Mantherapy: A Resource for Men-tal Health

According to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE), "Colorado's suicide rates are among the highest in the country, and males in Colorado are four times more likely to die by suicide than females."  CDPHE is working to combat this trend with an online resource called Mantherapy.  Originally launched in 2012, the site has recently been revamped, according to a news release from CDPHE.  New features of the site include resources for military/veterans and first responders, videos, and a new personal assessment tool called "head inspection."  The information is all presented in a friendly, humorous way that can help men deal with anger, depression, anxiety, grief, and more.

Image courtesy Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment


Butterfly Migration

If you love butterflies, this week has been an absolute delight along the Front Range as the painted lady butterflies migrate south.  Conditions this year have caused an explosion of the numbers of painted ladies, which is why we are seeing so many more than usual.  The orange butterflies, which are commonly mistaken for monarchs, are headed to Arizona, New Mexico, and northern Mexico for the winter, according to an article in the Denver Post.  They enjoy a variety of flowers, especially asters, which are in bloom right now.  Last weekend was the peak for the migration through the Denver area, although many can still be seen.  The butterflies will also pass through on their way back north in April and May.

Colorado has many other butterfly species, as well.  Those who enjoy butterflies should see the CSU Extension's publication Attracting Butterflies to the Garden, which offers tips on creating a butterfly habitat along with lists of the best types of flowers to plant for attracting butterflies.

Painted lady (Vanessa cardui) butterflies enjoying the asters at my home in Park Hill, September 16, 2017.


Time Machine Tuesday: The Colorado Agricultural Society

Colorado Territory had barely been established when a group of leading farmers, agriculturalists, and promoters got together and formed the Colorado Agricultural Society in 1861.  Society founders included such notables as William N. Byers (Denver promoter and founder of the Rocky Mountain News), Richard Sopris (future Denver mayor), William Gilpin (territorial governor), and William Larimer (founder of Denver).

The organization was already ten years old -- and Colorado hadn't even attained statehood yet -- when they kicked off their annual agricultural exhibition in Denver 146 years ago today, September 19, 1871.  In his newspaper Byers wrote that "the fair which opens to day will be the most extensive ever witnessed in Colorado."  (You can read the full article online via the State Library's Colorado Historic Newspapers Collection.) 

The exhibition, on the eastern outskirts of the city, boasted a fairgrounds of forty acres with a mile-long racetrack and "an elegant new grandstand...with orchestra for musicians, and seats for the accommodation of 3,000 persons" -- especially interesting since Denver's entire population in 1870 was only 4,759.  The fairgrounds also included stock pens, a 2-story building with "a large and commodious dining hall," a 150-foot circular pavilion for agricultural displays, "ladies' and gentlemens' saloons," and "a large hall for minerals, fine arts and fancy goods."  This description comes from the Agricultural Society's biennial report and report of the exhibition, which you can view online from our library.  The document also includes a history of the Society and a report of the previous year's (1870) exhibition, as well as the society's annual reports for both years. Detailed "programmes" for the 1870 and 1871 exhibitions can also be found.  The lists of all of the prize winners are also included.  Mrs. H. B. Bearce must have been especially talented; she won first prize in three categories: "best worked pair slippers," "best display bead work," and "best embroidered chemise."  It might have helped, though, that her husband was President of the Society!

The Colorado Agricultural Society was dissolved in 1873 and the task of promoting agriculture in Colorado went to the Colorado Industrial Association.  Smaller, local fairs such as county fairs were held in lieu of the territorial fair until 1882, when Denver constructed a huge pavilion for a major Mining and Industrial Exposition.  Although mining was the major focus of this exposition, it did include large displays devoted to agriculture and other industries.  This exposition was located near South Broadway and what is now Exposition Avenue.  It was only held for three years; a major decline in attendance at the 1884 fair spelled the demise of the exposition.  Later, in 1901, the Colorado State Fair was established in Pueblo, where it is still held every year.


College and University Veteran Services

Colorado's state-funded colleges and universities support veterans and active-duty servicemembers in a variety of ways, from tuition benefits to job placement assistance to mental health services.  If you are a servicemember or veteran who is thinking of applying to a Colorado higher education institution, the following list provides links to the different veterans programs offered by each college or university:

Adams State College:  Veteran's Educational Benefits
Colorado Community College System:  Veteran Education & Training
Colorado Mesa University:  Veteran Services
Colorado School of Mines:  Veterans Services
Colorado State University:  Services for Veterans at CSU
Colorado State University - Global Campus:  Military Tuition Assistance and Benefits
Colorado State University - Pueblo:  Military and Veterans Success Center
Fort Lewis College:  VA Educational Benefits
Metropolitan State University of Denver:  Veteran and Military Student Support Services
University of Colorado - Boulder:  Office of Veteran Services
University of Colorado - Colorado Springs:  Office of Veteran and Military Student Affairs
University of Colorado - Denver: Veteran & Military Student Services
University of Northern Colorado: Veterans Services
Western State Colorado University: Veteran Educational Benefits



September is National Preparedness Month

The recent hurricane events have demonstrated the importance of being prepared for disaster.  Even though we don't get hurricanes in our state, there are a number of other disasters to prepare for -- including both natural disasters (floods, fires, tornadoes, storms, avalanches, rockslides) and manmade disasters (terrorism, active shooters, power outages).  There are many personal incidents to prepare for as well -- illness, identity theft, personal safety, home protection, and more.  ReadyColorado.com, sponsored by Colorado's Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, can help you prepare for hazards large and small. 

On the site you can find resources on how to create a preparedness plan for your home or office; how to stay informed of emergencies in your area; a calendar of events and training; 8 signs of terrorism; a natural hazards map; pet safety; resources for educators; resources for people with disabilities; and a blog.  Recent entries in their blog include a wide variety of topics including pedestrian safety, business continuity planning, bears, immunizations, heatstroke prevention, campfire safety, internet safety, and drone safety.  Before the next disaster - personal or community-wide - affects you, check out this informative site.


Time Machine Tuesday: Trappers, Traders and Mountain Men

In the early decades of the nineteenth century, French, English, and American fur trappers came to Colorado, living a rugged existence in the mountains.  They traded with -- and often married into -- Indian tribes, and sent pelts back to "the States," where beaver hats were fashionable.  James Baker and Leroy Hafen, in their 1927 History of Colorado, reported that the first recorded trapper-trader in Colorado was James Purcell in 1802, a year before the Louisiana Purchase.  In the book the authors provide a detailed history of the fur trade and of the men who trapped and traded in what was to become Colorado.  The full 5-volume history has been digitized by our library.

The Colorado Magazine, published by the Colorado Historical Society from 1923 to 1980, also detailed the lives of several mountain men.  Articles include:
Born into slavery in 1805, James P. Beckwourth became one of Colorado's most famous mountain men.


Colorado and the Aerospace Industry

Aerospace has been designated by the Colorado Office of Economic Development & International Trade as one of Colorado's fourteen key industries that "drive our state's economy through innovation and growth."  Colorado has several large aerospace companies, and the Governor's Office has identified aerospace as one of the industries they want to see grow in Colorado.  Partnering with the Brookings Institute, the Governor's Office in 2013 issued Launch! Taking Colorado's Space Economy to the Next Level, which details "a forward thinking business strategy to support the Aerospace Industry in Colorado.  This report affords us the opportunity to capitalize on the strengths of Colorado's Aerospace sector and develop strategies to collaboratively address the challenges facing the industry."  For this and other reports on the aerospace industry in Colorado, search our library's online catalog.


West Nile Virus

The Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment (CDPHE) reminds us that "summer may be waning, but West Nile Virus season isn't."  According to their press release, August and September are the months with the highest occurrences of the mosquito-transmitted virus, and "transmission to people is on the rise." 

The CDPHE gathers data on West Nile cases and is the state's main resource for information on the prevention of human cases of the virus.  See their West Nile Virus webpage for resources such as FAQs, prevention tips, data and statistics, and resources for health care providers.  You can also find reports and data from CDPHE by searching our library's online catalog.

Animals, especially horses, can also be affected by the virus.  Refer to the Colorado Department of Agriculture for information on equine West Nile Virus.  Also be sure to see their publication West Nile Virus Encephalitis: A Guide for Horse Owners, available from our library.

Finally, be sure to visit the state's Fight the Bite Colorado website for more resources.


Hurricane Information

2017 is turning out to be a historic year for hurricane activity in the U.S., as the Gulf Coast works to recover from Hurricane Harvey and the Atlantic Coast braces for Hurricane Irma.  While we don't have to worry about hurricanes in Colorado, our state's two largest universities both engage in significant research on hurricanes.

At Colorado State University, the Tropical Meteorology Project predicts Atlantic hurricane activity and landfall probability each year.  The project was founded by renowned scientist Dr. William Gray, who passed away in 2016.  Gray began his annual predictions in 1984, and they are continued today by his mentee, Dr. Phil Klotzbach of CSU's Department of Atmospheric Science.  So what did Klotzbach predict for this year?  You can find the 2017 (and previous years') predictions available online from our library.  The reports contain lots of stats and data supporting the predictions, but the bottom line is, on August 4 Klotzbach and associate Michael Bell predicted that "the probability for major hurricanes making landfall along the United States Coastline and in the Caribbean is above-normal."  Given what we are seeing right now as Irma gathers speed in the Caribbean, it looks like the researchers were spot-on.

A different kind of hurricane research takes place at the University of Colorado.  Instead of predicting hurricanes, researchers at the university's Natural Hazards Center study the aftermath of the events, how they affect the people who live through them, and how emergency responders can learn from the events.  While the Center researches all kinds of disasters, hurricanes make up a significant part of their research because there have been so many devastating ones in the last several decades.  You can find the Center's reports in our library; some particularly apropos titles include: 
Check out the Natural Hazards Center's website for preliminary resources on Hurricane Harvey.

*As of this writing the possibility exists for Hurricane Irma to exceed Hurricane Andrew in intensity and damage in Florida.  This year marks the 25th Anniversary of Hurricane Andrew.


Colorado's Labor History

This coming Monday is Labor Day.  Because so much of Colorado's development was tied in with mining, transportation, and other industry, and because of events like the Ludlow Massacre, the state has been a significant part of the history of the labor movement in America.  Here are some resources, both current and historical, available from our library that tell the story of labor Colorado:

Agricultural and migrant workers:

Child labor:

Immigration policy:

Labor Movement and the Progressive Era:

  • The Archaeology of Class War:  The Colorado Coalfield Strike of 1913-1914, University Press of Colorado, 2009
  • Coal People:  Life in Southern Colorado's Company Towns, by Rick J. Clyne, Colorado Historical Society, 1999
  • From Redstone to Ludlow:  John Cleveland Osgood's Struggle Against the United Mine Workers of America, by F. Darrell Munsell, University Press of Colorado, 2009
  • The Gospel of Progressivism:  Moral Reform and Labor War in Colorado, 1900-1930 by R. Todd Laugen, University Press of Colorado, 2010
  • The Great Coalfield War, by George S. McGovern, University Press of Colorado, 1996
  • Industrializing the Rockies:  Growth, Competition, and Turmoil in the Coalfields of Colorado and Wyoming, 1868-1914 by David A. Wolff, University Press of Colorado, 2003
  • The Lessons of Leadville, or, Why the Western Federation of Miners Turned Left, by William Philpott, Colorado Historical Society, 1995
  • Making an American Workforce:  The Rockefellers and the Legacy of Ludlow, by Fawn-Amber Montoya, University Press of Colorado, 2014 
  • Persistent Progressives:  The Rocky Mountain Farmers' Union, by John F. Freeman, University Press of Colorado, 2016 
  • Radicalism in the Mountain West, 1890-1920: Socialists, Populists, Miners, and Wobblies, by David R. Berman, University Press of Colorado, 2007 
  • "Remember Ludlow!" by Joanna Sampson, Colorado Historical Society, 1999
  • Representation and Rebellion:  The Rockefeller Plan at the Colorado Fuel and Iron Company, 1914-1942, by Jonathan H. Rees, University Press of Colorado, 2010 
  • Western Voices: 125 Years of Colorado Writing, Colorado Historical Society, 2004
  • A Wide-Awake Woman:  Josephine Roche in the Era of Reform, by Elinor McGinn, Colorado Historical Society, 2002 
  • Working in Colorado:  A Brief History of the Colorado Labor Movement, University of Colorado, 1971


Statistics and studies:


This is just a small sampling of the many resources on this topic available from our library.  For further resources, including current labor trends, employment statistics, guidance on labor laws, state labor and employment programs, and more, search our library's online catalog.


Time Machine Tuesday: Teaching Colorado History

Anybody who attended elementary school in Colorado remembers learning about the state's history -- the colorful characters, the miners, the Native Americans, the politicians, the pioneers.  We learned to sing songs like "Where the Columbines Grow" and recite the rags-to riches-to rags story of the Tabors.  We stumbled over the pronunciation of "molybdenum" and traveled to the State Capitol to see the artworks depicting the colorful characters.  Over time, however, the resources used to teach the story of our state changed significantly, and you can see the progression of these resources through documents at our library.

If you went to school in the 1950s and '60s, you might remember using a textbook called Colorado, The Land and the People.  Issued by the State Department of Education, this book for young readers told the story of Colorado for use in the Colorado history curriculum.  The book has been digitized by our library so you can now view it online for a blast from the past.

Kids going to school around 1976 experienced a time of special emphasis on the state's (and nation's) history -- the Centennial-Bicentennial celebrations.  The state's official Centennial-Bicentennial Commission issued a teacher's guide that included lesson plans and book and film suggestions for teaching various aspects of the state's history.  The illustrated guide also included "Heritage '76" and "Horizons '76" questions and ideas to help get kids thinking about how to relate the past to the future.

By the late 1990s and into the 2000s, it was all about standards.  The Colorado Department of Education released academic standards for all subjects, including history, and in conjunction released such publications as Making Standards Work!: HistoryAlso, the University Press of Colorado issued three elementary school textbooks, Colorado:  Our Colorful State (1999), Colorado:  The Highest State (1995 and 2011), and Discover Colorado (2016), which aligned closely with the standards.  (All can be checked out from our library).  You can see the progression of the standards in the Department of Education's official publications of the Colorado Model Content Standards for History from 1995 and 2001, and the current Colorado Academic Standards: Social Studies, adopted in 2009.  For more information on the Colorado Academic Standards see the Colorado Department of Education's Standards and Instructional Support website.

The standards make numerous references to what are called "21st century skills," and today's students have a variety of resources available to them that we pre-Internet kids didn't have, including Colorado State Library-sponsored resources like the Colorado Encyclopedia, the Colorado Historic Newspapers Collection, and the Colorado Virtual Library's kid-friendly biographies of famous Coloradans.  An exciting result of the availability of digitized resources means that today, compared with when I was in elementary school, much more emphasis is being placed on teaching kids how to use primary sources.  And our library has many, many primary sources on Colorado history readily available online -- just search our digital repository and web catalog.


Preventing School Violence

A new school year has begun, and students deserve a healthy school experience free from violence, crime, and bullying.  Several state agencies are working to help prevent school violence and provide all children and youth with a safe place to learn and grow.

The Colorado School Safety Resource Center is the state's main agency for all matters of school safety.  They have published numerous resources on school violence prevention including
The University of Colorado's Center for the Study and Prevention of Violence (CSPV) administers programs such as Blueprints for Healthy Youth Development, which provides resources about evidence-based programs to prevent bullying, violence and delinquency, youth substance abuse, aggressive behavior, and more.  Publications from the CSPV include
The Colorado Attorney General's Office provides victim assistance resources and guidance on violence and disciplinary issues.  See their Colorado School Violence Prevention and Student Discipline Manual for more information.

The Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment's Prevention Services Division has a Violence and Injury Prevention Program with a number of resources geared toward children and youth.  They have also developed a new Positive Youth Development Tool.  See also their report Bold Steps Toward Child and Adolescent Health:  A Plan for Youth Violence Prevention in Colorado.

The Colorado Department of Education has also published several resources on school violence prevention, such as 
Safe2Tell is a state-funded program that provides a hotline for students to anonymously report school safety issues and concerns, not limited to violence but also concerning substance abuse, suicide, and more.  Their tagline is "anonymously report anything that concerns or threatens you, your friends, your family, or your community."  Their website also includes resources for students, families, and communities.

State reports on specific incidents include
Finally, for more resources and links see our library's Quick Guide to Safe Schools and Youth Violence Prevention; you can also search our web catalog. 


The Colorado State Fair

The Colorado State Fair begins today and runs through September 4.  This annual event began in 1869 -- before Colorado even was a state -- with a horse show in Pueblo.  148 years later Pueblo still hosts the fair.  The State Fair includes a variety of contests and entertainment, including rodeos; livestock and animal shows; concerts; carnival rides; a 5K run; cooking, baking, and brewing contests; arts and crafts judging, and more.

What does the State Fair bring to Colorado?  A 2011 economic impact study of the fair reports that the fair brings about $29 million of economic activity into Colorado.  Our library also has annual financial audit reports for the State Fair back to 1990; see our library's online catalog for these and other resources.


The Buildings of Auraria

The Auraria Higher Education Center (or Auraria Campus, as it is often known) is quite unique among Colorado's college campuses.  This inner-city campus is home to not one, but three separate higher education institutions: the Community College of Denver, Metropolitan State University of Denver, and the University of Colorado Denver.  Auraria is also unique for its history, as more than a century before the campus was built, Auraria was a separate town that competed with Denver.  Eventually, it became a middle-class Denver neighborhood that was home to many diverse ethnic groups.  Today, a few of the buildings from the old Auraria neighborhood remain to tell the story of the people who made Auraria their home. 

The Auraria Campus is a prime place to experience the evolution of Denver's architectural styles, because the historic buildings that have been preserved coexist with forty years of evolving campus architecture.  Among the repurposed historic buildings on campus are several churches, the old Tivoli Brewery, and the 9th Street Park, one street of old Auraria homes and businesses that was preserved to commemorate the pre-campus neighborhood.

You can learn more about Auraria's architecture in the following resources, available from our library (publications without hyperlinks can be checked out in print):

The Auraria Neighborhood:

The Auraria Campus:

Old and new coexist on the Auraria Campus.  Photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons.


Time Machine Tuesday: Highway Safety

Certainly a lot has changed in the last fifty years regarding vehicle safety!  Consider this excerpt from Highway Safety in Colorado, a 1966 legislative research report:

Seat belts have reduced deaths and injury on the nation's highways and have long been utilized by racing car drivers.  Many states have adopted legislation requiring the installation of seat belts in passenger vehicles; unfortunately these mandatory programs have not been successful in developing a high degree of utilization by persons riding in private vehicles.  For this reason, the [Legislative Committee on Highway Safety] is reluctant to recommend mandatory legislation for passenger vehicles.  On the other hand...the committee urges the State Department of Education to take action to encourage installation of seat belts in school buses.

Today we still struggle with making sure private vehicle passengers use their seat belt, but it is difficult to imagine that we would not have seat belt laws just because some people won't buckle up.  Conversely, we still don't have laws requiring seat belts in school buses, despite the legislative committee's suggestion fifty years ago.  (See the Colorado Department of Education's publication The Issue of Lap Belts in School Buses for information on current law and practice).

 Here's another excerpt from the 1966 report:

Nationwide, highway safety officials have been unable to cope with the problems posed by the drinking driver. ... Enforcement officers, licensing officials, and the judiciary have been relatively successful in fining, jailing, and suspending licenses of persons driving while under the influence of alcohol.  However, all three of these penalties have not proved an effective deterrent to the alcoholic driver.

Doesn't sound too much different from today, does it?  But consider this -- in 1966, the legal limit for blood alcohol content (BAC) was .15, almost double what it is today.  The committee recommended "a lesser charge of drinking and driving for persons with a blood alcohol level of .10 per cent and over but less than .15 per cent.  Although an individual may not be under the influence of alcohol, his reflexes, judgment, ability to make quick decisions, etc., can be impaired."  Compare this to today, where .05 is considered "ability impaired," and .08  is the legal limit for driving under the influence -- two percentage points below what was only "impaired" in 1966.

For more comparisons between yesterday and today, you can view Highway Safety in Colorado online from our library, along with thousands of other publications that tell the story of life in Colorado.


Safe Routes to School

This month kids are heading back to school, but the weather is still nice -- so why not let them walk or bike to school and get fresh air and exercise?  The Colorado Department of Transportation has a program that encourages just that.  The Safe Routes to School (SRTS) program helps schools and communities provide a safe environment for students while also encouraging physical activity:

SRTS programs can improve safety, not just for children, but for the entire community. It provides opportunities for people to increase their physical activity and improve their health. It reduces congestion and pollution around our schools and encourages partnerships.

According to the SRTS website, in 1969 about half of all schoolchildren walked or biked to school; today, 90% are driven by auto or bus.  Accordingly, today's childhood obesity rates are much higher than they were fifty years ago.  The SRTS program is available to help schools and communities in a variety of ways, whether it be to paint crosswalks, hire crossing guards, provide educational programs, or set up groups known as "walking school buses," where large groups of students walk together.

If your school or community is considering partnering in the SRTS program, or you just want to provide education on safe walking and biking, our library has some helpful resources, including


Time Machine Tuesday: Increasing Farm Production in Wartime

Following the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, ever-increasing numbers of Americans were joining the armed forces.  Whether they were training stateside or had been shipped overseas to fight in Europe or the Pacific, the huge numbers of soldiers, sailors, nurses, and others involved in the war needed to be fed.  Luckily, the United States had millions of acres of farmland to grow crops and livestock to feed the hungry soldiers. 

A USDA poster promoting wartime farm production.
There was one problem, however.  Throughout the 1930s farmers on the Great Plains had suffered through drought, dust storms, and the Depression.  Agricultural production had declined as a result, and many wary farmers were reluctant to increase production.  By 1942, however, rising farm prices and a push by government agencies to encourage farm production helped to reverse this trend.  Among the agencies here in Colorado working to help farmers increase production was the Colorado State Board for Vocational Education.  A forerunner to today's community college system, the Board worked to improve education in vocations and trades.  In 1942 they teamed up with the Colorado State College of Agriculture and Mechanical Arts (today's Colorado State University) to offer a Rural War Production Training Program. 

The program offered 20-hour courses designed to help farmers increase the production of specific commodities most needed by the war effort (beef, vegetables, wool, etc.).  The courses also encouraged home vegetable gardening due to shortages of imported foods.  "The main purpose of the war production courses is to discuss with producers ways and means, and to assist them in outlining plans of action, by which the production goal can be reached in the shortest possible time and with the greatest efficiency," wrote the Board in one of their course manuals.  These manuals, which you can read online courtesy of our library, were issued for the course instructors to help them develop syllabi. They included teaching tips, discussion questions, sample course outlines, and suggestions for film strips and reference material.  These manuals offer an interesting look at the teaching methods of the past as well as of the importance of farming during wartime.  The manuals available from our library are:


Alcohol and Impaired Driving

According to the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT), more than 26,000 people are arrested for a DUI each year.  This includes both drunk driving and drugged driving.  CDOT conducts numerous public awareness campaigns as well as their "high visibility enforcement" campaign known as "The Heat is On," which include checkpoints and increased police presence during holiday celebration periods and other times throughout the year when drinking tends to increase.

CDOT's Alcohol and Impaired Driving webpage provides numerous resources including public awareness campaign materials; breathalyzer information; links to alternative transportation sources; statistics; grant information for local agencies; and more.  Here you can also download CDOT's free "R-U Buzzed" app for calculating your BAC.  (If you don't want to download an app, you can also print out CDOT's handy wallet-sized BAC chart.)  "R-U Buzzed" can also connect you with other sources of transportation if you are impaired.

Sample screen for CDOT's R-U-Buzzed app.


Burrowing Owls

The July/August issue of Colorado Outdoors magazine features burrowing owls.  These fascinating creatures are much different than the tree-dwelling owls most of us are all familiar with.  Burrowing owls, as suggested by their name, are ground dwellers.  Unlike most owls, which live in forested areas, burrowing owls spend the summer on Colorado's eastern plains, where they live in prairie dog towns.

No, the owls don't eat the prairie dogs -- the two species have a symbiotic relationship where the owls reuse and repurpose abandoned holes.  The two species also have common predators -- coyotes, hawks, bobcats, badgers, snakes -- so the owls benefit from the prairie dogs' vocal warning systems.

Burrowing owls also differ from most other owls in that they are diurnal (active during the day) and they are also smaller than most other owl species (and cuter).  The owls mostly feed on insects, particularly grasshoppers and beetles, but they will also sometimes eat mice and small reptiles and amphibians.

Although burrowing owls migrate to Arizona, California, Texas, and northern Mexico in the winter, they are considered a threatened species in Colorado, their summer home, because of the elimination of much of their natural habitat.  Eradication of prairie dogs by humans has had an adverse effect on burrowing owls, illustrating the importance of understanding how Colorado's different wildlife species affect one another.  Recommended Survey Protocol and Actions to Protect Nesting Burrowing Owls When Conducting Prairie Dog Control, a Colorado Division of Wildlife publication available from our library, addresses this issue.

In addition to the above-named resources, you can also find information on burrowing owls in several other Division of Wildlife publications available from our library, including The Little Owls and Conservation Plan for Grassland Species of ColoradoSee also Colorado Parks & Wildlife's species profile for more information and links.


Time Machine Tuesday: Amache Relocation Center and Colorado's Japanese Americans

In February 1942, during the height of WWII, President Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066, ordering the relocation and internment of Americans of Japanese ancestry.  Many believed that Japanese Americans were loyal to their ancestral home and would be a security risk.  This attitude can be seen in the remarks of Dr. Heber R. Harper, a federal health official in Colorado:  "in Japan...the cause is more closely allied to religion and a unique religious fanaticism.  Whether Nazi Germany or Japan is our great enemy, the morale of the Japanese may be much harder to break than that of the Germans."  Harper's remarks, and others that attest to the attitudes of the times, appear in Civilian and Community Morale Through Understanding and Participation, a report of an assembly held at the Colorado State Capitol just two days prior to the issuance of the President's Executive Order. 

As a result of the order, Japanese Americans were forcibly removed from their homes and sent to ten internment camps set up across sparsely-populated areas of the American West.  One of these ten camps was Amache (officially the Granada Relocation Center) near the town of Granada in extreme southeastern Colorado.  Forced to live in military-style barracks, relocatees faced a difficult life.  Cold in winter and hot in summer, the camps were surrounded by fences and armed guards.  Although children and teenagers were given the opportunity to attend school, most adults had to work in low-paying, labor-intensive jobs.  The government encouraged farming, but due to the arid conditions of the area, this proved difficult. (See Land Types in Eastern Colorado, published in 1944, for a description of farming in the area during that time period).  You can read about life in Amache in this 1964 article from Colorado Magazine.  Other articles about Amache can be found in the Spring 1989, Winter 2005, and Autumn 2007 issues of Colorado Heritage, available for checkout in print from our library.  History Colorado, the publisher of Colorado Heritage, has also produced an online exhibit about Amache.

A 1943 report on public welfare in Colorado, available online from our library, takes a look at the internment's effect on social services in a section called "The Japanese Problem."  However, not everyone in government believed in the Japanese relocation concept.  Colorado's Governor Ralph Carr is remembered as one who stood up for the Japanese. 

Today, very little physical evidence is left of the Amache site, but it has not been forgotten.  Descendants hold an annual pilgrimage to Amache.  The site contains a museum and a cemetery, and visitors can take a driving tour with podcasts to guide them.  Numerous archaeological investigations are being undertaken on the site, and for more than 20 years students at Granada High School have done projects to assist with the preservation of Amache.

Japanese Americans have a long history in Colorado.  To learn their story, check out the book Colorado's Japanese Americans (University Press of Colorado, 2011) from our library. 

Historical photos of Amache/Granada Relocation Center courtesy of Denver Public Library Western History & Genealogy Department.


August is Children's Eye Health and Safety Month

Back-to-school time is quickly approaching, and if you're a parent, chances are you're thinking a lot about school supplies, clothes, and lunches.  But don't forget about one very important thing your kid needs for the new school year:  good eyesight.  Children's vision can change as they grow, so a child who didn't need glasses one year might need them the next.  Therefore it's important to have your child's vision checked regularly starting at age 3.  The American Optometric Association suggests that parents be on the lookout for the following signs of visual problems in young children:
  • Sitting close to the TV or holding a book too close
  • Squinting
  • Tilting their head
  • Frequently rubbing their eyes
  • Short attention span for the child's age
  • Turning of an eye in or out 
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Difficulty with eye-hand-body coordination when playing ball or bike riding
  • Avoiding coloring activities, puzzles and other detailed activities
Many schools also offer vision screenings.  For information, see Guidelines for School Vision Screening Programs from the Colorado Department of Education.  Also, see the Department's Vision webpage.


Colorado Governors: Edward McCook

Edward Moody McCook served two non-consecutive terms as territorial governor.  Originally from Ohio, McCook had come to Colorado during the 1859 Gold Rush.  He settled in Central City and set up a successful law practice.  He returned east to serve in the Union Army during the Civil War, attaining the rank of Brigadier General.  McCook received his promotion for gallantry at the battle of Chickamauga.  As General he commanded cavalry during Sherman's March to Atlanta, and then moved south through Alabama to Florida, where he accepted the surrender of Florida and served a short time as Military Governor.  It was during McCook's service in the Union Army that he got to know Ulysses Grant.

Following the war, McCook's acquaintance with Grant first earned him the appointment to the post of Territorial Governor of Colorado in 1869, which came after an appointment by President Johnson as U.S. Minister to Hawaii.  Grant removed Colorado Territory's preceding governor, Alexander Cameron Hunt, from office to appoint McCook in his place.  This did nothing to endear McCook to Coloradans, who had generally liked Governor Hunt.  In 1873 citizens put forth a petition to remove the unpopular McCook from office, and he was replaced by Samuel Elbert, son-in-law of former Territorial Governor John Evans.  (For more on the rivalry between McCook and Elbert, see this article from Colorado Magazine). After serving just one year, the popular Elbert was removed from office and McCook was reinstated. 

Despite his lack of popularity, McCook's governorship proved quite productive.  He was instrumental in developing Colorado's public school system, and both the Colorado School of Mines and the Colorado School for the Deaf and the Blind were created under his watch.  McCook prioritized funding for public schools, and created the position of Superintendent of Public Instruction.  (You can read the Superintendent's biennial reports online courtesy of our library).  W.C. Lothrop was the first person to serve in that position; today it is known as the Commissioner of Education.  McCook also established a Board of Immigration to promote Colorado, and was an early advocate of women's suffrage.

The Colorado State Archives writes that during McCook's second term, "political upheaval, grasshopper infestations that destroyed Colorado crops, and numerous mining disputes created an atmosphere of tension in his administration."  Therefore he was again removed from office, this time after only serving nine months.  During the remainder of his career McCook invested in mining, railroads, and telephones.  He died in Chicago in 1909 and is buried in his hometown of Steubenville, Ohio.


Time Machine Tuesday: Colorado Day

Her gleaming mountains capped with snow,
Rolling plain and high plateau,
Make the land the best I know--
Sunny Colorado!

-- from the poem "Sunny Colorado" by Eugene Parsons

August 1 is Colorado Day, the anniversary of Colorado's statehood (August 1, 1876).  In 1913, the state's Department of Public Instruction (now the Department of Education) issued A Book of Holidays, which included poems, essays, songs, and activities that could be used by teachers -- or anyone -- in commemorating and learning about holidays and anniversaries throughout the year.  Included were the popular holidays we still celebrate, as well as some that are no longer really remembered, such as Susan B. Anthony's Birthday (February 15), Good Roads Day (May 9), and Peace Day (May 18). 

Among the holidays covered in the book is Colorado Day, August 1.  The Colorado Day section includes several poems, such as the one excerpted above; photos of Colorado scenery; "Some Books of Interest on Colorado;" a couple of essays on Colorado tourism; a speech by Robert W. Steele, an early Colorado Territory politician; and "Origin of Some of the Names of the Counties of the State of Colorado."

A Book of Holidays has been digitized by our library.  For more online documents that tell the story of our state, visit our library's digital repository.


Japanese Beetles

While gardening last weekend I discovered that my trees are being eaten by Japanese beetles; since then, I've spotted them in other parts of town, as well.  Biologists say that 2017 is the worst year yet in Colorado for the invasive pests, which up until a few years ago were only found east of the Mississippi.  According to the Denver Post, Japanese beetles have been munching their way up and down the Front Range from Boulder to Pueblo.  The Colorado Department of Agriculture issued a quarantine against the Japanese beetle in 2010, but the spread has continued

Experts say that Japanese beetles, which are most active in July and August, feed on the leaves of over 300 species of plants, but their favorites are beans, linden trees, and rosebushes.  So what can you do to prevent and control Japanese beetles?  Colorado State University entomologist Whitney Cranshaw wrote a helpful fact sheet that describes identification of the beetle as well as techniques and recommended products for control.  Also see the Colorado Department of Agriculture's Japanese Beetle Best Management Strategies and their powerpoint presentation about Japanese beetle.

Photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons


1997 Fort Collins Flood

Twenty years ago today a major flood hit Fort Collins.  Heavy rainfall of 3 inches per hour began late in the evening of July 27 and continued throughout the day on the 28th.  Homes were flooded, a train derailed, a gas leak caused an explosion near Prospect Road, and in the end, the flood left five people dead.  The flood also caused major damage to more than a dozen buildings on the Colorado State University Campus, including the Lory Student Center, the Morgan Library, and the Administration Annex.  CSU is recalling the event with a series of articles that include a timeline of the flood, meteorological analysis, videos and slideshows, and personal recollections.

The State Publications Library also has several interesting resources on the 1997 Fort Collins flood, including
The 1997 flood was certainly not the first flood to hit the Fort Collins area, and interestingly, just one year before the flood, the University of Colorado-Boulder's Natural Hazards Center convened a meeting in Fort Collins to address "What We Have Learned Since the Big Thompson Flood," Northern Colorado's worst flood disaster which had hit twenty years before.  The official proceedings from the meeting can be checked out from our library.  Also, following another, smaller flood in June 1992, the City of Fort Collins and the state's Emergency Management Office issued a Flood Hazard Mitigation Plan for Fort Collins, which can also be checked out from our library.

Flood damage at Colorado State University's Morgan Library, July 1997.  Photo courtesy Morgan Library.

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