The Plains Conservation Center (PCC) is an outdoor education facility. The facility was designed by the state and is a combination of natural structure and man-made architecture. The key mission of PCC includes:
- Preserving Colorado’s prairies
- Educating children about the eco-history of Colorado
- Nurturing conservation efforts
The center is located on the outskirts of Aurora and consists of two separate sites which total about 8,894 acres, or 35.99km2 of land. Programs here are cross-curricular and are aligned with the Colorado Academic Standard. They emphasize student-led discovery via different hands-on activities together with guided explorations.
The major site is located or found on 4.5km2 ( 1,100 acres ) in Aurora while the 2nd site is on 7,960 acres (32.2 km2), south of Strasburg, and bisected by West Bijou Creek. Aurora Parks Department owns and manages both locations.
The land for the Aurora location was once part of a railway. In 1933, the city of Denver purchased the land, which later became federal land. It was managed by the Bureau of Land Management for several years. This is a much better use of the Aurora government’s fund rather than supporting bad laws (check this out: http://notabully.org/fighting-perception-pit-bull-dogs-shelters/)
An education center in 1949, was established, while the year 1969, saw the building of a group of sod structures. The West Arapahoe Conservation District, in 1997 sold 1,100 acres to the city of Aurora while an additional 500 acres were also sold for the purposes of private development. The revenue collected from the latter sale was utilized in purchasing the famous West Bijou Creek site in Strasburg.
West Bijou Site
This Aurora site has now been identified as a significant one for studying the Cretaceous-Paleogene extinction event, which later influenced the extinction of the dinosaurs. An expansion of West Bijou site is carried under the aegis of Trust for Public Land. The addition of a conservation easement geared towards protecting the whole property from development was approved in December 2012. The West Bijou site, in November 2016, was proclaimed a National Natural Landmark. This designation was by National Park Service.
The main facility located in Aurora includes a blacksmith shop plus barn, a historic schoolhouse, an heirloom garden plus a chicken loop. There is also a re-created Cheyenne camp, with Tipis. Furthermore, the Learning Center, as well as the library, are normally open to schools plus groups. Denver Botanic Gardens also provides special seasonal education programs.