Community life and wildlife are essential ingredients at Centerra, Loveland’s 3,000-acre community by McWhinney. These values are obvious when a resident or prospect is visiting The Lakes at Centerra community. With more than 275 acres of lakes, wetlands and open space, natural living is easy. “People want to live close to nature,” says McWhinney’s marketing director, Celeste Smith “They want to see, hear, touch, feel and interact with it. We are working collaboratively with our partners to bring that closer to them and make it accessible right outside their back yard. We want everyone and everything to thrive and that’s why nature and sustaining natural wildlife habitat are important values to the Centerra community.”
Last year, Centerra was officially designated a Community Wildlife Habitat by the National Wildlife Federation (NWF)—the first community in the state of Colorado to achieve this. This designation means the community works together to create habitat areas in backyards, schoolyards, corporate properties, community gardens and parks. Centerra already boasts an ever growing number of these certified habitats.
High Plains Environmental Center (HPEC), an environmental nonprofit located in The Lakes at Centerra neighborhood, worked for four years to earn this designation for Centerra. As a continuation of their efforts, HPEC will host the Native Plant Sale and Habitat Fair on Saturday, May 18 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at 2698 Bluestem Willow Drive in Loveland. Free to attend, HPEC’s sale will offer a large selection of native plants in 4-inch and 1-gallon pots. “The native plants are locally grown and thrive in Colorado soil/climate and require low maintenance while attracting bees and butterflies,” says Smith. Proceeds from the sale benefit the HPEC and its effort to conserve and restore Colorado’s unique native biodiversity through the use of native plants in landscaping and open space.
The Habitat Fair will also feature a local food truck and activities for children, as well as the opportunity to tour HPEC’s new visitor center, the Wild Zone for children, gardens and exhibits focused on environmental awareness. The HPEC gift store will also offer a 15-percent storewide discount during the event.
At the same time, The Lakes at Centerra will host the Fresh Roots Home Tour, where home shoppers can tour nine distinct model homes from each of the four builders at The Lakes at Centerra: KB Home, Landmark Homes, Richmond Homes and William Lyon Homes. The tour will include townhomes, ranches and single-family homes, with prices starting in the $300’s. Home shoppers can enjoy complimentary refreshments and herb plant giveaways at each stop along the home tour. Guests can pick-up a map and start their tour at the Lake Club located at 4555 Long Pine Lake Drive in Loveland.
To help residents create Certified Wildlife Habitats in their own backyards, HPEC staff will host a community lecture series this spring. Topics include landscaping with native plants, ecological restoration and organic gardening. The lectures are free and open to the public, but space is limited.
HPEC also hosts monthly Bird Walks on the first Saturday of each month through November. Join Sheila Webber at 8 a.m. for a slow, 2-mile stroll along the flat paths around Equalizer Lake. On the second Saturday of each month through September, families can participate in a child-focused nature walk and scavenger hunt at HPEC. On third Saturdays through September, Nancy Aley will lead nature journaling workshops at HPEC starting at 10 a.m. For more information about free HPEC events, visit suburbitat.org.
These events are perfect examples of Centerra’s commitment not only to environmental stewardship but also to community engagement. “Centerra serves as a gathering place for residents and visitors alike,” says Smith. The Fresh Roots Home Tour kicks off a packed summer calendar at Lakes at Centerra, some exclusively for residents. On May 24, kids who live at the Lakes can drop by the Lake Club for the School’s Out Summer Ice Cream Party. On June 8, residents are invited to don tie-dyed shirts for the Summer Splash Pool Party. June 22 is the Great American Camp Out near the lake, complete with hot dogs and s’mores. Other resident-only events include the 4th of July Bike Parade, the Dog Days of Summer Outdoor Concert and the Back to School Splash Bash in August.
But those who don’t yet live at The Lakes can still benefit from all the fun, community and amenities available. On June 19, Fire Station 6 on Piney River Drive will host Community Night Out at Centerra from 6 to 8 p.m. opened to the public. This annual event is designed to build a healthier, safer city by generating support for anti-crime programs and strengthening the relationship between community and law enforcement. Attendees can touch and feel safety vehicles and interact with local law enforcement officials. Complimentary tours and activities will be onsite.
In celebration of Bike to Work Day on June 26, Centerra will set up a free breakfast bike station at the corner of Hahns Peak Drive and Rocky Mountain Avenue from 7-9 a.m. Centerra will also host a monthly Food Truck Roundup on the third Thursday of each month through November from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Rangeview Office Campus parking lot (between 2725 and 2915 Rocky Mountain Ave.)
The Sounds of Centerra Summer Concert Series will take place on Fridays, July 12, 19, 26 and August 2, from 7-9 p.m. on The Great Lawn at Chapungu Sculpture Park. These free public concerts feature local and regional musicians performing both traditional and contemporary music.
These events are just a small sample of the year-round fun happening in and around Centerra. “Whether you’re looking to shop, dine, soak in some entertainment, hit a trail, bird watch or stroll the sculpture park, there’s something for everyone to enjoy during the day or night,” says Smith. “Our community amenities and experiences connect people in impactful and meaningful ways.”
The Lakes at Centerra is located off Boyd Lake Avenue and Highway 34 at 4555 Long Pine Lake Drive in Loveland. It is about ten minutes from downtown Loveland, less than a half-hour from Fort Collins, Windsor and Greeley, and less than one hour from Denver International Airport.
By Emma Castleberry, for At Home