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:

  • Rocky Mountain Columbine
  • Red Columbine
  • Showy Fleabane
  • Glenrod
  • Firecracker Penstemon
  • Mexican Hat
  • Small Blue Aster
  • Buffalo grass
  • Cordgrass
  • Switchgrass
  • Prairie Smoke
  • Prince’s Plume

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:

  • Collaboration – Economic and environmental interests can be mutually beneficial. We work with people from all walks of life and divergent points of view and are dedicated to facilitating meaningful dialog about stewarding or natural world.
  • Conservation – We focus on science-based practices that conserve natural resources, emphasizing water conservation and the use of native plants—such as those sold in the plant sale—that support wildlife.
  • Education – With education programs, we enhance awareness and knowledge of how to live sustainably in the modern world.
  • Communication – We create an environment of trust and strive to create a culture of respectful and effective communications as a model for others.

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.