into a wonderful place—a trail for walking, bicycling, wandering, commuting, and communing with nature—our Sand Creek Regional Greenway. Because of these founders' partnership, this green space is saved for all of us and for the turkeys, egrets, frogs, deer, songbirds and eagles. We’re here to help repair and restore habitat, to support trail development, to be a bridge to the community. We also seek discover future

L to R, front row: Ann Prouty (Faegre Baker Daniels), Rene’ Bullock (Community Volunteer), Beth Nobles (Executive Director, SCRGP), Shannon McAvoy (Secretary, Community Volunteer), Rachel Crouch (Bluff Lake Nature Center), Christopher Herndon (Denver City Council), Jim Mock (South Adams County Water and Sanitation District), Kerry O’Connell (Mortenson). L to R, second row: Jim Dorsch (Metro Wastewater Reclamation District), Paul Frohardt (Board chair 2019, Water Quality Control Commission), Jim Spaanstra (Faegre Baker Daniels). L to R, back row: Jason Coffey (Senior Trails Planner, Denver, staff partner), Neil Cowan (Xcel Energy), Rob Price (Treasurer, Denver Botanic Gardens), Tom Tobiassen (Board Chair 2020, Bicycle Aurora), Jim Thomas (Minor & Brown), Kristin Memmott (Natural Resource Specialist, City of Aurora staff partner), Sam Moody (ZIM Consulting), Bob LeGare (2020 Vice Chair, Mayor of Aurora, retired). Not pictured: Owen Brown (Stapleton Mac Repair), Rich Reading (Butterfly Pavilion), Traci Ferguson (Parks Planner, City of Commerce City staff partner), Oscar Madera (Commerce City City Council), Beth Chacon (2019 board member, Xcel Energy)

stewards for the trail, so that the original vision for the Greenway will flourish and endure. While 2019 has been a year of trail

Below, L: Aurora Staff Partner, Kristin Memmott with Education Program Manager and Events Coordinator, Monique Fair. R: Executive Director, Beth Nobles

closures and detours for required infrastructure work, we've worked hard behind the scenes to support and improve the Greenway. We're happy to share this Report on Public Impact with our Sand Creek community with our heartfelt thanks for your support.

December 2019

14 miles of trail and a critical connector in the Denver metro trail network

03 | Report on Public Impact


The Sand Creek Regional Greenway Partnership improves, preserves and promotes the natural, recreational and cultural resources of the Sand Creek Regional Greenway corridor, including priority trail connections for the education and enjoyment of the public, linking communities throughout the watershed.

With the successful ballot initiative in 2018, Denver secured the necessary funding to complete paving their section of the Sand Creek Greenway trail, and a major milestone in our thirty-year vision is in sight. Groundbreaking is expected to take place in 2020. In 2018, Commerce City completed a major environmental and habitat restoration project along our Greenway, in addition to paving the remainder of their section of the trail. Aurora has already completed installation of their section of the trail, opting to keep some of it soft-surface to accommodate the use of the Greenway by equestrians. A paved trail isn't everything, of course. There's plenty of habitat work to do to revitalize the Greenway's environmental health, and we need to continue our work supporting the next generation of trail stewards.

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Today, our communities are benefiting from the powerful work of the NE Metro GoWild Coalition, a collection of 12 governments and nonprofit organizations doing work in four underserved neighborhoods. The coalition began programming in 2017 and with funding from Great Outdoors Colorado, Sand Creek has

2019 Education/Appreciation 70 Volunteer 14 Information/Outreach 24 Recreation/Transportation 1

dramatically increased the reach of our public programming and environmental education for kids. We've been able to do even more by collaborating and partnering with other coalition members.

2,105 people reached in public programs in 2019

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VOLUNTEERS What would we do without our volunteers? They are the heart of our work to improve and support the Greenway. We hosted 14 major volunteer efforts in 2019 - and we look forward to building more opportunities in the future: Citizen Science training sessions in butterfly monitoring (with The Butterfly Pavilion) and the use of eBird in our Winter Bird Count (with Denver Audubon and Denver Parks and Recreation) Earth Day Greenway Walk, Trail Cleanup and Milkweed Seed Bomb Dispersal (with Walk2Connect) Specially created corporate trail cleanup and volunteer days Service learning experiences for schoolchildren and their teachers - combining environmental learning with volunteer work Public volunteer workdays in each of our three cities - augmented by presentations and trainings by scientists and naturalists from: American Birding Association Metro Wastewater Reclamation District Denver Botanic Gardens The Butterfly Pavilion Aurora Open Space Denver Parks and Recreation Supported individual volunteers with trail cleanup and "ride reports" by bicycle











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In our work, we're moving beyond the fundamental goals of connecting and engaging with nature and building good stewards for the outdoors. We're linking nature exploration with critical thinking skills and social engagement to inspire cognitive development and physical activity. Recognizing some kids may not have clothes for outdoor play, we've started a "clothes closet" for kids in underserved neighborhoods. Lessons and activities included: Field trips to the Greenway Learning prey-predator relationships by dissecting owl pellets Survival of the species games on creek-restoration principles Pollinators and flower structures Bird adaptions - "What do you eat with that beak?" Dirt vs. soil - pottery and soil painting activities Invertebrates and water quality "What makes a fish a fish?" "How fast is a fox?" Habitat memory games Trail etiquette and nature excursions And many more lessons about our natural world We're working all across the Northeast Metro area in schools, afterschool programs, Boys & Girls Clubs, parks, recreation centers and on the Greenway itself.

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In 2019, our staff reached kids in locations all across the northeast metro area including: Moorhead Recreation Center Kenton Elementary School Montbello Recreation Center Pioneer Park, Commerce City Vickers Boys & Girls Club Montview Boys & Girls Club Suncor Boys & Girls Club Broncos Boys & Girls Club Peoria Elementary School Fronterra Park Boston Boys & Girls Club Hanson Elementary School Dupont Elementary School Boettcher Boys & Girls Club MacAuliffe International School and other parks, COMPASS and afterschool programs and recreation centers

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HABITAT RESTORATION A continuing priority for our work is to restore the Greenway's environmental health. This work cannot be done without the giving nature of our volunteers and donors; and our partnerships with the cities of Aurora, Denver and Commerce City. At the end of 2018, Sand Creek staff successfully completed a years-long process to transfer significant natural resources funding - $921,000 in total - to Aurora and Denver to restore areas for bird habitat. A look back at early photos of the Greenway tell us how far we've come. Consider the results at Commerce City's Wetland Park - again a team effort among city officials, corporate and individual donors, and our nonprofit Sand Creek Regional Greenway Partnership.

WHAT'S IN STORE FOR THE FUTURE? With the help of Service Systems Associates and Xcel Energy Day of Service volunteers, ground was prepared and seeds planted for our first Sand Creek pollinator garden in 2019. We're planning more pollinator gardens on the Greenway to restore the land and provide an additional learning laboratory for service learning opportunities in the future. We're reviving the Sand Creek Weed Management Group to manage unwanted species with our key land partners, including our cities.










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This year we partnered with Bike Shop Girl Family Cyclery on weekly #coffeeoutside gatherings at Stapleton's Fulton Park, and monthly Kidical Mass bike rides from the bike shop to the Smith Road trailhead on Sand Creek Greenway.

We contracted with Walk2Connect to conduct walk audits to connect the Globeville, Swansea and Elyria neighborhoods with the Greenway at Dahlia trailhead.

We're continuing to seek new partnerships with businesses, community members and nonprofit organizations with shared goals - any way we can extend the work of our small staff of two. Case in point - our sponsorship of Butterfly Monitoring training conducted with Sand Creek volunteers by The Butterfly Pavilion, which got more volunteers involved in supporting critical Greenway species.

10 | Report on Public Impact Testimonial from Bikes Together's Bike Camp Director, MacKenzie Hardt about


detour signage between Quebec and Central Park Blvd bridge:

AND SIGNAGE Infrastructure projects - required to prevent urban flooding and to support continued development interrupted trail access and our outreach program plans in 2019. We worked with city officials and

"I am the camp director for Bikes Together Bike Camp in Denver. In the summer of 2019 we had over 100 campers ride along the Sand Creek Regional Greenway section with the detour.

contractors to provide as accurate and timely

I was very excited to see all the signage along information about closures and detours with posts on the route. The large aerial photo and map at social media, our website and eblasts. the start and finish of the detour was Sand Creek Greenway staff lobbied for improved detour signage and received a terrific response from the contractor Mortenson on the lengthy closure between Quebec and Central Park Boulevard Bridge.

invaluable. Even more important was the large number of detour signs with arrows along the route. These were placed with enough frequency that riders were always within sight of a detour sign. This allowed my staff to always know where they were. Without the amount and types of signage that was placed along this route, Bike Camp would not have been able to ride in this area. I very much appreciate the care that was given to this detour in making it possible for cyclists to continue riding in this area."

Sand Creek Regional Greenway Partnership Beth Nobles, Executive Director bnobles@sandcreekgreenway.org Monique Fair, Education Program Manager and Events Coordinator







mfair@sandcreekgreenway.org Bicycle

7350 E. 29th Ave., Suite 300 Denver, CO 80238 www.sandcreekgreenway.org 303-468-3263