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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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