Poudre Learning Center Mission: In cooperation with the Poudre learning Center Board of Directors and staff, the Poudre Learning Center Foundation (PLCF) exists to recommend, promote and encourage community support for excellence in outdoor, experiential learning and education, and to provide funding for land stewardship, infrastructure projects and educational programming at the Poudre Learning Center (PLC). The PLCF was founded in 2015 to oversee fundraising efforts, and to establish an endowment to fund programming and site management for the PLC.
Founded in 1995, the Poudre Learning Center is affiliated with Weld School District 6 and the Eaton School District RE2, serving as these District's science, technology, engineering, math (STEM) center focused on experiential outdoor education, fostering an appreciation for and sense of stewardship of natural resources upon which residents and visitors to our community expect. PLC's vision and mission Statement is: "To awaken a sense of wonder and inspire environmental stewardship and citizenship by educating K-12 students through outdoor experiences and inquiry based learning." Prior to the Covid-19 Pandemic, the PLC campus hosted over 10,000 student visits annually. The PLC hosted around 5,000 this past year, and has expanded programs and infrastructure to expand services, anticipating 10,000+ students in 2023-2024. Additionally, countless residents and visitors use our campus to walk our trails, fish the pond, observe wildlife and find fulfillment and a sense of wellbeing in the great outdoors. PLC's open space also furnishes essential habitat for plants and wildlife throughout the year, in an area quickly changing due to development, with an incomparable setting and spectacular views of the Front Range and the Cache la Poudre River Watershed.
Water supply/availability in Colorado is a serious and complex issue. The Colorado Water Plan encourages education on water issues as a tool for protecting and enhancing water management. A better understanding of hydrology by the public will bring better decisions on floodplain management and protection. As one of the leading agricultural counties in the United States it is imperative for community members to better understand the history, regulatory requirements, and priority in distribution of invaluable water resources. As part of a six-phase project, the PLC is constructing a multimodal outdoor classroom with hands-on interactive teaching tools to inform students about complex interactions of natural resources (soils, plants, water, and geology) formed where Greeley is located, and how they shape our current and future culture and economy. The outdoor classroom will be an attractive amenity, drawing visitors to our community. Greeley Centennial Rotary will support landscaping and ADA accessibility in Phase 2 of the educational water project, to be completed by 8/1/24:
1. A 65-foot stream flume modeling hydrologic impacts and geomorphic constraints that influence stream and floodplain dynamics; including erosional, aggradational, and channel forming phenomenon
2. A raised platform with large rocks for a seating/active play area, metaphorically representing the Mummy Range, headwaters of the Cache la Poudre with an ADA accessible trail.
PLC's primary focus is K-12 students! Currently, the PLC is able to host approximately 10,000 students yearly. With building interest from schools and other groups we anticipate increasing use as the community re-engages as our community moves away from COVID restrictions. Additionally, we draw college students from the University of Northern Colorado, AIMS Community College and beyond. The campus is open to the public for individuals and groups seeking quality open space in Greeley to explore and recreate on.
Through our shared work, Greeley Centennial Rotary and the PLC will continue our long tradition of being a leader in building programs that engage the community on outdoor education/natural resources learning, teaching best management practices for natural resource management, and stewardship appreciation for the outdoors.
Describe the benefit to the community and/or improve lives:
This project will primarily support the area of focus of Rotary International of Education. Providing water education to K-12 students will increase understanding and problem solving capacity as water shortages continue to challenge the western United States.
Members of our Greeley Centennial Rotary Club have a long-standing history and relationship with the Poudre Learning Center. The PLC has a strong network of volunteer support, in addition to financial support from numerous school districts in Northern Colorado, and organizations such as our own. The PLC is the flagship project of the Greeley Centennial Rotary Club.
Active Rotarian Involvement:
The Greeley Centennial Rotary Club continues to be active in collaborating with the Poudre Learning Center, and there are a few Rotarians who are members of the PLC Foundation Board. Our continued investment in the PLC and the proximity of the PLC to our community enables many Rotarians to provide active hands-on service and education in the ongoing operations at the PLC.
Total Project Budget: $7,500.00
$7,500.00 from the Greeley Centennial Rotary and the 5440 District, consisting of $2,500.00 club dollars with matching funds of $5,000.00 from our district.
Greeley Centennial Rotary will write an article as the project progresses updating both the club membership and District 5440. We will submit the article to the local newspapers in Greeley. Additionally, we will seek publication of the fund benefits through the Poudre Learning Center website. Twice annually, our World Community Service Committee reports to our club on project progress.