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December 27, 2023

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Boulder County Parks & Open Space Foundation funds Volunteer Naturalist Center renovation

A fitting tribute to Bonnie Sheppard who provided a generous donation in her will.

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Boulder County, Colo. - The Parks & Open Space Foundation donated nearly $400,000 to remodel the Volunteer Naturalist Center at Walden Ponds Wildlife Habitat, thanks to a generous donation from long-time volunteer Bonnie Sheppard through her will.

Bonnie Sheppard, a passionate Volunteer Naturalist for 20 years, passed away suddenly in October of 2017. In her will, she bequeathed a very generous donation to the BCPOS Foundation. Updating the Volunteer Resource Center was a fitting tribute to her love of open space and dedication to sharing nature with the Boulder County community.

The improvements were completed recently and included a new roof, HVAC system, energy-efficient upgrades, storage and a new picnic shelter next to the center.

The Volunteer Resource Center at Walden Ponds Wildlife Habitat serves as headquarters and meeting place for over 100 volunteer naturalists who participate in the program, as well as storage space for many interpretive and educational programming material. Two BCPOS staff, the Natural History Program Coordinator and Natural History Program Specialist, also maintain an office at the resource center to provide support and assistance to the volunteers.

The volunteer naturalist program was created in 1975, when the Boulder County Parks & Open Space department was founded. Over the years the program has grown from a handful of volunteers to over 100 naturalists, who present 250-300 natural history programs a year for children, families, seniors, and the general public. Volunteer naturalists lead nature hikes and field trips focusing on geology, wildlife, plants, wildflowers, trees, and local ecosystems. Naturalists also present classroom and other indoor programs and slide presentations on many of the same topics.

Volunteer Nature Center and Storage Shed with accessible ramp

Left to Right: The Volunteer Naturalist Center's new picnic shelter, storage shed, and updated office building.

For more information about the volunteer naturalist program or to volunteer, please visit the Open Space, Environment & Gardening Volunteer Opportunities webpage or contact Carlos Lerma, Natural History Program Coordinator at or 303-678-6214.

Parks & Open Space Foundation logo

The Parks & Open Space Foundation goals are to fund specific projects and programs that are beyond the financial capacity of the Parks & Open Space department and to promote citizen stewardship of open space.

For more information about the foundation, please visit