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Nature Conservancy: Aiken Canyon Preserve

Nature Conservancy: Aiken Canyon Preserve located in Colorado Springs CO

The Nature Conservancy is the leading conservation organization working around the world to protect ecologically important lands and waters for nature and people.

Striking images can be found in Aiken Canyon, the zone between the plains and mountains where dramatic red spires and outcrops collide with rich green flora. Aiken Canyon is one of the last high-quality examples of the southern Front Range foothills ecosystem. The preserve is composed of a mosaic of habitat types, including shrublands, tallgrass prairie meadows, pinyon juniper woodlands and mixed coniferous woodlands.

Named after ornithologist Charles Aiken, this is a great destination for birders—more than 100 species have been seen. Aiken, a U.S. surveyor, taxidermist and collector, first surveyed this region in the 1870s.

In 1991, the Conservancy signed a 99-year conservation lease, giving it exclusive right to manage 1,080 acres of state land. Since then, the Conservancy has acquired another 541 acres, bringing the entire Aiken Canyon Preserve to 1,621 acres.

Given its proximity to Colorado Springs, the preserve is a strategic location for engaging the public in the Conservancy’s mission. An innovative straw-bale Field Station doubles as an educational facility for visitors and students.

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