GrasslandsLIVE Highlights Importance of Grasslands

DENVER (CBS4)-This coming spring we’ll get a chance to learn much more about the importance of grasslands. CBS4 is sponsoring GrasslandsLIVE, a virtual field trip and webcast from Colorado.

Once grasslands covered about a fifth of North America. Much of that historic range is gone but grasslands still provide important habitats and are key to the ecosystem.

Forest Service spokesman Rick Truex and Erin Youngberg with Bird Conservancy of the Rockies talked about GrasslandsLIVE on CBS4 News at Noon with CBS4’s Alan Gionet on Tuesday.

(credit; CBS)

(credit; CBS)

“We’ve got a program called “GrasslandsLIVE” that’s being developed in partnership with Conservancy of the Rockies and CBS4, “ said Forest Service spokesman Rick Truex. “And what we’re going to be doing on May 17, 2017 is creating a virtual field trip for folks of all ages to connect with our grasslands and this will be a webcast out on the Pawnee National Grassland, talking all about the wildlife resources, the habitat, the ecosystem services the grasslands provide, and it should be a great opportunity for the folks to visit the Pawnee National Grassland without actually being there.“

Pawnee Buttes National Grasslands  (credit: Gay Isis from Greeley)

Pawnee Buttes National Grasslands (credit: Gay Isis from Greeley)

The grasslands are important to Colorado in a way that many people who live in the state do not realize.

“The Pawnee is pretty important. It’s one of the 20 national grasslands we administer. The Pawnee is really important in the sense that it’s really an urban grassland and it really provides us a great opportunity to connect youth and teachers and people of all ages with these important resources. Grasslands are pretty rare. Much of the prairie has been converted and our national forests and grasslands do provide a great resource for wildlife and other resources,” said Truex.

The grasslands are important to birds and their migration patterns.

“A lot of the birds that live in our grasslands and breed in North America migrate south to Mexico and we’re actually kicking of Grasslands Live this Thursday with a live webcast in Chihuahua, Mexico with a classroom there,” said Erin Youngberg with Bird Conservancy of the Rockies. “So you can learn about where birds go and how the shared birds we have in Colorado actually go down south for the Winter.”

It’s also important to maintain the grasslands as an integral part of the ecosystem.

“To maintain the native grasslands if you can. Birds and wildlife need a lot of space,” said Youngberg

LINK: grasslandslive.org

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