The Chico’s abundant springs, creeks, lakes, and other habitat provide refuge for hundreds of species of migratory birds. Each spring and fall, the ranch maintains a bird banding station in partnership with the Rocky Mountain Bird Observatory. The current list of bird species sighted on the ranch numbers over 330. Visitors are welcome to visit the station and assist our expert birders with bird banding and identification. We also maintain a birding trail that highlights the best birding spots for new visitors. Large groups should call ahead to ensure space. Up-to-date information for birders can be found on our birding blog.
Colorado State Land Board, as owner of the Chico Basin Ranch, has been instrumental in providing support for our education programs since 1999.
Rocky Mountain Bird Observatory has been a partner since 1999, providing expertise in managing the bird banding station and leading prairie walks and bird watching expeditions.
The Colorado Parks and Wildlife has also been a long time partner who has helped with funding and programming for our education events. CPAW has instructors who conduct special programs that focus on wildlife habitat and hunting.
Central Colorado Soil Conservation District has been a sponsor of many workshops on the ranch over the years, providing much needed financial support.
Natural Resources Conservation Service has also been an important partner in the support of our programs since 1999.
ducation is an integral part of our mission on the Chico. The ranch welcomes over 3,000 visitors of all ages each year to learn about ranching and its role in land stewardship in the western United States. Many of our programs cater primarily to K-12 students but can be tailored for all age groups and experience levels including college students, ranching and conservation professionals, and interested community members. We have full time staff to develop and coordinate programs, and they will be happy to work with you to design special curriculums and provide additional information about our offerings. Programs focus on nature, grazing, local history, ecology, biology, ranching practices, business development, and our management model. A sample of our offerings is listed below. Groups are welcome. For more information, please contact us.
For students in grades K-12, the ranch offers itineraries and curriculums that focus on our ranching practices, natural history, sustainability, conservation, prairie and wetland ecology, and the arts. Students have the opportunity to get up close with cattle and horses, as well as tour our corrals and headquarters facility. We provide numerous activities that enhance curriculum, and experiences can be tailored to fit specific needs, including compliance with state standards and community service requirements.
We also offer programs for college students that can be tailored to fit courses ranging from ecology and biology to creative writing and music. Our ranching and conservation experts conduct programs including bird identification and migration, grasslands ecology, ecosystem monitoring, livestock grazing, cattle management, ranch animal anatomy and physiology, nature journaling, natural art, poetry, and music. We can also tailor-make activities and schedules to fit specific needs, with events ranging from several hours to multi-day experiences. For information on how to arrange a program for your group, please contact us.
The Chico offers courses and clinics on topics ranging from horsemanship and range monitoring to roping and photography. These programs, which can bring nationally known experts to the ranch, are held throughout the year and may be single or multi-day events. For more information, please visit our events calendar.
For the Family
Each spring, we host Chico Days on the ranch, with opportunities for the entire family to learn about our lifestyle and explore the land we call home. Activities include bird banding, horsemanship demonstrations, nature exhibits, leatherwork demonstrations, horse drawn wagon rides to visit prairie dog towns, and much more. For dates, times, and more information, please visit our events calendar.
Left column box photo by Bill Maynard