The Cache NHA Staff Updates

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Welcome Renee Tonnies

In December 2022, Renee Tonnies joined the team at Cache la Poudre River National Heritage Alliance (Cache NHA) as the Office Manager. With a bachelor’s degree from the University of Nebraska at Lincoln, she has held various roles working and volunteering for non-profit organizations in Northern Colorado over the past decade. Formally she served as the treasurer of the Northern Colorado Homeschool Association and as a Committee Member & Advancement Coordinator for her kids BSA of America Scout Troop. With her most recent employer, CASA of Larimer County, Renee held a variety of roles with responsibility for reconciling financials between accounting software and a donor CRM, managing confidential and time sensitive materials, as well as managing data for reporting purposes among other things. She’s looking forward to bringing her skills and expertise to Cache la Poudre River NHA and working in a highly collaborative team environment.

Renee has lived in northern Colorado for 22 years with her husband and two kids. She enjoys hiking and paddleboarding as well as visiting the many local breweries.

Welcome Darien Ellis

After working for the Cache La Poudre River National Heritage Area, as a Conservation Legacy contractor, Darien has joined our team full-time as a Projects and Education Specialist. Darien has been a professional backcountry guide and, more recently, an environmental educator. Still, he fell in love with the Poudre River while working as a whitewater guide in Fort Collins. He is excited to continue providing people from all walks of life opportunities to experience, love, and protect our planet.
He has degrees in geography and international studies from Colorado State University.
When Darien is out of the office, he spends his time exploring new and exciting ways to experience wild places.

Congratulations Beth Bullard

Beth was promoted to Assistant Director in December of last year. She’s excited to utilize her leadership skills to support the staff and guide the team as they refine and elevate programming, enhance community partnerships, and steward historic preservation. Her role as a resident photographer, capturing the seasonal beauty throughout the Heritage area, will remain intact.

Bike to Work ( or wherever) Day 2022

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PHA had an awesome time partnering w/ the Coalition for Poudre River Watershed & NoCoVelo 365 last month for Bike to Work (or Wherever) Day! We loved seeing all your smiling faces out on the trail at the Whitewater Park. Thank you all for participating and coming by to see us!

Check out the photos from the day below!

*NoCoVelo365 as the owner of the copyrighted images. They may not be edited in any way for any reason with exception of applying color correction. Additionally, they may not be duplicated, copied, or reproduced without my explicit permission in writing. *

The winner of the PHA gift basket raffle:

Marva Hewett

All of the raffle prize winners, sponsors, and prizes they won are now listed online via

Looking for more biking adventures to explore the landmarks and history along the Cache la Poudre River National Heritage Area?

Programs: Pedaling the Poudre | Cache la Poudre River National Heritage Area (

Bellvue Lab Clean Up

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PHA Staff and volunteers got together at the Bellvue Lab for a clean- up day! We have been working hard on the restoration of Ralph Parshall’s Irrigation Lab in Bellevue. This project is currently in progress, and we hope to have more to share with you all soon!

Check out the photos from the day below!

Poudre Heritage Alliance Awards 2022 Community Grants

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Poudre Heritage Alliance is excited to support the following projects and activities that celebrate the Cache la Poudre River National Heritage Area through our community grants program:


The Five States of Colorado

For release in 2023, Colorado Humanities and Denver-based HaveyPro Cinema are producing a 90-minute documentary film, The Five States of Colorado. Designed for a wide range of audiences from elementary school-age to adults, the film will address the history and issues within five regions, or “states,” of Colorado to inform, educate, and serve as a basis for community and classroom discussion. Footage will include Learning in Our Watershed programming of the Cache la Poudre River National Heritage Area. Post-production, it will be made available as a free, streaming video or download to every public school and academic library in Colorado.

Poudre River Trail Interpretive Signage

This project includes the design, fabrication, and installation of a new interpretive sign at the recently constructed trailhead at Island Grove Regional Park in Greeley, Colorado.  This wayfinding node incorporates shade for visitor comfort.  The sign includes information on the history of Island Grove Park and the Cache la Poudre River National Heritage Area in English and Spanish.  The sign also incorporates historic images, illustrations of local plants and wildlife as well as a regional map of the Poudre Trail.

The Year of the River 2022

Wolverine Farm Publick House is hosting a 6-month celebration of the Cache la Poudre River.  This project invites the community to explore the Poudre River through the lens of creative interpretations from a dozen local artists outside and around the Publick House. Throughout the summer the Year of the River celebration will include pub talks, storytelling events, readings, performances and more.

Poudre River Trail-athon

If it’s an adventure you’re looking for this summer, then check out the 2022 Poudre River Trail-athlon. From June 1-August 1, pick up a free Trail-athlon Adventure Kit available at area libraries. In the kit, you will find ten adventure activities to choose from including a trail journal, take-and-make project, a scavenger hunt, biking, hiking, crafting, and more. The more activities you complete, the more points you earn toward prizes. It’s fun for the whole family!

Life Jacket Loaner Station at Horsetooth Reservoir

This program aims to increase life jacket wear during water-based activities by educating the public about the importance of using a life jacket and how to properly wear and use a life jacket. The Drennon’s Dreams Foundation Life Jacket Loaner Stations will provide the public with free use of life jackets on a first-come, first-served basis, while recreating at Horsetooth Reservoir in alignment with Poudre Heritage Alliance’s Play it Safe program.

If you have questions about these projects, grants, or the Poudre Heritage Alliance, contact

May is Historic Preservation Month!

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Celebrate Historic Preservation Month! See the list below of things you can do this month to connect with history in the NoCo area.

Traces of the Past History Tours

Location: Fort Collins, CO

Website: Traces of the Past History Tours – Home

Explore the history of Fort Collins and the surrounding region with Traces of the Past History Tours. We offer guided tours and formal programs that are fun and educational for all ages. Choose from two tour options of Fort Collins and special tours of sites around the CO/WY/NE region. Our Saturday evening talks give you an opportunity to learn about interesting historical topics in great detail. To add to the enjoyment, our tour guide and program presenter is dressed in historic period clothing and displays original and reproduction period objects to enhance the experience. We look forward to seeing you!

Majestic Mountains Scenic Rides

Location: Fort Collins, CO

Website: Sightseeing tour, Ft Collins Tours, Majestic Mtns Scenic Rides (

Scenic sightseeing and history tours to the Northern Colorado Mountains leaving from Fort Collins.  The driver will guide you along the way with points of interest and interesting facts. Each tour is filled with beautiful scenery and your guide gives the history of the settlers and pioneers of the areas we visit.  There are multiple stops to allow for photographs along the way.


Greeley History Museum

Location: Greeley,CO

Website: Greeley History Museum | Greeley Museums

The Greeley History Museum provides 34,000 square feet to explore and learn about the history of Greeley and notable community members such as Nathan Meeker, Rattlesnake Kate, Dr. Ella Mead, and P.T. Barnum, as well as bison hunters, cowboys, stoop laborers and prisoners of war from World War II. They maintain the permanent display “Utopia: Adaptation on the Great American Desert,” which teaches about the earliest human inhabitants of the Union Colony, the contributions of water buffaloes, mavericks, and mentors. The museum schedules traveling and temporary exhibits which feature artifacts from the museum’s archives.

Centennial Village Museum

Location: Greeley, CO

Website: Centennial Village Museum | Greeley Museums

This living history museum, situated on eight acres, features over 30 original homes and structures, lush gardens and paved walking paths providing a look at local life from the 1870s through early 1930s. Costumed interpreters guide visitors through the early history of our region in these buildings and period landscaped grounds. Throughout the summer, families can take part in interactive experiences from one-room school to military demonstrations on horseback. During a visit to Centennial Village, you will learn about how our early pioneers lived on the high-plains region of Colorado, especially focused on our agricultural heritage.

Windsor Art & Heritage Center

Stop by the Art and Heritage Center in Windor to celebrate History Preservation Month!

Location: 116 5th St, Windsor, CO

Website: Historic Preservation | Windsor, CO – Official Website (

Friday, May 13th, 2022: 5:30-7:30

Saturday, May 14th, 2022: 10am- noon

Enjoy a fun history activity and light refreshments while you learn about Windsor’s historic buildings!

Press Release: Neguse Chairs Hearing on Legislation to Preserve Colorado National Heritage Areas

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Thursday, April 28, 2022


Contact: Grace Martinez


Neguse Chairs Hearing on Legislation to Preserve Colorado National Heritage Areas


View his opening remarks HERE.


Washington, D.C.— Today, Congressman Joe Neguse, Chair of the U.S. Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests and Public Lands held a hearing on legislation that expands protections to National Parks, including his bill to preserve the Cache La Poudre, Sangre de Cristo and South Park National Heritage Areas in Colorado. Neguse introduced the Colorado National Heritage Areas Reauthorization Act last month – to ensure Colorado’s three heritage areas continue to receive National Park Service (NPS) funding through 2036.


“The heritage areas in our state, including the Cache La Poudre Heritage Area in my district offer a wide array of outdoor activities for visitors from across the country. From hiking, biking, whitewater rafting, fishing and birdwatching to soaking in the rich history of our state at museums and historical places these areas offer so much to the spirit of our state,” said Congressman Neguse. “As we recognize the needs and challenges to the long-term management of public lands across our country, we must continue to work to ensure our parks tell the whole American story.”


“Colorado has the honor of having three designated National Heritage Areas: Cache la Poudre, Sangre de Cristo, and South Park. Each of these landscapes is historically and culturally significant and has strong grassroots, regional support. At the Cache la Poudre National Heritage Area, our programs include opportunities for student learning, river safety initiatives, storytelling, visitor wayfinding, historic preservation, oral history documentation, and a variety of family friendly events and activities along the river and its trail system.” said Sabrina Stoker, Executive Director of the Poudre Heritage Alliance. “H.R. 7218 [Colorado National Heritage Areas Reauthorization Act] will provide the Colorado National Heritage Areas with crucial funding stability and the opportunity to continue telling the stories that celebrate the culture and heritage of the great State of Colorado.”


The hearing also covered the National Discovery Trails Act, the Historic Preservation Enhancement Act, the African-American Burial Grounds Preservation Act, the Gateway Solidarity Act, and the Ukrainian Independence Park Act.


Witnesses included: Joy Beasley, Associate Director of the Cultural Resources, Partnerships, and Science National Park Service, Eric Seaborg, President of the American Discovery Trail Society, Reno Keoni Franklin, Chairman of the Kashia Pomo Tribe, Nick Loris, Vice President of Public Policy of C3 Solutions, Angela M. Thorpe, Director of the North Carolina African American Heritage Commission, Michael Sawkiw, Vice President of the Ukrainian Congress Committee of America, and Sabrina Stoker, Executive Director of the Poudre Heritage Alliance


View the entire hearing HERE. 




Congressman Neguse and Congressman Lamborn unveiled the bipartisan, bicameral Colorado National Heritage Areas Reauthorization Act on March 25, 2022. The bill is carried in the Senate by Colorado Senators Bennet and Hickenlooper.


Colorado’s three National Heritage Areas were first authorized in 2009 following years of grassroots organizing from stakeholders in their respective regions. NHAs leverage federal NPS funds for historic and cultural preservation projects with the support of counties, tourism, and historic preservation organizations. Colorado’s three National Heritage Areas have all completed notable projects since they were authorized in 2009. At the South Park NHA, NPS funds have helped to restore the endangered Paris Mill near Alma. Within the Sangre de Cristo NHA, funds have helped to share the story of the first desegregation case in the nation, Mestas v. Shone. At the Cache la Poudre NHA, they leveraged NPS funds to develop a water education curriculum at the Poudre River that can be accessed across the West.



PHA Awards More Than $35,000 To Large Grant Recipients

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The Poudre Heritage Alliance (PHA) and the Cache la Poudre River National Heritage Area (CALA) has awarded several local projects with funds from the 2021 large grants cycle. The newest projects include “The Hand That Feeds” Sculpture Monument, a Poudre Basin Information Website, Watering the West. Other projects that will be continued from last year’s grant cycle but were put on hold due to COVD-19 will continue work this year. This includes the Eaton House and the Jacoby Halfway House Site. The total of awards being distributed is more than $35,000 out of PHA’s budget, which largely comes from federal funding sources. See below for descriptions of the newest projects:


Watering the West 

Watering the West enlightens audiences about water issues in the American West: past, present, and future: where the water comes from, where it goes and how it gets there; the unique nature of western water law and its origins, and how growing populations and a changing climate will impact a diverse group of water users that rely on the rivers that deliver the mountain snow that makes the American West habitable. Through personal stories from city planners, farmers and ranchers, recreators and ecologists, brewers and water resource managers with the Poudre River as our backdrop, we explore transmountain and local diversions; storage projects and farms; water court and water auctions, water measurement and delivery, a backcountry river journey; and the listening sessions, council meetings and forums where opinions divide neighbors, towns, and industry leaders. The films introduce us to the people and programs that aim for listening, connection, and cooperation, to those who seek treplace divisiveness with collaboration as the American West moves into a future of increasingly scarce water supplies. From past to present and with an animation of the 1874 dispute between Union Colony and Fort Collins farmers that nearly turned violent to the 1986 re- enactment of a water broker purchasing a farm with water rights to secure water for the City of Thornton to an animated song which teaches the Doctrine of Prior Appropriation, WATERING the WEST educates, entertains and presents a case for cooperation around one of the most pressing issues of our time. 


“The Hand That Feeds” Sculptural Monument 

A Sculptural Monument designed to preserve and honor the rich family history and significant contributions of the Mexican and Hispanic people who worked the beet fields of northern Colorado. Located in Fort Collins Sugar Beet Park on a city-designed plaza, an interpretive storyboard and educational programs will enable visitors and students to understand their impact on our communityMujeres de Colores is fundraising to underwrite the project with support from community partners and committed individuals with a goal to complete the monument by October 2021 with unveiling during Hispanic Heritage Month. 


Poudre Basic Information Website 

The Poudre Basin Information website project is a cross-jurisdictional information website for the Poudre Basin, focusing on topics that have a nexus with water issues. The funds from this large grant will focus on integrating data and information related to Poudre Heritage Alliance themes, including historical data about water infrastructure and use, connections to water law and administration, issues related to water demand and supply, and providing data and information to reduce conflict and increase cooperation. An initial implementation of the website can be found at This website is an open source community resource that can be used by organizations, decision makers, and the public to better understand water issues in the basin. Many organizations provide useful datasets and informational content.  However, it can be difficult to find and use information. The Poudre Basin Information website serves as a regional resource to support education and decision making. The website provides information about entities in the basin, including municipalities and water providers, ditch companies, environmental organizations, education organizations, and many other datasets.  The information is organized spatially and temporally to provide context for basin entities, current conditions, historical data, seasonal outlook, and future planning, involving over 70 maps and associated data visualizations when fully implemented.   


If you have a project that needs funding, we still have small grants available on a rolling basis. Check out our grants page for more information. If you have questions about these projects, grants, or the Poudre Heritage Alliance, contact

Intern Spotlight: Brit Austin

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Give a warm welcome to our newest intern Brit! They’ll be working with us through UNC to assess and improve existing trails in the Heritage Area. As for a little bit about them, Brit got their Associate’s as a Veterinary Technician and earned their certification in 2018. They recently decided to go back to school UNC to pursue a degree in Biology and later discovered a passion for, and decided to minor in, Geographic Information Science.

Brit has a passion of learning and sharing education related to Biology, GIS, animals, and the LGBTQA+ community. They live in Loveland with their husband, their dog, two cats, two snakes, and axolotl. In their spare time they enjoy archery, hiking, and rollerblading.

We’re so excited to have you Brit!