A Day of Service at Audubon’s Nature Center

It was a hot day. Yes, it was sunny and clear and dry, so it was a “nice” day to do some gardening outdoors with the Audubon Society of Greater Denver near Chatfield State Park here in Littleton. But it was hot.

The Service Learning Center, along with ACC’s ViTaL (Volunteering To Learn) Team, helped get faculty involved with this year’s “Day of Service” on Saturday, April 14, 2017, sponsored by Student Life. We ended up with seven able-bodied volunteers around 1 p.m. to help dig out mint, grasses, and rabbit brush from a bird garden area at the entrance to Audubon’s Nature Center very near the parking lot, and very near the unrelenting construction taking place at the main road. But the noisy trucks did not deter us from helping beautify this community area for Audubon, whose motto is “Connecting people with nature through conservation, education, and research.”

 

Steven and Ashley -student volunteers

Steven and Ashley (our two student volunteers) dug right in (pun intended!) to help Audubon for 3 hours on Saturday in the heat and sun, with plenty of birds chirping in the background.

Rebecca from Veterans Services removes invasive grasses along the perimeter of the bird garden.

Whitney from Student Life helps Ashley in the bird garden with bird-catching nets in the background. The nets are used during bird banding days in April and March each year, teaching the public about some of Colorado’s feathered friends.

Register for a bird banding event here.

Rebecca from Veterans Services removes invasive grasses along the perimeter of the bird garden.

Rebecca from Veterans Services removes invasive grasses along the perimeter of the bird garden.

Our ACC student teaches Sarah (also from Student Life) and Whitney, along with Rebecca, how to dig a proper hole.

Our ACC student teaches Sarah (also from Student Life) and Whitney, along with Rebecca, how to dig a proper hole.

Jennifer

Jennifer (a teacher in our Psychology Department) battled (and won!) her fight to clip off and dig out rabbit brush roots in this dry, yet quite rocky, soil.

birds in tree

And…we actually saw a few birds at Audubon. These two Red-winged Blackbirds coached all of us volunteers that day from the newly blooming trees above.

The Service Learning Center, Student Life, and the ViTaL Team look forward to future volunteering events at Audubon! Learn more about Audubon in our area.

by Diana Hornick, Service Learning Center Coordinator

ACC’s ViTaL Team and Community help students at Sheridan High School

Beginning in December 2016, the ACC community donated hundreds of school supplies, peanut butters, toothpastes, and toothbrushes towards a donation drive for underprivileged students at Sheridan High School. During the Spring 2017 semester in a Service Learning session at the All-Instruction Meeting, faculty and staff distributed these donations into 45 backpacks. Adding to that count, 18 extra backpacks were filled with even more donations one night in January with several moms and their young kids from Colorado Academy. The delivered backpacks to Sheridan High School helped ACC enrich its partnership with this concurrent enrollment school that has 85% of their students in poverty. Thanks again to everyone at ACC for your time and donations for these local kids in need and potential ACC students!

Diana Hornick and Josie Mills with filled backpacks

ViTaL Team members (Diana Hornick and Josie Mills) getting ready to deliver backpacks to Sheridan High School.

 

ACC’s ViTaL Team Trip to Audubon Society at Chatfield

On August 19, 2016, ACC’s ViTaL (Volunteering To Learn) Team set out on an outdoor adventure to help clean up over-grown weeds and dried-up grasses from the Audubon Society of Greater Denver’s Nature Center at Chatfield State Park, about 10 miles away.

Led by Audubon’s Community Outreach Coordinator Kate Hogan, the six ACC faculty and staff–with some of their family members–first learned about the Audubon Society’s mission and its relationship to Chatfield, then performed a couple of hours of light gardening tasks on a warm and sunny Saturday morning.

Audubon Center at Chatfield State Park

Audubon Center at Chatfield State Park has an abundance of wildlife and over 300 bird species that live or visit at various times a year.

Ken Murphy & Dan Hohn removing tree

Math Professor Ken Murphy & Dan Hohn from Fiscal Services remove a dead tree from the gardens.

Diana Hornick landscaping

Communication Faculty & ViTaL leader Diana Hornick at work.

Mardi Mathers landscaping

Nursing Faculty member Mardi Mathers.

Garden Walk at Chatfield State Park.

Garden Walk at Chatfield State Park.

The Team completed their project with a nature hike, discovering toads, snakes, and a beaver lodge.

Kate Hogan pointing out Beaver Lodge

Audubon’s Community Outreach Coordinator Kate Hogan points out a beaver lodge.

Platte River

The Platte River

A nature walk along one of Chatfield's many trails

A nature walk along one of Chatfield’s many trails

Audubon Nature Center Map

Some of the plant life at Chatfield State Park…

Poison Ivy

Poison ivy is distinguishable by its red leaves

Hemlock

Hemlock is the poisonous plant presumed to have killed Socrates.

Plants along the Platte River

Plants along the Platte River

Come join ViTaL team for our next outing!

Volunteers pictured from left to right: Mardi Mathers, Jennifer Jones, Ken Murphy, Daniel Hohn, Diana Hornick, Josie Mills, Andrea Mason, Linda Mason

Volunteers pictured from left to right: Mardi Mathers, Jennifer Jones, Ken Murphy, Daniel Hohn, Diana Hornick, Josie Mills, Andrea Mason, Linda Mason

ACC’s Volunteering to Learn (ViTaL) Excursion to the Humane Society

ACC’s Volunteering to Learn (ViTaL) team headed out for their first volunteer excursion last Friday, January 15, 2016. A group of four ACC faculty and staff took pet supplies donated by the ACC community and spent the morning volunteering at the Littleton’s Humane Society of the South Platte Valley.

Here we are departing from ACC with all the wonderful pet supplies donated by the ACC community:

ViTaL team outside ACC

Left to right: Meredith Tofield, Josie Mills, Amanda Johnson, Diana Hornick

Erin Liebner of the Humane Society of the South Platte Valley welcomed us, and we took a short visit to the cat room while she arranged our plan for the morning.

White cat on scratching post

Adoptable cat at Human Society

Amanda petting cat

Amanda pets Starvin’ Marvin

black cat

Adoptable cat at the Humane Society

vital-tortie-cat

Another cat for adoption at the Humane Society

Erin then set us up with the task of cleaning out the shed where they store food and supplies for the animals. It was a chilly but sunny morning, and we worked together happily rearranging the bags of food and treats so that the floor was clear, and everything was easy to find.

Before and after photos below

BEFORE:

Food storage

Humane Society food storage before.

DURING:

Amanda and Meredith organizing.

Amanda and Meredith organizing pet food storage.

AFTER:

Humane Society pet food storage after ViTaL team organized it.

Humane Society pet food storage after ViTaL team organized it.

Once we’d finished our work in the shed, we headed back inside where we were rewarded with some time to visit with the dogs.

Dog available for adoption from the Humane Society.

Dog available for adoption from the Humane Society.

Close-up of dog

Another dog available for adoption

Another available dog at the Humane Society

Another available dog at the Humane Society

Another dog ready to find its forever home.

Another dog ready to find its forever home.

We then helped out washing dishes, refilling treat containers, and mopping the floor in the main meeting area.

We loved spending the morning at the Humane Society meeting the wonderful volunteers and visiting the animals who need a home.

Left to right: Meredith Tofield, Diana Hornick, Josie Mills, Amanda Johnson

Left to right: Meredith Tofield, Diana Hornick, Josie Mills, Amanda Johnson

ViTaL welcomes students, faculty, staff, and administrators to join us in serving the community. Many more opportunities will ensue in the coming months. Contact Josie Mills or Diana Hornick for more information.

by Josie Mills, ACC English Department Chair