The Lakes is home to a non-profit organization — the High Plains Environmental Center — dedicated to the idea that backyards, schoolyards, office environments, community gardens, parkland and other community spaces can become habitat for native wildlife. And since almost 150 different species of birds, mammals, reptiles and fish have been observed at The Lakes, it seems the experiment is working. In fact, The Lakes is the only place in Colorado designated by the National Wildlife Federation as a Certified Community Wildlife Habitat.
At the Environmental Center’s heirloom fruit orchard, you’ll find trees that are direct descendants of one planted by Johnny Appleseed. Others are from cuttings of Sir Isaac Newton’s famous tree. (You know, the one that dropped the apple and got Sir Isaac started on his whole gravity thing?) On a more down-to-earth note, you’ll also find plenty of inspiration at the native plant demonstration garden. Or claim a plot in the community garden and make some horticultural history of your own.
Hey, people are part of nature, too. So you’re always on the Environmental Center guest list. Drop by for our native plant sale and community stewardship lecture series. Join us on nature journaling tours and bird walks. And if you’re looking for a fun place to volunteer, what could be more gratifying than working for Mother Nature?
The Environmental Center has a place just for little two-legged critters — the Wild Zone. Here, kids make their way through the Willow Tunnel to discover Rock Mountain, the Nest Tree, the Toad’s Tea Party and other wonders. The Wild Zone teaches lessons about nature, independence and self-expression. But the kids just think it’s fun.
OVER 100 SPECIES OF BIRDS (BRING YOUR BINOCULARS)
185 NATIVE TREES, SHRUBS & GRASSES
29 KINDS OF AMPHIBIANS, FISH & MAMMALS
We’re creating a community that lives in harmony with nature. And many of our residents have joined us by designing their yards with nature in mind.
Turn your yard into a home for pollinators
Seasonal tips from our expert
JIM TOLSTRUP, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR HIGH PLAINS ENVIRONMENTAL CENTER