At The Lakes at Centerra, nature is your neighbor. As the state’s only Certified Community Wildlife Habitat, The Lakes is home to more than 150 different species of birds, mammals, reptiles and fish. Residents are constantly surrounded by the beautiful sights and sounds of the natural world, with each season marked by a different collection of animal noises.
Get to know your neighbors
Jim Tolstrup, executive director of Centerra’s High Plains Environmental Center, is the leading expert on the wild residents one finds at The Lakes at Centerra. “Chorus frogs are an unmistakable herald of spring,” Tolstrup says.
“They usually begin in late April or May depending on moisture and temperature. They are proof that our water quality ponds are working, as frogs are highly vulnerable to chemical runoff.” The frogs sing in a sweet, chirping ensemble that announces winter’s firm departure and sunnier days ahead.
Another of The Lakes’ wild neighbors can be heard year-round. “Coyotes, though at times controversial, are a permanent fixture in our neighborhood,” says Tolstrup. “Their howl is, in many ways, the quintessential voice of the American West.” Tolstrup adds that when the pandemic began and human residents of The Lakes took up their 8 p.m. howl in appreciation of frontline workers, coyotes could sometimes be heard singing along.
Another recent sighting that has excited Tolstrup is the bright orange Bullocks Oriole, whose song is a short composition of whistling and rattling, a bit like a pet’s squeaky toy. The diversity of bird life is an important part of the ecosystem at the Environmental Center and The Lakes. Birdsong fills every day, with the singers and tunes changing according to the season and the daily movement of the sun. “In summer, the western and Clarks grebes make a very distinctive ‘creek creek’ call on the lakes, particularly in the morning and evening,” says Tolstrup.
Other animals one might hear at The Lakes at Centerra include owls, hawks and even eagles in winter. Tolstrup says spring is a wonderful time to listen for the call of the meadowlark, which he says “sounds like falling water.” The squeak of bats at twilight is also not uncommon – a happy sound, as these nocturnal friends can eat their weight in mosquitos!
Building community in a new way
Nature isn’t your only neighbor at The Lakes. Residents have built a vibrant human community, too. There is no denying that life looks a bit different now. But in many ways, the past few months of stay-at-home orders and sheltering in place have been a boon for community spirit. “We see it as a unique opportunity to build community in a different way because more people are staying home,” says Jennifer Hand, community engagement manager for The Lakes at Centerra.
When the pandemic first started impacting life in The Lakes, residential bonding went virtual for everyone’s safety. This included a new Facebook group and virtual events like the “Garden Beautiful” series of workshops, in which residents learned gardening tips from a neighbor who is a certified Master Gardener. As the weather improved, community events were taken outside. In April, residents built zoo exhibits with stuffed animals in their driveways to create a fun learning experience for local kids. A “mythical unicorn” appeared around the neighborhood, handing out chalk to local children. The Lakes even hosted a socially distanced superhero parade, where kids dressed up like their favorite superhero and watched from their driveways as firetrucks and EMTs drove around the neighborhood.
Hand says each event was popular and brought cheer and a sense of fun during a challenging time. “People are really hungry for connection given that we can’t really connect in the way that we used to,” she says. “Especially with our neighbors and the people that surround you where you live – we’re trying to find a way to bridge the gap between the old life and the new.”
The beautiful summer sunshine has offered some new opportunities for engagement at The Lakes. Be on the lookout for a socially distanced pool party this August with a DJ, balloon artist and food trucks. And in September, before the pool closes, dogs get their day with the annual Pooch Plunge.
Beautiful homes, ready now
Here in the great outdoors of The Lakes, you’ll find a lot of fun to share with neighbors both human and otherwise. But you’ll also find some great indoors. And if you’d like to live in a fresh new home without waiting for that home to be built, you’ll be happy to know The Lakes has a variety of homes ready for move-in right now.
All four builders at The Lakes– KB Home, Landmark Homes, Richmond American Homes and Taylor Morrison – offer a variety of homes. From ranch and two-story plans to townhomes, there is something for families of all sizes and life stages with prices that start in the $300s. Soon, The Lakes will also offer condominiums – the ultimate option for simplified, nature-immersed living.
Right now is a great time to visit. The Lakes is currently hosting the Wild Summer Home Tour, inviting visitors to tour any of nine beautifully furnished model homes and quick move-in homes. From now through August 31, anyone who visits a model can enter their name into a drawing for a $500 Visa gift card.
With more than a dozen quick move-in homes available at The Lakes right now, and plenty more to be completed in the coming months, you could be home at The Lakes in time to enjoy a wild and beautiful autumn. You might even catch the song of the mystical Sandhill Crane. “On rare occasions in October or early November, we can hear Sandhill cranes flying overhead,” says Tolstrup. “We’ve never seen them land on our lakes, but the sound of their calling in migration is unlike anything else on earth.”
Nothing says “Welcome Home” quite like the gentle chorus of nature.
For more information,visit lakesatcenterra.com.
The Wild Summer Home Tour
Now through Aug. 31
This summer, take a home-seeing tour at The Lakes at Centerra. They have 9 beautifully furnished model homes and over a dozen quick move-in homes to visit – whether you’re looking for one story or two, a home within walking distance to a trail or the school, are downsizing or need more square footage. Who knows? You could leave knowing exactly where you want to live. And, you could also earn some extra cash while you’re there. After you take a look at the models, drop your name into one of the dropboxes inside the builders’ sales offices, and you’ll be entered to win a $500 Visa gift card … perfect for some summer spending! Visit: lakesatcenterra.com/tour
By Emma Castleberry, for At Home Colorado
Photos courtesy: Lakes at Centerra