Every year, the Cache la Poudre River National Heritage Area (Cache NHA) provides funding to local and regional partners and schools in support of projects, programs, and events that benefit the community and further the mission of Cache NHA to:

              Promote a variety of historical and cultural opportunities.

              Engage people in their river corridor.

              Inspire learning, preservation, and stewardship. 

To be eligible for funding, the project or event must be within the Cache la Poudre River National Heritage Area. 

Below you will see our current opportunities.

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The annual Capture the Cache photo contest celebrates the natural beauty, culture, and heritage of the Cache la Poudre River National Heritage Area. Winning images offer a snapshot of what makes the 45-mile heritage area unique and important.

Eligibility – The contest is open to any amateur or professional photographer except employees, Board Directors of the Cache la Poudre River National Heritage Area, photo contest judges and members of their immediate families. Photographers must be at least 16 years old to participate.

Locale – All photographs must be taken within the Cache la Poudre River National Heritage Area which includes the Fort Collins, Greeley, Windsor and surrounding communities. List of corridor communities >

Deadline – All entries must be submitted by May 10, 2024.

Entry Forms – Entries must be accompanied by a completed and signed Entry Form. All images must be listed on a single Entry Form.

Multiple Entries – Photographers can submit a maximum of three (3) photos per category. All entries must be listed on a single Entry Form.

Categories – Participants must place their photos in one of the categories listed above. The judges reserve the right to recategorize any entry.

  • Outdoor Community Culture photos are meant to capture the community of the Cache la Poudre River and surrounding river corridor. This could include but is not limited to anything from dogs, music festivals, brewery patio life, exploration of the many hiking and biking trails, and/or attendance of community events. These photos are meant to capture the essence of what it is like to live in the Cache la Poudre River National Heritage Area. This is YOUR community, so show us the community through your eyes!
  • History Along the River Corridor - The Poudre River is as rich in history as it is in natural wonders. History Along the River Corridor hopes to showcase the plethora of historical sites and stories along the corridor.
    These could include spots such as 1979 Avery House, 1883 Water Works, B.H. Eaton Ditch, Bingham Hill Cemetery, Cache la Poudre Marker, City of Greeley Natural Area and Trails Division at Signature Bluffs, Council Tree, Great Western Sugar Beet Flume and Bridge, Greeley Ditch #3, Greeley History Museum, Kaplan-Hoover Bison Bone Bed, Lake Canal, Museum of Art Fort Collins, Pleasant Valley School House, Strauss Cabin, Von Trotha-Firestien Farm at Bracewell, Windsor History Museum and more. This is a list to get you started.
  • In Motion - The river corridor is always in constant motion, whether it’s water flowing, a cyclist biking along the trail, or a train crossing the bridge over the river. These photos are meant to capture the movement of the river and the surrounding river corridor. This could include but is not limited to cycling, rafting, running water, or trains.     

Enhancing Images – While you may crop or perform color correction on your images, the judging team discourages over-amplifying the color. We are looking for images that reflect the scene as it appeared in reality. You may use HDR camera settings, but again, please avoid over enhancing the image or photoshopping.

Format – Images can be in color or black and white. Images must be a minimum resolution of 300 DPI (dots per inch) and no smaller than 3072 x 2304 pixels (or 10.24 x 7.68 inches). Images should be in RGB color format and be submitted as JPG (at high quality) or PNG. Do not resample small files to fit requirements, as it will compromise the quality of the image. Images can be horizontal or vertical.

Entry Identification – Each image must be adequately identified. Please label your photographs starting with your LAST NAME, then FIRST NAME and ENTRY NUMBER.

Image File Names: SMITH_JOHN_IN_MOTION_ENTRY1, SMITH_JOHN_IN_MOTION_ENTRY2, SMITH_JOHN_IN_MOTION_ENTRY3. Including a location in the label is helpful, e.g., SMITH_Fairport_1

Model Release – Photos containing recognizable people must be accompanied by a model release form (available under Photo Release) signed by the subject or a parent or legal guardian, if subject is under 18 years of age.

Judging – Entries will be judged on the basis of creativity, photographic quality, and effectiveness in conveying the beauty and/or unique character of the heritage area in one of the contest categories. The Cache la Poudre River National Heritage Area team will judge the entries and all contest decisions are final. First, second, and third place winners will be selected in each of the categories identified above and there will be one grand prize winner. Honorable mentions will be awarded at the discretion of the judges. Winners will be announced at the inaugural Cache & Cocktails event on June 20 at the Windsong Event Center. 

Winning Photos – There will be cash prizes for the grand prize winner ($100), and first ($50) and second ($30) place in each category. Non-cash prizes will be awarded for one honorable mention in each category. 

Photographer’s Rights – Each photographer will retain all rights to any image submitted – including ownership if applicable – other than those rights licensed in the next sentence. By entering the contest, each photographer hereby grants to the Cache la Poudre River National Heritage Area (i) a nonexclusive, worldwide, irrevocable, royalty-free license to reproduce, sell reproductions, distribute, publicly display the images submitted to the Cache la Poudre River National Heritage Area and (ii) the right to use the photographer’s name, city and state of residence in promotions and other publications. Photographs, regardless of the medium, will not be returned. Do not send your only copy of a photograph. The Cache la Poudre River National Heritage Area is not responsible for any material lost, damaged, or misdirected in the mail.

Note: Submissions that do not follow these requirements may be rejected.

Program Overview
Started in 2010, Learning in Our Watershed™ (LIOW) was designed with a simple mission: to help youth understand and value the Cache la Poudre River and their water heritage while inspiring a next generation of river stewards. A growing body of research points to the beneficial impacts that nature has on health, well-being, and the promotion of healing. LIOW is designed to take learning from the classroom to the great outdoors for improved well-being while developing a of a sense of connection to nature and the heritage area. Designed by educators to align with the 4th grade Colorado education standards, students experience the following lesson objectives:
• Connect students to their river corridor
• Immerse students in their local heritage, cultures, and landscapes
• Help students develop critical thinking skills including interpreting maps and signs
• Encourage students to reflect on human-environment interactions within their watershed region
Learning in Our Watershed™ is an adaptable three-touch model with hybrid options for on-site and distance learning, designed to create pathways for kids to enjoy, understand and connect with nature in exciting ways by facilitating outdoor activity, experiential learning, and cultural heritage exercises. Teachers can self-select from a variety of activities in each of the three touch points to customize a field trip specific to their learning objectives and subject matter.
Funding for LIOW is made possible by the National Parks Foundation, National Parks Service, and donations from community sponsors and donors.  

All K-12 schools that are located in Northern Colorado qualify to submit an application to the Learning in Our Watershed program.  Priority will be given to Title 1 schools and 4th grade classes per grant requirements for the largest funder of this program. Additional requests from schools from areas beyond NOCO will be considered as funding allows. 

Field trip destinations must be within the Cache NHA boundaries.  A list of pre-approved destinations includes the Centennial Village, CSU's Environmental Learning Center, the Poudre Learning Center, and Windsor History Museum, and Colorado Youth Outdoors.   Other destinations may be approved based on funding and how the destination ties to the mission of the program.
Funding typically covers costs associated with transportation and/or admission.

Upon completion of the field trip, awardees must complete a post trip report, provide receipts or invoices, and provide at least one photo from the trip.  A photo release form is available for parent/guardian to fill out prior to your trip.  Grant funds will be distributed to the school AFTER the field trip and post trip report are completed.  

Heritage Area Activities and Events- Our goal is to honor the history and culture of the Poudre and its people. We encourage partners to gather locals and tourist alike to celebrate all the river has to offer. Past events we've supported include the Children's Water Festival, Poudre Trail-a-thon, Bike to Work Day, grand opening ceremonies for new trails and attractions, the River Fest, Pub Talks on water and agriculture, the Poudre Forum and more!

Community Projects- Our goal is to honor the history and culture of the Cache la Poudre River and its people. The Community Projects program supports the preservation, interpretation, and development of the heritage area resources. The community projects grant guidelines can be found here.
The project must:

  •  preserve, interpret, or develop historical and/or cultural assets within/for the heritage area
  •  be aligned with one or more interpretive themes identified below
  •  secure at least equal contribution for the project from nonfederal sources
  •  be for public benefit
  •  be available for use and/or distribution by Cache NHA at the conclusion of the project (Interpretation & Development projects)

Interpretive Themes

1. Homelands: Northern Colorado is the ancestral homeland of the Ute and later the Arapaho people, as well as other historic tribes such as the Cheyene, Comanche, Apache, and Kiowa. Indigenous understanding of the environment and of native plants and animals offers a different way of knowing the Poudre. 

2. Ancient Voices: People have been drawn to the life-sustaining waters of the river for over 12,000 years. Before it was known as the Poudre, Paleoindians and Folsom people called this river basin home. The Kaplan-Hoover Bison Kill Site - one of the largest bison kill sites ever found - provides a compelling local story. 

3. New Roots: Germans, Russians, Hispanics, African Americans and others settled in the Poudre River basin to farm or work in the sugar beet factories and fields, establishing communities and bringing new cultural and religious traditions.

4. Following the Water: Fur trappers and traders, including diverse people of many cultures who traveled with them, hunted beaver and game animals along the Poudre’s banks, leaving behind their multicultural stories and legacy.

5. Rethinking Colorado Water Law: Early disagreements over the Poudre River led to the establishment of Western water law and the notion of “First in Time, First in Right.” As demand on the Poudre increases—combined with a hotter, drier climate—it is time to rethink this historical precedent.

6. Collaboration & Compromise: Water from the Poudre ends up in Northern Colorado’s taps, produce, beer, and more. Animals, plants, and competing interests share the river today. In addition to agricultural and industrial use, the Poudre offers a place of recreation, reflection, and observation. Collaboration and compromise ensure the Poudre’s health and a sustainable quality of life and future for Northern Colorado.

7: River of Life: Colorado’s rivers comprise less than 2% of the state’s ecosystems but the majority of Colorado’s birds, fish and wildlife depend on riparian habitat. The Poudre River watershed is key to the ecological health of Northern Colorado and is critical for biodiversity.

Original Themes:

1. Settlement tensions over use of water

2. Water laws, institutions, and allocation methods influenced the development of the West

3. Innovative irrigation techniques for diverting, delivering, and measuring water still endure

4. Debates over the appropriate use of the Poudre River's water continue today

Letter of Intent
All applicants are required to submit a Letter of Intent through the application portal prior to completing a full application so Cache NHA can learn more about your proposed projects.  Staff may request a meeting to learn more about your proposed project or provide additional guidance for the application. Projects are subject to decline at this step in the processes or may go on hold until additional funding can be secured. Proposed projects that move beyond the letter of intent stage will be sent the full application for completion.

Cache la Poudre River National Heritage Area