Toxic grass and Denver's sick obsession with English landscaping

Categories: Gardening, Nature

Courtesy of Tim Hornton
As you walk from northeast Park Hill across Martin Luther King Boulevard into Park Hill, the sidewalks narrow -- when they exist at all. Shrubs jut out, tripping pedestrians and reminding them that the members of Park Hill's gentry want to keep people off of their green, green lawns.

See also:
Dahlia Square could become a garden spot -- but right now plans are sowing seeds of dissension

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Boulder's Meadow Music offers a fun way for families to connect with nature and each other


So, you've got a kid, huh? Whether it's your own rambunctious preschooler or the bratty nephew you've been charged with keeping alive for the next five hours, the most important thing is leaving your house where valuables are liable to be destroyed and seeking refuge on somebody else's property. In this series, we'll be exploring fun, local, and quirky spots that are kid-tastic and adult-friendly, too.

The award-winning Meadow Music officially kicked off its 2014 summer season with a show on June 2, when hundreds of adults and kiddos spent the evening rocking out, Colorado-style. Now in its tenth year, this free, interactive, evening-time children's program pairs lively, open-air concerts with kid-friendly hikes -- a beloved local tradition that's sponsored by Boulder's Open Space & Mountain Parks.

See also: Shelly Coffman's beauty line, Poppy Drops, helps kids grow up -- but not too quickly

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Five great views -- both mountain and city -- around Denver

Denver is a beautiful city, especially on days devoid of any brown cloud, and there are dozens of places where you can get a memorable shot. Here are five spots that offer a great view of the city or the mountains -- and, in some rare cases, both.

See also: Best Bathroom with a View of Denver -- Amato's Ale House

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Video: Beaver rescuer Sherri Tippie gets an overdue shout-out on PBS

Sherri Tippie, relocating one of her charges in the Colorado high country.
Thirty years ago, when Sherri Tippie first got interested in trying to save a keystone species whose habitat was being wiped out by breakneck development up and down the Front Range, she was ridiculed by wildlife officials as a rank amateur. What, after all, could a hairdresser and former go-go dancer know about trapping and relocating beaver?

But over the last three decades Tippie has trapped, fed, cuddled, relocated and serenaded more beaver than anyone else on the planet. Wildlife agencies now routinely come to her for guidance and inspiration -- as did the PBS program Nature, which airs a segment this week on the growing effort to reintroduce beaver to revitalize rivers across the West and features Tippie as one of the top crusaders for the species.

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Author Shannon Baker on Hopi culture, Barbara Kingsolver and fake yellow snow

Reading is about more than following a narrative or learning facts; it can also be a profound shared experience that culminates in a better understanding of ourselves and each other. In that spirit, welcome to the Westword Book Club, a weekly feature celebrating the books that inspire Denver artists.

Shannon Baker is a mystery writer who lives in the Boulder area. Her novels, such as Tainted Mountain, combine the nervy perspective of Nora Abbott, Baker's protagonist, with the unique milieu of politically embattled sacred tribal lands. Broken Trust, Baker's next entry in the Nora Abbot mystery series, is set in Boulder and scheduled to be published by Midnight Ink Publications in March 2014. Westword caught up with Baker to discuss participating in writer's groups, Hopi tribal culture and fake yellow snow.

See also: Author Mario Acevedo discusses his literary influences, Rocky Flats and writing about dogs

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How Adam Sandler can help you understand why leaves change color in the fall

Kalen Deremo
A collection of quaking aspens sees its final days of chlorophyll.
People often fear death; Mother Nature does not. She dresses up in flashy colors and goes out with a bang. And every year from mid-September to mid-October, those living in Colorado get to witness one of the most brilliant funerals in the entire world.

But why are fall colors so spectacular? We often think we understand how the sun affects plant life and creates the four seasons, but how exactly does that make a bright green leaf turn crimson in only a month's time? Surprisingly enough, the answer can be linked to an obscure film reference in which Adam Sandler obnoxiously utters the faux word, "borophyll."

See also: Meet the tree that's making your neighborhood smell like Semenville, USA

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Yoga on the Rocks hits Red Rocks this Saturday

Careful -- fall out of your headstand too quickly, and you're liable to tumble down a few hundred steps. This Saturday, August 3, Denver Arts & Venues and long-time partner CorePower Yoga will offer Yoga on the Rocks, a supplement to the popular HealthONE Red Rocks Fitness Challenge, a city-sponsored, bootcamp-style exercise program that just finished its third season last weekend.

See also:
- YogaDates delivers asanas and amore to Denver singles
- Yoga Rocks the Park starts rocking the park again this weekend
- Queens of the Stone Age at Red Rocks in August

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No joke: A bear walks into a bar in Estes Park. Can you top that?

Categories: Comedy, Nature

So a bear walks into a bar...

This is no joke. On July 18, a full-grown black bear stopped in Lonigans Saloon in Estes Park. Owner Dave Callahan had just finished cleaning up the kitchen at 9 p.m., then took out the trash and headed home -- missing the bear by maybe five minutes. The bear first did a little dumpster diving, then wandered in the back door of the bar, which is kept open during operating hours in the summer. A local going home from work spotted the bear and followed him into the bar, yelling at the regulars to warn them. But the music was so loud that they couldn't hear him, Callahan says. In fact, many of them were unaware of the intruder. Fortunately, the bear -- estimated to be at least a 350-pounder -- wandered off without hurting anyone.

As strange as this incident was, there have been even odder bear sightings in Colorado.

See also:
- Sometimes the bear eats you
- Hand-feeding Burger King food to bears? That's a Whopper!
- Bear in CU-Boulder photo killed on Highway 36

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Kate Coleman's Biophilia stuffs your backpack with yoga and nutrition

Taken on a yoga retreat in Manitou Springs.
There's no shortage of local entrepreneurs who are tapping into yoga and nutrition. That's why Kate Coleman, founder of Biophilia, wanted to carve out her own special niche. The certified-yoga-instructor-slash-nutritionist has been backpacking for nearly a decade, since a University of Iowa school excursion first sparked her interested in the pastime by offering a much more exhilarating experience than the car-camping she'd done as a child.

See also:
- YogaDates delivers asanas and amore to Denver singles
- Yoga Rocks the Park starts rocking the park again this weekend
- Friday Night Yoga Club launches at Kindness Yoga

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Five fun ways to celebrate the summer solstice around Denver

It's time to embrace the longest day of the year, to celebrate the first day of summer and the fact that it's still light enough to ride your bike at 8:30 p.m. and warm enough to eat ice cream all freaking night long. So let's all work together to create a mystical pathway for all the witches out there traveling to their midsummer meetings. No matter your style or tastes, we've got a way for you to welcome summer with arms wide open.

See also:
- Shanti Medina on her seventh annual Women's Summer Solstice
- Beer meets confession at Theology on Tap
- Yoga Rocks the Park starts rocking the park again this weekend

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