Telluride Institute: Valley Floor Living Classroom, Pt. 3, 7/31

Telluride Institute: Valley Floor Living Classroom, Pt. 3, 7/31

Everyone in the community, locals and guests alike, is invited to join the Telluride Institute’s Watershed Education Program staff  for its third summer Valley Floor Living Classroom event. If you plan to FREE attend, please contact Vicki Phelps, Watershed Education Program co-director, at or call 928-600-5926.

Ever wonder about the gushy wet areas on the Telluride Valley Floor and why they are so important? What’s the difference between a bog, marsh, fen, swamp, wet meadow, and peatland? Now’s your chance to throw on some rubber boots and join the experts to discover a whole new world of biodiversity.

The Telluride Institute’s Watershed Education Program is hosting a FREE Telluride Valley Floor and Mountain Village wetlands tour on July 31, 9 a.m.- 2:30 p.m. Bring a daypack, sack lunch, water, raincoat, and wear hiking clothing (that can get a bit wet), and water shoes or boots (the Institute will have extras to share). Everyone meets at the NE corner of the RV parking lot on the east side of the Valley Floor. Plan ti spend a few hours touring the Valley Floor wetlands and then carpool up to the Prospect Basin fens.

Dr. Jeremy Sueltenfuss from Colorado State University is an ecohydrologist and will share a wealth of knowledge about the variety of wetlands in our area.

Dr. Sueltenfuss’ specialties include wetland and floodplain restoration, biodiversity and ecosystem functioning and monitoring.  With Dr. David Cooper, Dr. Sueltenfuss and colleagues have been overseeing a peatland restoration study on the Telluride Ski and Golf Co.’s golf course and the Prospect Basin fens. Art Goodtimes (also attending) spearheaded the Fen Advisory Project of the Telluride Institute, to make sure the fen monitoring continues. These fens are some of the oldest in North America; dating back more than 10,000 years. Within the ancient peat layers, these wetlands hold a wealth of information about changing climate, unique flora and fauna present, carbon sequestration, and the dynamics of the Earth’s hydrology.

Mountain Studies Institute (MSI), in partnership with the Town of Telluride, has developed long-term ecological monitoring for the Telluride Valley Floor open space. Join Lance McDonald and some of the MSI staff to explore the wetlands of the Valley Floor.

There are many great educational programs for kids to explore the natural world in our region, but more limited offerings for adults. This summer’s Valley Floor Living Classroom programs are especially designed for high school to adult-age participants. But a parent is welcome to bring a younger child, if they accompany them throughout the hikes.

The wetlands tour is the third of four tours this summer; the first was on forest health, the second explored water quality and river health, and the last tour, on August 7, will focus on wildlife of the Valley Floor. These tours are not only enlightening, but are setting a precedent for how we can all become essential citizen scientists.

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