The Aspen Center for Environmental Studies (ACES) retained Fred Phillips Consulting and Oxbow Ecological Engineering to improve the educational opportunites on Rock Bottom Ranch in Basalt, Colorado. One of ACES’ primary goals is to provide additional science education to the families and children in the Roaring Fork Valley that need it the most. While an environmental science building was already present on the premises, the organization wished to develop additional areas for families and visitors to freely explore the ranch’s natural amenities without active supervision.
The project involved earthwork, bioengineered habitat structures, water control and irrigation, native re-vegetation, trail construction with bikeway and Rustic River trail access, and interpretive signage. The highlight of the proposed Interpretive Loop Trail involved the construction of multiple Eco-Ed (eco-educational) stations, which would serve as outdoor classrooms and gathering areas for 15-20 students. These stations included: A sustainable agriculture station, a birding station, a riparian habitat station, a “wildlands meets agriculture” station, a rotational grazing station, and a renewable energy and farming station. The implementation of community engagement and participation was exceptionally strong for this project, with lots of promise for future collaboration and interdisciplinary engagement from park users, primary-school to university-level students, local farmers and ranchers, and conservationists.
Aspen Center for Environmental Studies (ACES)
Basalt, CO / 2014-2015
Oxbow Ecological Engineering