If you’ve felt a little lethargic these days, you’re not alone. The pandemic, combined with winter hibernation, has forced all of us to spend a bit more time on the couch binging Netflix and carbs than we normally would.

It comes as little surprise, then, that studies have shown most of us have been less physically active since the start of the pandemic and subsequent lockdowns. As it turns out, those active steps to and from the fridge don’t add up as quickly as the calories.

If that doesn’t cause a pause in your “new normal” routine, an article in the New York Times examined how the pandemic changed the way people workout. It showed that as things start to normalize, people may not resume their pre-pandemic physical activity.

But, just like realizing you have an extra pint of ice cream in the back of the freezer, there is some good news. As warm weather settles in and we venture outside to enjoy the longer days, Centerra is a premier outdoor destination built on promoting an active lifestyle for all who live and work in northern Colorado. If you’re looking to get back on track with your physical fitness, you’ve come to the right place.


Centerra has it all

Our entire community is designed with wellness and activity in mind. From the ten miles of walking and biking trails throughout Centerra to the additional 26 miles of recreation trails throughout the Loveland community you can access off of Highway 34, there are plenty of ways to get out and get moving safely.

You can join others in the pursuit of health and wellness at Genesis Health Clubs-Miramont Centerra, Barre Forte or the new SPENGA: Spin, Strength and Yoga club opening soon in the Marketplace at Centerra. Or maybe what you need is a post-workout recovery session with a massage at Massage Heights in the Marketplace —you’ve earned it.

Additionally, UCHealth-Medical Center of the Rockies has a variety of programs to help you achieve or maintain good health such as Bright by Three, the Healthy Kids Club and the Living Well series for example. There is also the family-friendly Loveland Classic, a fundraiser for early childhood education that benefits The Thompson Education Foundation. This event organizes a 5K, 10K, broken 15K (where you run both the 5K and 10K) and a kid’s one-mile walk/run each spring. This year, the event will be held Saturday, May 1, and will race around the trails of The Lakes at Centerra.

Regardless of what motivates you to get moving, you’ll find it here at Centerra. Even if it’s just walking around and doing a little retail therapy at the Marketplace or Promenade Shops – we have it all.

Get fit with SPENGA

SPENGA: Sprint, Strength and Yoga is the newest fitness option coming to Centerra. Slated to host a grand opening in late May (depending on construction), SPENGA is Loveland’s first high-intensity interval (HIIT) fitness studio.

Owners Jason and Cari Frink are excited to bring this new style of workout to Loveland and Centerra for the community to enjoy. SPENGA provides an equal focus on three core pillars of fitness:

Each class or session includes 20 minutes of spinning on a stationary bicycle, 20 minutes of HIIT and 20 minutes of yoga for a full-hour workout that’s accompanied by aromatherapy in an inviting atmosphere.

Classes start as early as 5 a.m. and are offered until 6 p.m. on weekdays with additional sessions on weekends. Childcare is offered to members, as well.

“The Centerra location is a home run for me,” co-owner Jason Frink said. “Having the space open at the right time and being near some great stores like Target helps bring customers in.”

Jason is also thrilled to be near the Interstate 25 and U.S. 34 intersection where he can draw people from Johnstown, Greeley, Windsor and other areas of the region easily.

For those concerned with health and safety in light of the pandemic, SPENGA has strict cleaning protocols that have only gotten stricter since COVID-19 began to spread. All of the equipment is thoroughly cleaned between each session so that each participant can focus on their exercise experience.

In addition to the workout, SPENGA’s studio offers an array of amenities to make sure that people can get the most out of their workouts. Extras include:

For those interested, SPENGA is currently offering founding memberships with an ongoing lifetime discount with no payments due until the grand opening. For more information and to sign up, visit lovelandco.spenga.com


Check it out(side)

If exercising indoors is not what you have in mind for spring and summer — no problem! Just take a jog or walk around Chapungu Sculpture Park at Centerra on Sky Pond Drive in Loveland.

This one-of-its-kind sculpture garden is a great place to exercise and get some fresh air and sunshine with the backdrop of unique art. Chapungu, pronounced CHA-poon-goo, is an ideal mix of city and sanctuary.

It’s a place where culture collides with nature to offer 26 amazing acres of natural and landscaped gardens to explore freely and unencumbered. Within that space, visitors can enjoy 82 monumental stone sculptures from Zimbabwean artisans.

Opened in 2007, the outdoor museum continues to entice and reward visitors with its cultural experience, tranquil paths for walks or runs and myriad quiet spots that are perfect for yoga.

The pristine landscape is sure to spur an inner sense of wellbeing that can transfer to outward health and exercise. The Chapungu Sculpture Garden has eight ways for you to move through the installations:

Whichever path you choose, you are sure to learn about traditional Zimbabwean art and culture. The park is free and open to the public daily from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. Grab your sneakers and check it out!


Centerra is open

Whatever you do, don’t let the pandemic stop you from getting in shape! Centerra is open and here to help. Whether it’s a leisurely stroll or a hardcore HIIT workout, you will find it here.



For those of us in northern Colorado with a green thumb, there’s no better way to spend a sunny day than by digging and playing in the garden dirt. Feeling nature shift from cold to warm while snowmelt fuels new plant growth is the epitome of spring rejuvenation—and we’re so ready for it.

This time of year is also a reminder that as we enjoy digging into the dirt, we also have a responsibility as stewards of the local ecosystem. Luckily for those of us living in northern Colorado, Centerra is full of opportunities get your green thumb on while ensuring our environment continues to thrive for years to come.

From the annual plant sale at High Plains Environmental Center (HPEC) to preservation activities like Certified Wild status and an annual Earth Day cleanup, Centerra is packed with ways to appreciate and protect the environment.


Let’s Get Planting With the Annual HPEC Native Plant Sale

The annual event, which is open to the public, is a gardening enthusiast’s spring highlight. If you’re ready to roll up your sleeves and dig into some fresh soil to plant new flowers or grasses, this is the place to start.

The Native Plant Sale will run through Sept. 6, 2021. While the sale is always a favorite for plant enthusiasts locally, it’s also a great source for all levels of growers that might be interested in outfitting their space with eco-friendly options. Browse online to see the range of native plants that conserve water while helping the native environment thrive, including wildlife and even bees.

All plants come in 3.5-inch or narrower 5.5-inch pots (both have the same soil volume). Shop today so you’re equipped in time for the spring planting season.

Some of the plants and flowers available this year include:

The majority of the plants and flowers range in price from $5 to $6, which is a steal for such a great array of native varieties. For that price, you can stock up on a little bit of everything to ensure you have the most “Colorado” garden or backyard on the block—and since your neighbors are bound to ask about your new vibrant landscape, HPEC also provides you with the background on each variety, including why each is unique and important to the local ecosystem.

That’s why every plant includes its Latin name, height, width, water requirements, sun exposure needs, color, bloom timeframe and wildlife value in its description—it’s far more intuitive than simply buying a bag of seeds!

The hope at HPEC is that all of this information will help gardeners become more invested in new plants and, as a result, lead to increased years of blooming and lowering water usage for you and your family to enjoy.

If you need some expert advice or more information about native plants and pollinators, check out this video from HPEC’s Executive Director Jim Tolstrup.


Centerra’s Gone (Certified) Wild

Life here in Centerra is unique and special—it’s Certified Wild.

We think that all visitors, residents and businesses flock to Centerra for the trails, lakes, open skies, mountain views,native flowers and natural wildlife. For us, Certified Wild is more than just a tagline. As a 3,000-acre master-planned community designated as Colorado’s first and only National Wildlife Federation Certified Community Wildlife Habitat, being Certified Wild is part of our DNA.

Considering Centerra has the distinct honor of being designated as Colorado’s first Certified Community Wildlife Habitat, our natural spaces are something we take seriously and passionately. Being Certified Wild is a conscious commitment to ensuring that nature here remains pristine and wild. With this designation, we intend to keep our natural community protected and thriving for centuries to come so beautiful species continue to return to Centerra year after year.

HPEC is a living laboratory where the non-profit organization does more than just organize its famous annual plant sale.

Barn with Foliage

It serves as a space where everyone from adults to children are welcome to come and explore the native wildlife and scenery.

As more and more of society builds over such spaces and paves nature into the ground, Centerra and the HPEC are stewards of this Certified Community Wildlife Habitat. This all ties back to the HPEC’s core mission of educating communities to become replicable “living laboratories,” which demonstrate restorative examples of land stewardship, native plants and wildlife habitat.


Earth Day Clean-Up Event

Now that you’re a bit more familiar with the effort Centerra puts into maintaining its commitment to the environment with its Certified Wild status, you can help take that message and spread it through clean-up activities. Centerra is rallying the neighborhood, with HPEC as our partner, to help clean and beautify our trails.

We’ll kick off the feel-good event Saturday, April 24 from 10 a.m. until 12 p.m. If you’re interested in joining, find out more about the event and register here.


Educate & Protect

When it comes to preserving the spaces throughout our community for future generations, being a steward boils down to educating people and protecting the natural environments. To do this, the HPEC has a set of core values to accomplish this:

If this appeals to you, then check out their upcoming programs and events for the year. With the pandemic, we are still ensuring that everything is done safely and adheres to local and state COVID-19 protocols.

Living in northern Colorado provides us ample opportunities to really enjoy all life has to offer, but it’s also on us to make sure our area is clean and healthy for tomorrow’s activities and beyond. That’s why Centerra and our partners are committed to creating educational activities, program and shopping events, so Northern Colorado will continue to offer us bountiful beauty, no matter the season.

Hawk on RoofLife here in Centerra is unique and special. It’s unlike living anywhere else in Loveland, Northern Colorado, or the state for that matter. It’s Certified Wild.

Nature lovers flock to Centerra for the trails, lakes, open skies, mountain views, native flowers and natural wildlife. For us, living Certified Wild is more than just a catchphrase, it’s part of  Centerra’s DNA – a 3,000-acre master-planned community that is designated as Colorado’s first and only National Wildlife Federation Certified Community Wildlife Habitat.

This is a certification that’s not taken lightly and offers easy access to miles of trails, open space, botanic gardens, wetlands and natural habitat for both residents and wildlife to enjoy year-round. Just to the west is Rocky Mountain National Park, one of the country’s most pristine wilderness areas full of hiking, fishing, camping and nature watching.

However, living in such a treasure comes with the responsibility of preserving it and protecting it for future generations. A space such as this, in such close proximity to wildlife and nature, must be carefully cared for.

One of the best ways to keep the intricate ecosystem of Centerra buzzing in harmony is to leave it as it is. When possible, just observe and don’t interfere – leave only your footsteps. To help keep our community thriving for all who call Centerra home, we’d like to share thoughtful insight into how to best live in harmony with wildlife in our community so everyone thrives.


Recommendations for pest control

There are times when we may interfere with the natural world without even knowing it. One instance of this is pest control. Jim Tolstrup, executive director for High Plains Environmental Center (HPEC),  would like residents to know that rodenticides do not just affect rodents. When you put poison out to get rid of a mouse in your house, it can just as easily harm other animals, including natural predators, pets and humans if you don’t handle prevention carefully.

In developed areas, natural predators, such as owls, hawks and coyotes, can be exposed to rodenticides through secondary poisoning. This occurs when the predator eats an animal that consumed the rodenticide.

“Most rodenticides take several days (sometimes over a week) to kill the rodent, so these prey animals are available to predators after they have consumed the poisoned bait. We urge residents and businesses to forgo the use of all rodenticides if at all possible, because of this risk to wildlife.”

If you have tried every other non-pesticide option, including working with a pest control company, it may be necessary to temporarily use a rodenticide. If this is the case, HPEC recommends rodenticides that are not anticoagulants. Anticoagulant is a technical term for poisons that work by interfering with the blood clotting process, which causes the poisoned animal to die from massive internal bleeding if consumed.

If your pest control company has tried other options with little success, you can request that they use a non-anticoagulant rodenticide like zinc phosphide or bromethalin. These should be used as a short-term strategy to support long-term non-rodenticide solutions. We recommend only using rodenticides inside a building rather than outside if at all possible. This helps keep poisoned rodents out of reach of predators. Of course, you will need to keep a close eye on pets and children regardless of where you place the rodenticide.


No poison, now what?

Tolstrup and the HPEC team recommend residents and businesses refrain from using rodenticides if possible to help preserve Centerra’s precious wildlife. So, if you can’t poison those pests, how should you get rid of them?

Fortunately, there are some ways to eliminate those unwanted guests that migrate inside during colder months without hurting other animals as well. One option is using a wide variety of traps sold at local stores. These traps, along with removing any attractive food source or habitat, can be effective in reducing the local population of rodent pests. A pest control company should also be able to do all of this if you prefer not to do it yourself.

HPEC also uses and recommends local service vendor Affordable Pest Control because they understand and respect the concerns for wildlife. However, you should be able to request any pest control company to refrain from using rodenticide. If a company insists on using rodenticide without trying other strategies first, we recommend you look for another company that is more environmentally friendly.


Other threats to consider

While poison may be a serious threat to animals, there are other things that we do all the time that impact nature without even knowing it.

Scott Rashid, director of the Colorado Avian Research and Rehabilitation Institute, notes humans can pose a threat to birds and other wildlife by living in close proximity to Centerra.

Rashid says that one of the major threats to smaller animals and birds, nesting or otherwise, is cats. It’s also good to keep dogs on leashes when out and about walking.

“Keep cats inside,” Rashid said. “Cats kill indiscriminately. They react to movement.”

He also notes that birdbaths and bird feeders should be kept clean. Often birds are negatively impacted by these features if they are not regularly maintained.

“In Centerra, humans are a significant part of our ecosystem. By developing open spaces for homes and businesses, we have reduced the habitat available for predators. This generally results in more prey animals, including rodents,” Tolstrup said. “Wild predators are very effective at controlling rodent populations, so one of the easiest ways to address a rodent issue is to encourage more wild predators to live with us in our community.”

We are not just Certified Wild, you are too and that is so much more than open spaces, gardens and wildlife – it’s our personal decisions that can directly impact beautiful wildlife in a negative way. So, please follow best practices, don’t use poison, keep cats inside, birdbaths and feeders clean, and animals leashed.


More about High Plains Environmental Center

HPEC has played an integral role in the Centerra community since 2001. The idea for the education center was originally conceived by Tom Hoyt, president of McStain Neighborhoods and builder of High Plains Village at Centerra.

Tolstrup joined the team in 2007 and oversees everything from HPEC’s land management program to maintaining native plant botanic gardens to day-to-day administrative tasks of managing a non-profit.

HPEC’s influence goes beyond simply attracting people to Centerra. They help develop, educate, and maintain a healthy balance of living for all.

Tolstrup played a key role in getting Centerra designated as Colorado’s first Certified Community Wildlife Habitat in 2018 and knows the environment landscape like the back of his hand after working closely with Centerra’s master-developer McWhinney for more than 13 years. Tolstrup cares deeply about the outdoors, plants, birds and wildlife, making his position at HPEC the perfect fit to share tips on how to live in harmony with it.

We thank all residents and businesses in advance for considering this advice. Being Certified Wild is a conscious commitment we take seriously and we need every community member’s help to keep our natural community protected and thriving for centuries to come so beautiful species continue to return to Centerra year after year.

One thing Loveland residents love is being outdoors. Whether it’s walking, running or cycling, Centerra is a key part of keeping Northern Colorado active with a wealth of trails. With a new grant that will fund a trail expansion project to connect Boyd Lake and Denver Avenues. Centerra will soon have even more ways to safely enjoy the great outdoors by foot or two wheels.

The City of Loveland Parks & Recreation Department announced the $1,225,000 grant award from the Colorado Department of Transportation’s (CDOT) Transportation Alternatives Program and the North Front Range Metropolitan Planning Organization’s Multi-Modal Options Fund.

Funding Fun Trails

The state and regional transportation grants will fund the design and construction of a new hard-surface trail dubbed the Centerra Trail. The new trail will bridge the gap between Denver Avenue and Boyd Lake Avenue on the south shore of Boyd Lake, just west of Centerra.

Kelly Zuniga, Loveland Parks & Recreation planner, said there are multiple benefits to this project, and that it ties into more than 25 years of trail work in Loveland. Currently, the City is looking to connect its trails in different directions. The Centerra Trail takes current trail users to east Loveland.

“This is a great project, I’m really looking forward to it,” Zuniga said. “There are some natural areas in the region with beautiful views. We love seeing people out on our trails and it gives us that much more motivation to build as many as we can.”

Ensuring that cyclists and runners will be able to extend their rides or jogs, the Centerra Trail will follow a 1.34-mile route from Denver Avenue to a pedestrian underpass that is currently under construction at North Boyd Lake Avenue. The underpass at Boyd Lake is being funded by the Centerra Metro District and will cost just under $8 million once the road, pedestrian underpass and landscaping is complete. The new trail will run parallel to an existing unpaved trail that follows the Greeley-Loveland Irrigation Co. canal maintenance road on the south side of Boyd Lake.

In addition to the new grant-funded Centerra Trail, there is a proposal to add an additional near half-mile spur trail that would link the Centerra Trail to Boyd Lake Trail where it crosses over the Hoffman Reservoir Outlet. Perhaps one of the main highlights of the project is the fact that it will not require any expenditures from the City of Loveland General Fund. This ensures the community will be able to enjoy the new trail while saving local funds for other needs.

More Trails = Healthier Community

By connecting these trails, residents and visitors to Loveland will be able to extend their recreation and live healthier lives. This is especially important during current times when social distancing and spending more time outside is becoming the new normal. Enjoying a long walk can benefit someone both emotionally and mentally, while also being a safe activity.

Zuniga said that since the pandemic hit, the city has seen a four-fold increase in people using the community open spaces. With increased use, health and safety precautions are especially important. Make sure to recreate safely by wearing a mask and maintain a healthy six-foot distance from other people. Also, ride bicycles, scooters and skateboards at a safe speed to remain under control and audibly alert people when you approach to the left to pass. All dogs must be on a leash at all times. Even if your dog is voice trained and under control off the leash, it may disrupt nesting birds and other wildlife in the area while exploring. And a reminder that the lakes are not meant for dogs or swimming.

According to the city, Loveland’s Quality of Life citizen survey results and the Parks & Recreation Department Master Plan highlight the city’s Recreation Trail as one of Loveland’s most favored community amenities. Connecting the City of Loveland’s 26-mile Recreation Trail system to outlying parts of the Loveland community is another feather in the community’s cap.

Design on the new trail is slated for this summer and construction should start as soon as summer 2021 according to plans. CDOT will oversee the City of Loveland’s design and construction of the trail project. An important feature of the design is its adherence to provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), ensuring that everyone will have an equal opportunity to use this great new trail.

The trail will also provide a safe and practical way to get around this part of Loveland for people who live in the area. Currently, Eisenhower Blvd. experiences a very high volume of vehicles each day. Providing adjacent bike-friendly trail options will serve as a better way for citizens to connect with other parts of the city. Thanks to Centerra and the City’s trail systems, there will be plenty of safe alternative routes to serve and connect all walks of life.

Trail System

Loveland is already home to a robust trail system that rivals most communities. Open seven days a week to all from 6 a.m. to 10:30 p.m., Loveland’s Recreation Trail System is comprised of 23 miles of paved trail which almost circles the entire city and connects to other communities via regional trails.

Recreation Trail Map

Highlights of the trail system include Boyd Lake State Park, Longview Trail and the Colorado Front Range Trail. The main loop runs along the Big Thompson River as well as the west side of town.

The importance of the City of Loveland’s trails and desire to make recreation and nature a priority for the community goes hand-in-hand with Centerra’s philosophy that nature should be preserved.

Centerra is home to a variety of trails, paved and unpaved, and is built on the intelligent stewardship of the environment. In Centerra, nature is just as much a part of life as any of the structures. High plains, wildlife, wetlands, Houts Reservoir and Equalizer Lake make up 275 acres of untouched nature within Centerra’s boundaries. And High Plains Environmental Center is there protecting the habitat and teaching people about the plants and animals that live in this part of the state.

This community is full of opportunities to grow closer to nature and learn about our natural environment. Thanks to these robust trails and vibrant community, Northern Colorado is an area that, over and over again, has been named one of the best places in the country for everyone from young families to retirees as well as for its vibrant economy that sustains businesses and job growth.

For more information on the new trail and recreation opportunities visit www.cityofloveland.org/trails.


Nothing says spring like the smell of fresh flowers blooming in the radiant Colorado sunshine. And, just like any season, this time of year is just a little sweeter in Northern Colorado. Against the backdrop of the Rocky Mountains, spring is never more vibrant than at The Gardens.

This season take a moment to experience The Gardens throughout Centerra. With five impressive locations in the community, this collection of native plants features some of the best horticulture in the state. Whether you’re just visiting, or you call the area home, come enjoy the beauty of The Gardens.

The New Gardens

Horticulture has always been a cornerstone of Centerra and Jim Tolstrup, executive director of High Plains Environmental Center (HPEC), is taking that to the next level with this new garden endeavor.

In 2019, Tolstrup started working on the concept which calls for a series of garden plots throughout the Centerra community.

This new idea is based loosely on similar gardens he studied at Harvard University called Boston’s Emerald Necklace, which is a series of parks in the Boston area that includes the Franklin Park Zoo and various community greenbelts.

The idea for The Gardens is similar but on a smaller scale. When complete, it will span from the west side of Centerra to the east side of Interstate – 25 (I-25). Some of the gardens, such as those at HPEC and Chapungu Sculpture Park, allow people to walk through while others can be viewed while driving.

The locations of The Gardens include:

Like any garden, the project is a work in progress but The Gardens have already drawn attention and high praise. “The Gardens at Centerra are unique in so many ways: incorporating what is essentially a botanical garden and native plant nursery as an integral part of a housing and business development represents a profoundly sensitive statement,” Panayoti Kelaidis, director of outreach at Denver Botanic Gardens, says.

High Plains Environmental Center

HPEC has played an integral role in the Centerra community since 2001. The idea for the center was originally conceived by Tom Hoyt, president of McStain Neighborhoods and builder of High Plains Village at Centerra. His long-held belief that conservation and development go hand-in-hand was one of the driving forces behind the creation of HPEC. The center officially registered as a non-profit on March 21, 2001.

Today, Tolstrup oversees the operation with his green thumb and a spark of creativity. Tolstrup joined the team in 2007, bringing his love for nature to Northern Colorado. Tolstrup oversees everything from HPEC’s land management program to maintaining native plant gardens to day-to-day administrative tasks.

Tolstrup has always had a love for the outdoors, plants, birds, and wildlife, making his position at HPEC the perfect fit. Tolstrup played a huge role in getting Centerra designated as Colorado’s first Certified Community Wildlife Habitat in 2018.

“For many years horticultural and restored environmental features, of exceptional quality and scope, have been evolving at Centerra,” Tolstrup says. “We know of no other collaboration in the world, between a visionary developer and a non-profit 501c3, that approaches the scale and scope of Centerra, and provides such a rich and varied experience for visitors, all with no charge for admission.”

HPEC’s influence goes beyond simply attracting people. The flowers and installations are extremely impactful and helpful to the bees and insects, creating a pollinator-friendly environment and ecosystem, in turn making life better for all.

Volunteers and the HPEC

The HPEC relies heavily on volunteers in order to accomplish its mission. It has volunteer opportunities throughout the year for individuals to get involved with its mission.

“Everything is built by volunteers, aside from structures. It’s entirely built through community engagement,” Tolstrup says.

The Gardens provide a respite for those looking for a little escape. A place to slow down, enjoy some solitude and soak in the variety of flowers and installations Tolstrup and his team have worked so hard to bring to life.

Tolstrup’s focus on The Gardens continues to transform Centerra’s natural parks and amenity spaces into a “must-see” destination, but he can’t do it without help.

If you’re interested in learning more about volunteer opportunities, please check out the HPEC events calendar on their website to find upcoming ways to dig in and help out. And make sure to follow HPEC on social media to learn more about volunteer opportunities, upcoming events and its conservation efforts on Facebook and Instagram.