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Community Agricultural Alliance: Spring in the valley for Yampatika

Joe Haines/For Steamboat Today
Community Agriculture Alliance
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Spring in the Yampa Valley is truly a time of transition. While the ski season enters its last month, we have 50 and 60 degrees plus days in the valley. This year, spring has sprung particularly early, and we have opportunities to ski in the morning and paddleboard in the afternoon.

This is also a time of transition for Yampatika. We wrapped up our winter programs last week and are deep into planning for the summer. School-based activities, such as our Environmental Literacy Program, are on their own spring break and will be picking up again in May.

The one thing certain for Yampatika is that being an environmental steward does not involve taking a break. With varying conditions due to quickly changing weather and melting snow, now is a key time to be aware of surroundings and the potential impact we are having when we are out in nature.

Trails are often muddy and still impassable in certain locations. Snowshoeing and backcountry skiing may not be possible in your favorite spot until we get a good storm. Also, has anyone else noticed all the gifts our four-pawed furry friends left us during the winter now that the snow is melting away?

Being aware of our environment and our impact is a year-round responsibility.

A great way to pass on that sense of responsibility to the next generation is to have your child attend one of our summer camps. These environment and science-based camps offer youth a great, fun opportunity to continue to build on what they learned during the school year.

In addition to our regular camps, we have added overnight camping trips to Walden that are moose themed and a trip to Dinosaur National Monument with a Land Before Time-themed camp. The season will end with a weeklong backpacking experience for our 13- to 15-year-old Wilderness Rangers, which will include five days of backpacking along the Continental Divide.

For more information about these camps, visit yampatika.org. Costs vary by program, and discounts and scholarships are available.

Adult summer programs will kick-off in June. Programs will include birding, wildflower walks, medicinal herb walks and mineral springs tours. There will also be new hikes and tours this summer related to geology and watershed. Yampatika is also finishing up a new hiking book to help celebrate it’s 25th anniversary, so be on the lookout for that just in time for the summer hiking season.

One of the true early summer highlights will be Yampatika’s 17th Annual Wild Edible Feast on June 8. This years’ event will be held at Haymaker Golf Course, and the format will be a little different than past events. What will not be different is the great pairing of sustainable-picked wild edibles with unique proteins. Tickets go on sale April 1 for this one-of-a-kind event.

Check out Yampatika’s website at yampatika.org for the latest program information and to learn more about upcoming events.

Joe Haines is executive director of Yampatika.


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