Pagosa Springs Habitat Hero Garden underway

Photo courtesy Parker Seibold
Native plants await their new home in an Audubon Habitat Hero Garden. The Weminuche Audubon Society and Geothermal Greenhouse Partnership (GGP) are planting a native garden on GGP’s site in Centennial Park.

By Jean Zirnhelt
Weminuche Audubon Society

This month, we are planting a Habitat Hero demonstration garden at the Geothermal Greenhouse Partnership (GGP) site on the Riverwalk in Centennial Park. 

According to Audubon Rockies, “Birds need native plants to survive. By planting a bird-friendly garden, you can help reverse one of the biggest threats birds face: habitat loss. Native gardens not only provide food and shelter for birds, they conserve water and eliminate chemical fertilizers and pesticides. Filled with color and life, they make our communities healthier and more beautiful. Finally, bird-friendly gardens are places to connect to nature.” 

This week, members of the Southwest Conservation Corps are working at the site to install protective fencing and ready the garden for planting. This effort is made possible through a GOCO grant submitted through the Town of Pagosa Springs by the GGP, and through funds contributed by the GGP and Weminuche Audubon Society.

Next week, we have several exciting events planned to learn the importance of native plants for birds and people. On Monday, July 27, Jamie Weiss, Audubon Rockies’ Habitat Hero coordinator, will demonstrate the importance of restoring our communities, one garden patch at a time, in a free online Habitat Hero workshop. This event takes place from 2 to 4 p.m. and advance registration is required. 

You will also have the chance to hear from representatives of local partners in the project, GGP, Weminuche Audubon Society (WAS), Audubon Rockies, CSU Extension Master Gardeners and Mountain High Garden Club. Community volunteers will be placing plants in the garden on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday (July 28, 29 and 30). 

We will be working in small groups and following safe practices as directed by the state of Colorado. Advance registration to participate in the plantings is required. 

The plants have been purchased using grant funds awarded to the WAS through the National Audubon Society by the Coleman and Susan Burke Center for Native Plants. This effort is just the beginning of a long-term project to create a beautiful, educational garden for the enjoyment of residents and visitors of Pagosa Springs and our pollinator friends.

WAS members are excited to honor the memory of Mrs. Terry Hershey with this garden. She was instrumental in the formation of our local Audubon chapter in 2007.

Many local students have experienced environmental education field trips to her beautiful Fourmile Ranch due to her generosity in supporting youth education. She was an active voice in the conservation movement both here and in Texas.

We will wrap up the week’s activities with a free online movie. You won’t want to miss “Hometown Habitat” on Thursday evening, July 30, from 7 to 9 p.m. The movie features renowned entomologist Dr. Douglas Tallamy, whose research, books and lectures on the use of non-native plants in landscaping, sound the alarm about habitat and species loss. Advance registration is required for this movie.

Further information and registration links are available on the Events tabs on our website, Questions may be directed to