A New Research Station: From Picnic Table to Pavilion

By May 10, 2012Education, Event, Science

For nearly 10 years, Rocky Mountain Bird Observatory has enjoyed a partnership with the Audubon Society of Greater Denver for bird banding and environmental education at the Audubon Center at Chatfield State Park near Denver.

RMBO ornithologists have banded more than 3,000 birds of 86 species at the Chatfield banding station in the past six years. Each year they also recapture 50-60 birds that they have banded in a prior year, providing valuable information about the migration behavior and longevity of species.

They have also captured the imagination of thousands of children, connecting them with nature through the bird-banding experience. Thousands more birders, nature enthusiasts, families and others have visited the banding station. As the activity’s popularity grew, the picnic table that served as the research station and place to showcase and teach about birds needed an upgrade.

Bird Banding

Meredith McBurney demonstrates bird banding. Photo by Seth Gallagher.

More than 100 guests gathered at the site on the evening of May 4 for the opening of a new pavilion that will serve as an outdoor classroom where school groups and others can enjoy seeing and hearing about birds, banding and conservation.

Ribbon Cutting

Partners cut the ribbon at the new bird banding pavilion at Chatfield State Park, Colorado. Photo by Seth Gallagher.

The new pavilion came about after ASGE Executive Director Karl Brummert and Rick Sommerfeld of the University of Colorado’s College of Architecture and Planning discussed giving students in the Design-Build Certificate Program an opportunity to create, design and build an actual project. Denver Water, which owns the land where the pavilion sits, generously offered funding for the materials. Several other partners contributed additional resources for the facility.