Colorado Master Gardeners talk climate, beekeeping and more at statewide conference in Steamboat |

Colorado Master Gardeners talk climate, beekeeping and more at statewide conference in Steamboat

Megan Walker, left, a local beekeeper and an alumna of Colorado Mountain College's beekeeping club, shows Master Gardeners a brood frame, where bees lay eggs and nurse larvae into bees.
Eleanor C. Hasenbeck

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — When Nolan Doesken first visited the Yampa Valley, he was struck by the sight of a 4-inch in diameter wooden fence post with two feet of snow atop it near Oak Creek.

“It wasn’t all fresh snow. It was several previous snows. There had been no wind enough to blow the snow off those.”

He was here to study weather patterns related to the formation of cold pools, which are large masses of cool air. Doesken would go on to become the state climatologist from 2006 to 2017.

On Thursday, Doesken presented at the Colorado Master Gardener Conference at Colorado Mountain College Steamboat Springs, where he explained the impact that Colorado’s changing climate has on gardening.

Colorado has seen a warming trend across all seasons, Doesken said. The growing season is growing longer, he said, but there is still some irregularity in the trend.

“If you average Colorado’s temperatures together, you find that the last 30 years has turned a corner,” he said, as he pointed to a graph showing average monthly temperatures in the state. “We have had ups and downs, sure, but we are way more on the upside now, over the last 30 years with only a few cold years stuck in there.”

The conference brought about 200 Master Gardeners and presenters to Routt County. Hosted by Routt County Colorado State University Extension office, participants enjoyed workshops on a range of topics, including beekeeping, wildfire-wise landscaping, illustration of garden journals and noxious weeds. The Master Gardeners also participated in three tours of garden projects across the county in North and South Routt County and Strawberry Park.

The Master Gardener program trains individuals in horticulture topics. Volunteers then use this training to help other gardeners and complete gardening projects in their communities.

“There are so many good speakers,” said Routt County Master Gardener Adele Carlson. “The tours — I think everybody is going to be really excited by the tours because there’s so much here to show everybody.”

The conference is only the second Colorado Master Gardeners Conference. The group hopes to hold the conference in a different county every other year. She said the Routt County Master Gardeners learned a lot in planning the conference. They hope to share their tips and experiences with other counties as the conference develops.

“It’s such a great group of people, and everybody is so excited to be here,” Carlson said.

To reach Eleanor Hasenbeck, call 970-871-4210, email or follow her on Twitter, @elHasenbeck.

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