We have gotten plenty of moisture on campus this winter, which is great news for our potential summer hay harvest. Big Johnson Reservoir is almost full, so we are anticipating that we will get two irrigation runs this year. Our first irrigation is split between the beginning of April and mid-May. Our second irrigation will be in August. This will allow us to hay again in September and still get more grass afterward for grazing.
Winter is a time for catching up on ranch work. Land and Ranch Manager Tyson Phillips has been mending and rebuilding fences, re-trenching ditches in preparation for irrigation, and doing general clean-up work.
The campus pond restoration continues to progress. Here is an update from FVS student Berg S. ’23, who is working on the pond restoration for his Senior Capstone Project:
“So far the progress on the pond/aquarium has been slow but steady. On Friday, I interviewed a local business owner named Joshua with Water’s Edge LLC at his facility and greenhouses in Colorado Springs. The system he runs is phenomenal, and his depth of knowledge is incredible. I think he is going to be a valuable resource going forward. While there, we went over some of the roles our native plants play in wetland health, and he said he’d be willing to come out and take a look at our pond and give his opinion on what should be planted and where.”
Berg is in the process of ordering materials to set up the aquarium in the science building so it is ready for the sunfish he plans to start there this spring before releasing them into the pond.
This spring, former faculty member Lee Derr will be hosting a bird and plant walk for a group from the Palmer Land Conservancy. Retired faculty member Rob Gilbert, an avid birder who created an exhaustive list of all birds seen on the FVS campus, will join the group.
A number of students will be working with FVS faculty member and mountain bike coach, Curtis Singmaster, on our prairie trails during our Earth Day celebration on April 19.
Recently our CFO, Head of School, cross country coach, mountain biking team, riding program and land manager met to collaborate and find ways to improve our shared use of the land. Their findings will be presented to the Board of Trustees in May.