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Several teepees can be seen from the road at the entrance to the center. The Plains Conservation Center is open again where visitors can access the more than one thousand acres on June 27 in Aurora. The center recently welcomed more than 100 sheep to its grounds as part of a new holistic conservation grazing program and is home to two donkeys, Paco and Maria. (Photo by Kathryn Scott/YourHub)
The Plains Conservation Center, one of Aurora’s most treasured natural recreation sites, has reopened to the public with new educational and conservation programming.
The city regained management of the vast open space May 1.
“Aurora has owned the land for years, and so when the nonprofit organization managing the site came to us and said they couldn’t operate it anymore, we essentially moved back in,” said Eric Watts, superintendent with Aurora Parks, Recreation and Open Space.
Beginning in 1948, the 1,100-acre site at 21901 E. Hampden Ave. was run by the Plains Conservation Center nonprofit, which established an environmental and cultural education center focused on the plains ecosystem and the early settlers who lived within it.
Last year, that organization merged with the Boulder-based Savory Institute, an international nonprofit that employs a holistic land management strategy developed by the organization’s founder, Allan Savory, to restore desertified grasslands.
“The Plains Conservation Center reached a point where they thought their mission and legacy would be best carried on by a couple of amazing partners that they had been working with,” said Sarah Gleason, spokeswoman for the Savory Institute. “They also thought Aurora and its partners could offer the kind of educational components for the people living in the area that would help further their goals of reaching people.