55 participants and land trust managers gathered on October 26th at the Arapahoe County Fairgrounds Event Center in Aurora, Colorado in anticipation of a tour of Lowry Ranch. Participants currently influence a total of 223,810 acres of land.
The Lowry Ranch is held by the School Trust and managed on behalf of the trust by the Colorado State Land Board (CSLB). The CSLB is working with The Nature Conservancy (TNC) to meet certain conservation goals such as improved wildlife habitat for birds and balancing prairie dog conservation with a viable agricultural operation. Because of its size, location, and complexity, both the CSLB and TNC believe that the operation at Lowry offers a great opportunity to show that Holistic Management can be a powerful tool for advancing a successful ranching operation that meets School Trust requirements and that supports ecosystem and rangeland health and the conservation of many species of plants and animals.
The day began right on time, though the scheduled agenda had to be adjusted slightly due to threatening weather on the horizon. Participants were bussed to the 28,000 acre Lowry Ranch, where participants were treated to a scenic view, showing an area of the ranch that borders a neighborhood of upscale homes. This jumpstarted the first discussion of the day, such as how to manage a property so close to a populated area.
The group then left the windy ridge to hike to the bottom of the riparian zone where there were discussions of the changing creek bed, the past planned grazing regime, and a great view of the results. Nick Trainor, from Trainor Cattle Company emphasized how, when properly managed, cattle in a riparian area can bring big benefits.
Prior to Trainor Cattle Company being awarded the grazing lease, the land had been rested for eight years, with little to no recovery visible. But the results of the past four seasons of planned grazing are showing great improvements in the diversity of forage and ground cover.
Next, the group made a short hike to the fence line between two grazing regimes. Big bluestem patches were highly visible in both, with one having been grazed and still in need of time for full recovery, and the adjacent pasture that had not been grazed yet. A discussion followed about monitoring both and seeing which grazing regime produces better results, with participants also discussing the different monitoring methods used on the Lowry Ranch.
Soon, bitter cold winds forced everyone back into the buses for a return to the indoor comfort at Araphoe County Fairgrounds Event Center for lunch and afternoon presentations from William Burnidge of TNC, William Woolston and Mindy Gottsegen from the State Land Board, and Program Director and HMI Certified Educator Kathy Harris. Next HMI Certified Educator Kirk Gadzia and Nick Trainor led a lively discussion and answered questions from Land Trust managers and ranchers alike, about the management challenges, practices, and results at Lowry Ranch.
The day ended with a Q & A session, with snow flurries in the air as participants left the event center.
Results from Lowry Range include the following:
Overall event satisfaction – 100%
Would recommend event to others – 100%
Expanded network – 100%
Intend to use information learned from workshop – 96%
Make a Monthly Gift to HMI
For $25.00 a month or only .83 cents per day, you can help us heal 20 million acres of land by 2020. For $50.00 or only $1.67 per day, you can help us educate 25,000 people by 2020.
With easy, secure automatic payments, please consider your monthly gift today.