The foundation of life at The Lakes at Centerra is preserving and enjoying the beautiful Colorado outdoors. Committed to demonstrating smart community development, Centerra and High Plains Environmental Center (HPEC) have implemented a dynamic model between economic and environmental interests. This collaboration is the perfect example of integrated community design, land stewardship and sustainable living. HPEC is conveniently situated right in the middle of The Lakes at Centerra in Loveland, Colorado.
High Plains Environmental Center is a living laboratory of ample Colorado wildlife and native plants that coexist with residents of The Lakes at Centerra. With 275‑acres of habitat intentionally designed and preserved to provide connectivity between plants, animals and people, the center has actively worked to implement a space for residents at The Lakes at Centerra to conveniently interact with nature in their backyards. Whether freely exploring or participating in one of the many educational programs, there’s something for everyone at HPEC.
HPEC encompasses 76 acres of land and 4 miles of trails surrounding Houts Reservoir and Equalizer Lake. Initially, the lakes were created to store water for irrigation, but they quickly became a valuable habitat for a wide variety of wetland birds. HPEC has dedicated itself to restoring nature where the new homes in Loveland, Colorado are built, enabling residents of The Lakes at Centerra to enjoy the great outdoors and observe more than 100 bird species.
HPEC is conveniently connected to The Lakes at Centerra, the Lake Club, and High Plains School by an extensive trail system where residents can enjoy the Rocky Mountain background and expansive Front Range landscape while meandering around acres of beautiful lakes. With the Loveland, Colorado weather providing 300 days of sunshine a year, residents are frequently spotted roaming the area and interacting with the wilderness surrounding them. The trail system makes it easy for residents to access HPEC to discover and connect with the environment firsthand. Residents can even participate in the commitment to conserve the natural habitat through a variety of lecture classes as well as guided nature and bird walks. During the spring, a community favorite is watching barn owls nest from a live nest cam, getting an insider view to watch owlets hatch and grow.
Keeping family in mind, HPEC has taken the initiative to form programs for children to learn how to be stewards of the environment. Through a close partnership with High Plains School, environmental education is incorporated into the students’ curriculum to help children get outdoors and explore, while also being conscious of the effects that their actions have on their surroundings. Students can often be seen walking on a trailing linking the school to HPEC for a field trip to study the environment, native wildlife and learn about trail etiquette. HPEC has an outdoor classroom, the Wild Zone, where children can partake in self‑directed learning and even make their own discoveries in nature. This hands‑on technique allows kids to be kids while also becoming educated on the great outdoors and how to coexist with nature.
One of the benefits to living in The Lake at Centerra is the opportunity to gain a better understanding of sustainable living and ecology through the various educational programs. The center offers a community garden for residents at The Lakes, a demonstration garden, orchards, expansive wildlife space, classrooms, plant sales, walking trails and so much more. Residents can join HPEC for workshops on water, energy conservation and efficient consumerism, as well as participate in community landscaping and clean‑up events. HPEC offers community garden plots to residents where you can grow your own vegetables, herbs and plants. In addition, HPEC has a 4‑acre Giving Garden which provides over 45,000 pounds of freshly grown produce to the Larimer Country Food Bank and the Loveland House of Neighborly Service, allowing volunteers to give back and be connect with the community.
The Lakes at Centerra and HPEC have a unique partnership where residents can participate in the community’s daily efforts to conserve and improve our natural habitat, one day at a time. It provides the perfect combination between the urban and environment where residents can live harmoniously, illustrating why life is different at The Lakes at Centerra.