The balm of nature transformed several gravel pits in eastern Boulder into a thriving wetlands ecosystem, home to a variety of birds, small mammals, wildflowers and other plants. We decided to visit the ponds on our 4th and final day of ecosystems. It was an absolutely stunning day– classic blue skies and the omnipresent, warming sun. With only containers of fresh popcorn packed, we headed out and met some friends at the trail.
Decades ago this area was mined for gravel. In 1974, residents of the area wished to transform the open pits and puddles into a wildlife habitat- they had a vision. Rocks were added to the pits, creating several ponds. Trees and shrubs were planted, the ponds filled with groundwater and then stocked with fish. It was named Walden Ponds, not as I thought as a nod to Henry David Thoreau’s,, but in reference to the Boulder County Commissioner who helped launch the plan to convert the gravel pits to a wildlife habitat. His name was Walden “Wally” Toevs. While active pits do remain around the open space, you can get lost in the tall grasses and cattails, winding trails and various ponds. That is just what the girls (and friends) did when we visited the ponds on Friday. They completely immersed themselves in the work of building fishing rods, diverting water this way and that, digging holes, digging holes and digging some more.
Even after 5 hours, their work was not done. I knew they were hungry and tired. We had an early dinner at 4:30 and slept deeply.
The contrasts between the environments of the week and that little bit of structure (parts of an ecosystem) really meant a lot to the girls. This was the easiest of the four ecosystems to discuss the soil (maybe because they played in for several hours). They felt its moisture and its pliability. Arlene mentioned on the way home that the dirt was much easier to dig in than at Mud Lake. They also talked about how the grasses were fun to play with although there weren’t many trees. I appreciated their awareness and was so grateful for the inspiration and time to have this week together– exploring and loving Colorado even more.
December 8, 2014 at 5:02 pm
Love this! Funny because we JUST started ecosystems, too, although I started from the details up, with talking about food chain, etc. These are great ideas for things to talk about with them. I need to have Lusa read some of your blog entries about ecosystems. Interesting!
December 8, 2014 at 5:55 pm
What a fun coincidence. You know what they say about great minds– they think alike! 😉 You could visit the Eno for river and forest, then follow it up with (sniff, sniff) Poet’s Walk– meadows, forest, pond!
December 8, 2014 at 6:36 pm
Beautiful photos and descriptions! Somehow you forgot the “women’s restroom” they built! 🙂 Thanks for letting us share the day with you!
December 9, 2014 at 5:41 am
Hahaha… true! Funny you mention those, because last Monday (or “hiking” day) we went to the eno, and we were going to go to Poet’s walk yesterday but the weather was sort of yucky and I wasn’t feeling well… I’m thinking later this week. It was the only place I could think of with an area of meadow that had longer grass! We’ll miss you there 🙂