May 13, 2020

Celebrating five years of State Parks NatureFinder

The State Parks NatureFinder project was created in May 2015 to gather biodiversity data from Colorado's State Parks. Five years later, we could think of no better way to celebrate than to highlight some project stats and recent observations! To everyone who has contributed to this project, THANK YOU!

So far in 2020, 201 iNat users have made 1,288 observations of 428 species in state parks. Of those observations, 811 (that's 63%!!) have reached Research Grade.
Mule Deer and Common Starlilies are the most observed species, with 19 observations each, followed by Bald Eagles, Red-tailed Hawks, Mountain Bluebirds, Boreal Chorus Frogs, Woodhouse's Toads, Prairie Bluebells, and Prairie Pasqueflowers, with 14 observations each.

With 80 observations posted to the project this year, Barbra Schuessler Sobhani (barbra1) has contributed the most observations in 2020. This includes her May 10 observation of Prairie Bluebells from Roxborough State Park:

Bobcat, John Martin Reservoir State Park, observed by Steven Mlodinow (mlodinow) on January 11:

Spotted Towhee, Roxborough State Park, observed by addison_haight on May 1:

Whipple Cholla, Navajo State Park, observed by Andy Butler (andyps) on April 1:

Western Tanager, Cherry Creek State Park, observed by Ken Wat (ken47) on May 11:

Plains Spadefoot, Chatfield State Park, observed by Joey Kellner (vireo) on May 2:

Broadbeard Beardtongue, John Martin Reservoir State Park, observed by Richard Bunn (rbunn) on May 13:

Hoary Comma, Lory State Park, observed by Austin B. (austinlep5288) on April 27:

Prairie Lizard, Cheyenne Mountain State Park, observed by Mark Krist (markkrist) on April 26:

Johnson's Jumping Spider, Arkansas Headwaters Recreation Area, observed by Jerry DeBoer (jerry_deboer) on May 3:

Posted on May 13, 2020 19:42 by coparksandwildlife coparksandwildlife | 0 comments | Leave a comment

April 20, 2020

City Nature Challenge 2020 kicks off this week!

This week is the start of the 2020 City Nature Challenge! From Friday April 24 through Monday April 27, Colorado residents are encouraged to go outside in their neighborhood to photograph and identify plants and animals using iNaturalist, as part of a global initiative called the City Nature Challenge! The City Nature Challenge is an international effort to find and document plants and wildlife across the globe. Cities are encouraging their citizens to get outside in whatever way is safe for each region and document the plants and animals in their surroundings.

To count towards the City Nature Challenge, all you need to do is make an observation between April 24 -27 within the boundaries of a participating CNC city or region. This year, there are three regions for Colorado:

- Denver-Boulder Metro Area:
- Colorado Springs and Pikes Peak Area:
- Northern Colorado:

Colorado state parks within this year’s boundaries include: Barr Lake, Boyd Lake, Castlewood Canyon, Chatfield, Cherry Creek, Cheyenne Mountain, Eldorado Canyon, Golden Gate, Lory, Roxborough, St. Vrain and Staunton. If you make observations in any of these state parks, don't forget to add them to the State Parks NatureFinder project in addition to the appropriate CNC project!

In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, the City Nature Challenge has made some modifications to the annual event to help keep organizers and participants safe. Although it has been promoted as a friendly competition in previous years, this year it’s about embracing the healing power of nature. This year we are not hosting or promoting any group activities. Instead we encourage all individual participants to explore nature close to their homes*. If you have trails and open spaces in your neighborhood, that’s great! Please check the status of all parks and open spaces before visiting. Please be respectful of all people and wildlife nearby, follow all social distancing requirements, and abide by local land and facility closures. Please avoid overcrowded areas. For more information, please visit

*If you are concerned about revealing the location of a sensitive organism (or where your house is), you can hide the exact location from the public by changing the “geoprivacy” of the observation to “obscured.”

Posted on April 20, 2020 17:25 by coparksandwildlife coparksandwildlife | 0 comments | Leave a comment

February 05, 2020

CALLING ALL NATURE LOVERS: Help us reach 20,000 observations!

We are quickly approaching 20,000 observations, with less than 200 to go! This is a big milestone and a huge accomplishment -- and we couldn't have done it without the help of over 1,380 observers.

We need your help reaching this goal! Even during chilly winter months with snow on the ground, there are plenty of observations to be made in state parks around Colorado.

Plants: My personal favorite at this time of year is winter botany. The conifers, of course, become hard to miss in the wintertime, when other trees and shrubs have dropped their leaves. Look for Rocky Mountain juniper, ponderosa pine, Douglas fir, and spruce in the foothills and mountains. Learning to identify deciduous trees like Rocky Mountain maple and shrubs like Gambel oak can help get to know these plants in a new way. In rocky places, you might find mountain mahogany with the charismatic curli-que seeds still attached.

Birds: Barr Lake State Park has the largest concentration of wintering Bald Eagles in the state, with hundreds of eagles migrating through the park from mid-December through February. Winter is an excellent time to look for ducks! When the days begin to shorten and the temperature cools down, look for Gadwalls, American Wigeons, Green-winged Teal, Goldeneyes, Buffleheads, and Hooded Mergansers. Some birds, like Rough-legged Hawks, spend the summer in the Arctic and can be spotted in Colorado in the winter. Some high altitude birds, like Dark-eyed Juncos and Rosy Finches, spend their summers in the mountains and move to lower elevations in the winter to avoid severe weather. And of course, you can find Robins, Nuthatches, Black-Capped Chickadees, and Great Horned Owls in Colorado year-round.

Wildlife: As the snow deepens in the high country, animals move to wintering grounds i​​​​​​n lower elevations and valley bottoms, including moose, deer, and elk. At higher elevations, you might be lucky enough to spot a bighorn sheep or a rare glimpse of a bobcat or cougar.

Remember: Winter is a stressful time for wildlife - please maintain distance at all times!
Wildlife viewing ethics are particularly important during the winter. In winter, animals are under stress from cold and reduced food supplies; being chased may cause them to lose critical fat—which may threaten their survival. Maintain distance and do not cause animals to change their behavior.

Read some Tips for Winter Wildlife Viewing from CPW:

Posted on February 05, 2020 21:18 by coparksandwildlife coparksandwildlife | 0 comments | Leave a comment

November 01, 2019

Bighorn Sheep: Annual Mating Season Makes for Great Wildlife Viewing Opportunity!

I know I’ve personally caught myself staring off into the rocky cliffs hoping to spot Bighorn Sheep. This large mammal is not only a rare and special sight to see, it’s also our state animal! It’s normally uncommon to see this species most of the year, as they spend their days in extreme rocky alpine environments where we are unlikely to have access. Lucky for those of us wishing to see the Bighorn in person they have specific courtship and mating locations that they return to annually. Some ideal viewing locations for Bighorn Sheep can be found in our Colorado Parks and Wildlife brochure found through this link:
There is increased viewing of the Bighorn from late November through January. Remember to always view wildlife from a safe distance. Read some quick wildlife viewing tips here: to make sure you respect wildlife and stay safe.

Below you can also find a list of exciting events celebrating wildlife in our state parks that offer an awesome opportunity to get out there and use iNaturalist! You can find more events and festivals on the Colorado Parks and Wildlife homepage under “Things To Do”.

Georgetown Bighorn Sheep Festival - Saturday, November 9th: 10:00AM - 3:00PM
Celebrate Colorado's 'state mammal'—the Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep. The Town of Georgetown and the Colorado Parks and Wildlife offer opportunities to watch and learn about one of Colorado’s oldest bighorn sheep herds. Plus, speakers and short wildlife educational programs for the whole family! Artisans and shop owners in Georgetown will showcase their wildlife related art, gifts, crafts, and other goods. Visit the Festival's website for more information.

Bird Walk - Saturday, November 30th: 8:00AM - 12:00PM
Join Volunteer Naturalist and bird expert Joey Kellner for this monthly hike where you can explore the park and search for feathered treasure. All ability levels are welcome, but please no pets. Dress for the weather and bring sunscreen, water, and insect repellant. Don’t forget your camera!
Audience: All Ages
Location: Chatfield State Park, 11500 N. Roxborough Park Road, Littleton, CO 80125
***Meet at the Platte River Parking Lot***
Please contact Kallie Trujillo at for any questions.

Posted on November 01, 2019 15:53 by coparksandwildlife coparksandwildlife | 0 comments | Leave a comment

October 01, 2019

Fall Foliage and October State Park Events

Fall Foliage: Aspens Spectacular Color Changes

It’s that time of year again, and all over Colorado we will begin to see the fall colors come into full effect. The aspen is an especially noteworthy tree for such changes.

Aspens are special trees that can reproduce by both seed and root sprouts. In the fall as the colors just begin to change you can get a vivid example of this phenomenon. The trees that are clones are more likely to change color at the same time, while any unrelated trees may change on a slightly different schedule. This can give the visual of a stark dividing line between green and golden trees, and emphasizes just how many aspens find success from this form of reproduction. (

Some notable parks to view these fall changes are Staunton State Park, as well as Golden Gate Canyon State Park. With both parks offering beautiful hikes through aspen groves.

If you want to know more about aspens you can find more information from the Colorado State Forest Service:

Below you can also find a list of exciting events celebrating wildlife in our state parks that offer an awesome opportunity to get out there and use iNaturalist! You can find more events and festivals on the Colorado Parks and Wildlife homepage under “Things To Do”.

Bike the Colors
Saturday, October 05: 10:00 AM - 12:00 PM

Explore Barr Lake's nine mile Lake Perimeter Trail by bicycle! Autumn is a great time in the park and wildlife abounds.
​Come join a naturalist for this special time of the year at the park.
Limited to 25 participants so be sure to RSVP
Be sure to dress for the weather, bring water, bug spray, and a helmet.
Admission is $8 daily pass or annual parks pass per vehicle.

Audience: All Ages
Location:Nature Center
13401 Picadilly Rd Brighton, CO 80603
Barr Lake

Additional Information:
Registration required
Nature Center

Sunday, October 13: All day event

A Big Sit is similar to the bird watching event called a "Big Day". In both events, participants try to count as many birds species as possible. In a Big Day you travel all over a geographical area whereas during a Big Sit you sit (or stand) in one location and count as many species as possible through the course of the day. Bring your own chair (or use the bench seating provided by Chatfield), your favorite beverage and snacks and help us find birds. We'll keep a Big Sit "day total" and do "hourly counts" so that every hour the birds are "new". This means that whenever you can come there will be "new" birds to add for the hour and maybe even the day! Event is free and open to all ages.
Park at the Heronry Picnic Parking and take the paved path in the back of the parking lot to the Heronry Overlook. Dress for the weather!
Audience: All Ages
Location: Chatfield State Park- Heronry Overlook

Bird Walk
Saturday, October 26: 8:00 AM - 12:00 PM

Join Volunteer Naturalist and bird expert Joey Kellner for this monthly hike where you can explore the park and search for feathered treasure. All ability levels are welcome, but please no pets. Dress for the weather and bring sunscreen, water and insect repellent. Don’t forget your camera! Meet at the Platte River Parking Lot!

Audience: All Ages
Location:Chatfield State Park- Platte River Parking Lot
11500 N. Roxborough Park Road, Littleton, Colorado 80125

​Please contact Kallie Trujillo at for any questions.

Posted on October 01, 2019 16:10 by coparksandwildlife coparksandwildlife | 0 comments | Leave a comment

August 28, 2019

Fall Bird Migrations and Other Exciting State Park Events!

We want to give you more resources to get out and be active iNat users in our beautiful Colorado State Parks. In these updates you will find such things as fun facts about interesting species that you can find throughout this state, as well as highlights on important seasonal events in our parks.

Bird migrations of the fall!

September is a big month for the greater period of the fall bird migration. Many state parks offer the resources that migrating birds are looking for on their journey to their second home, whether that be a food resource, or a source of water, they need both to be successful in their long journey ahead. Below is a list from the Bird Conservancy of the Rockies ( of the migrating birds that you are likely to see around these days in the greater Denver and Eastern Plains areas. Although, there are certainly many migrating birds to see throughout the state. The month of September continuing through October will be an amazing time to capture some truly amazing birds for your iNaturalist account.

Aug. 31 – Spotted Towhee
Sept. 1 – Redhead
Sept. 5 – Green-winged Teal
Sept. 5 – American Widgeon
Sept. 10 – Sharp-shinned Hawk
Sept. 12 – Cooper’s Hawk
Sept. 12 – Cedar Waxwing
Sept. 14 – Ruby-crowned Kinglet
Sept. 15 – Gadwall
Sept. 15 – Northern Shoveler
Oct. 1 – Rough-legged Hawk
Oct. 6 – Dark-eyed Junco
Oct. 12 – Common Merganser

Below you can also find a list of exciting events celebrating wildlife in our state parks that offer an awesome opportunity to get out there and use iNaturalist! You can find more events and festivals on the Colorado Parks and Wildlife homepage under “Things To Do”.

Yampa Valley Crane Festival - Steamboat Springs (late-August to early-September)

Help us celebrate this year's event August 29 - September 1, 2019! The Greater Sandhill Crane is an iconic species of the Yampa Valley. In late summer and early fall, hundreds of cranes from the Rocky Mountain flock join the local birds to rest and feed before continuing their journey south. The festival includes daily crane viewings, expert speakers, live raptors, films, art exhibits, workshops, family activities and more. All community activities and events are free unless otherwise indicated in the program! Registration for the Yampa Valley Crane Festival begins July 1 at Many events are free and do not require registration. Certain activities, including guided crane viewing shuttles and events with limited space, will require advance registration and a nominal fee. These events are noted in the schedule. Be sure to register early as we expect these events to fill quickly.
For more information, please call 970-276-1933 or write to Schedule and other event details are available on the Colorado Crane Conservation Coalition website.

Fall Birding Festival at Barr Lake - Barr Lake State Park, Brighton (early-September)

Fly over to Barr Lake State Park to celebrate the fall bird migration, an experience worth sharing with others. Be entertained at this festive community event filled with food, fun, and lore—something for everyone. Plan for a day packed with free food and activities. The Fall Birding Festival is free, but a valid parks pass is required for each vehicle that enters the park.
For more information about the Fall Birding Festival, call Barr Lake Nature Center at 303-659-6005 or send an e-mail to

HOOTenanny Owl & Music Festival- Chatfield State Park (mid-September)

Join the Audubon Society at the Audubon Nature Center at Chatfield State Park for this annual one-of-a-kind family event about owls of Colorado! Visit with local wildlife organizations, explore hands on owl activities, and meet some of the owls of Colorado including the great horned owl, Eastern screech owl, burrowing owl, and more. Live owl demonstrations, live music, owl art display, face painting , owl booths, owl pellet dissection, owl crafts and food trucks. Register online with Audubon Society of Greater Denver.

Posted on August 28, 2019 17:44 by coparksandwildlife coparksandwildlife | 0 comments | Leave a comment

April 01, 2019

Calling iNat Power users!

Hello iNat Power users!

First off, thank you for helping Colorado Parks and Wildlife observe and identify biodiversity in 41 State Parks! The reason you are tagged in this Journal post is that we have identified you as the top observers and identifiers in Colorado State.

You might have heard of the City Nature Challenge, or even participated, but it is fast approaching! The City Nature Challenge (CNC) is a worldwide BioBlitz to document urban biodiversity. The 2019 CNC will have over 160 cities around the world participating to see which city can document the most observations, species, and participants.

Boulder-Denver Metro Area will be aiming to compete with some of the largest cities around the world and we need your help! The good news is that you don’t have to do anything besides get outside and make OBSERVATIONS from April 26th-29th (Friday-Monday) and then help IDENTIFY all the observations from April 30th- May 5th (Tuesday- Sunday).

Our boundaries are county lines and the following counties are included in the Boulder-Denver Metro Area: Adams, Arapahoe, Boulder, Broomfield, Clear Creek, Denver, Douglas, Elbert, Gilpin, Jefferson, and Park Counties. ANY observation made within these counties (from April 26th-29th) will count! Please try to keep your observations of wild organisms rather than captive or cultivated organisms.

Follow this link after the CNC begins to help IDENTIFY observations other iNat users are making in the Boulder-Denver Metro Area!

Thank you so much for your help and if you have any questions, feel free to send us a message!
-CPW Resource Stewardship
@a_gaudet @a_gaudet @adamly @aguilita @alison_kondler @anudibranchmom @benmcclellan @blazeclaw @brinda @bouldernature @briancriter @bug_eric @calebcam @ceuthophilus @chickadee_mountain @coloradosnakehunters @d_kluza @dchernack @dduff @dianeroberts @doug_grinbergs @dsutherland @drbh2o @elishasrubin @forester93 @frobi @fungalfan @greglasley @hfabian @j_thompson @jennymaybee @john8 @johnascher @joshuagsmith @julie8 @katesees @kdwyer @ken47 @kevinhintsa @kirbz @kleric42 @kschnacke @lewand @liam5 @lisa_kingston @lsimuns @lukewheeler @marieskee @melanie_hill @maxallen @mcsulliva @mike_hofmann @mikepatterson @mjschulz @mlodinow @nlblock @paloma @phoebemae @psweet @rbelshee @rbunn @rick_williams @roomthily @rowz @rwinick @scwill521 @selasphorus @skyblue @steffen1329 @taogirl @thecaiman1 @timbir5 @tlaloc27 @tlr06754 @vantruan @willem9

Posted on April 01, 2019 17:35 by coparksandwildlife coparksandwildlife | 0 comments | Leave a comment

January 16, 2019

City Nature Challenge 2019

Hey iNaturalists!

As we move into 2019, we wanted to give everyone an alert about the upcoming 2019 City Nature Challenge. If you participated in the 2018 City Nature Challenge, thank you and we hope to see you again this year; if you haven't heard of the City Nature Challenge, get ready for an awesome week of observing and identifying biodiversity in our cities!

If you’re not familiar with it, the City Nature Challenge (CNC) is an ongoing project to document urban biodiversity and engage city residents in the nature around them. The project is conducted as a bioblitz-style competition between cities to see which can make the most observations, identify the most species, and have the most participants. The program was started in 2016 by the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles and the California Academy of Sciences as a competition between Los Angeles and San Francisco. This year over 120 cities around the World are participating in the City Nature Challenge!

In Colorado there are CNC's happening in Boulder-Denver Metro Area, Colorado Springs, and Fort Collins! Get outside in any of these cities this coming April!

The dates for this year's CNC are as follows:
April 26-29: This is the time to make observations! Any observations collected within the Project boundary between 12:00am April 26 and 11:59pm April 29 will be included.

April 30-May 5: Upload any remaining observations from April 30-May 5 and start identifying everything! We can only count observation that are identified to the species level, so this is really important!

May 6: Results are announced! There will be winners for most observations, most species, and most participants.

We would love for you to help in any way that you can! Whether it’s going outside and collecting observations, sitting on you couch making IDs, or just telling your friends about CNC, it all helps! If you, your organization, or your club want to get even more involved by planning events, helping with promotion, or any other project coordination send us a message and we can coordinate further discussions!

We will post more reminders as we get closer, in the mean time, get outside and enjoy nature!
-CPW Resource Stewardship Team

Posted on January 16, 2019 19:10 by coparksandwildlife coparksandwildlife | 0 comments | Leave a comment

November 09, 2018

Park Wildlife Guides

Did you know that CPW has created wildlife guides for all the State Parks? These guides can be a valuable resource for identifying an unknown organism you have found! The guides allow you to filter by using tags that have been added for color and/or group (trees, reptiles, birds, flowering plants, etc). Please search the name of the park you’re interested in at

These guides should not be considered fully comprehensive of all species that may occur in our State Parks, but it should represent nearly all of the common plant and animal species (except for insects) and many of the less common species. Species included in the guides are the “Research Grade” iNaturalist observations as well as species that have been documented over the last 20 years by our Resource Stewardship Program. We update our guides once a year to account for new species observed by YOU at the parks!

Have fun and be safe out there!
-CPW Resource Stewardship Team

Posted on November 09, 2018 15:20 by coparksandwildlife coparksandwildlife | 5 comments | Leave a comment

October 26, 2018

Observations, species, and a Thank You!

Hello Nature Finders!

As we continue to increase our observation and species counts we wanted to remind you that all data collected is important to our State Parks. Adding observations of new species is especially important, however, adding observations of previously observed species during different seasons, new years, or at a different location is also important and valuable data.

CPW uses the data collected from the State Parks NatureFinder project to create management plans to help maintain and perpetuate the amazing State Parks we all love to get out to and enjoy year round. Keep on observing and submitting to the project; we thank you for your hard work and wouldn't be able to do this without wonderful Citizen Scientists like yourselves.

Thank you,
Resource Stewardship
Colorado Parks and Wildlife

Posted on October 26, 2018 16:05 by coparksandwildlife coparksandwildlife | 2 comments | Leave a comment