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Education

Education is an integral part of our mission at Ranchlands.

There is a growing need in ranching to cultivate passionate advocates from both rural and urban communities who understand the crucial link between conservation and ranching. Ranchlands is committed to developing immersive environmental education experiences for the general public to further this goal.

Every spring and fall, our Chico Basin Ranch is open to educational tours in conjunction with our seasonal bird banding station. For more information, please contact learning@ranchlands.com.

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Bird Banding

The Chico’s abundant springs, creeks, lakes, and other habitat provide refuge for hundreds of species of migratory birds. Each spring and fall, we maintain a bird banding station in partnership with Bird Conservancy of the Rockies, where visiting biologists net and band hundreds of these migratory birds. Visitors are welcome to visit the station and assist our expert birders with bird banding and identification.

This year, the bird banding station will operate Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, 7am-noon, for the month of May. Fall banding station dates will be announced soon.

Field Trips

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.

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The Curriculum

Students in grades K-12 have the opportunity to get up close with cattle and horses, tour our corrals and headquarters facility, and observe biologists working at our on-site bird banding station. 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.

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