Left Hand Valley Courier - All Local, All The Time

Eight ways to show your community some love this Valentine's Day


February 5, 2020

Sarah Marchant @ 123RF.com

Planting flowers, shrubs, and trees that attract bees and butterflies will help these important pollinating insects rebuild robust populations.

When you're spreading the love to friends and family this Valentine's Day, don't forget another valuable member of your everyday life: the local community. There are a number of simple but thoughtful ways to show your appreciation for the people and organizations that help make the Left Hand Valley such a unique place to live.

Replenish the books at Niwot and Gunbarrel's Little Free Libraries

The Little Free Library neighborhood book exchange program got its start just over a decade ago, when a Wisconsin man built a model of a one-room schoolhouse as a tribute to his mother, and then filled it with books and encouraged his neighbors to "take a book, share a book." The idea took off, and, today, there are more than 90,000 Little Free Libraries in 90 countries around the world-and growing.

At least seven of those are located in the Niwot and Gunbarrel area, and are always in need of fresh stock. This Valentine's Day, consider taking your gently used books to one of the following LFLs and help spread the love of reading! Niwot Children's Park, Niwot Firehouse Museum (next to the Left Hand Grange), 3rd & Franklin, 95th & Majestic Drive, Drew Ranch Lane & Left Hand Circle, Kincross Drive near Jamestown, Habitat Apartments.

Join the Niwot Community Semi-Marching Free Grange Band

Niwot's community band is "always under construction" and looking for brass and woodwind musicians of all ages to join. The band, sponsored by the Niwot Cultural Arts Association and the Left Hand Grange, performs at community events,such as the July 4th Pancake Breakfast and Parade, National Night Out, Enchanted Evening and the Holiday Parade. The all-volunteer band also performs at Niwot High School, and has gone on the road for performances at a Colorado Rockies game and Denver's Christkindl Market. Now going on its 15th year, with over 200 tunes in its repertoire, the band is also looking for a Director to take over for long-time conductor and semi-retired Lee Shaw. To join the band, contact Biff Warren at lefthandsports@hotmail.com.

Plan a pollinator friendly garden

If sending flowers to your beloved is in your plans this Valentine's Day, consider sending a little love to the insects that make that bouquet possible by performing one of the most important functions in the ecosystem: pollination. About 80% of flowering plants, and 75% of food crops, rely on animal pollinators, such as bees, beetles, flies, moths, butterflies, hummingbirds and bats.

There are several things you can do to make your yard or garden a pollinator-friendly space, and help these species thrive: Choose a sunny location; Cultivate native flowers and plants; and plan a garden with both early and late bloomers in the mix. Some suggested varieties are showy milkweed, Rocky Mountain bee plant, and yarrow. You might also consider installing a wooden nesting box for bees. For more information, visit beeboulder.org.

Sign up to shovel for those who can't

The SnowBusters program connects members of the community with seniors who have challenges clearing snow from sidewalks and areas around their home. It also helps them to avoid being fined for not keeping city sidewalks shoveled for pedestrians. When there's a snowstorm, Snowbuster team members visit their assigned senior's home to clear the snow and give the resident peace of mind. https://cultivate.ngo/programs/snowbusters

Pick up trash at Niwot's parks (or any other local park)

Signs at the Niwot Children's Park make it clear that patrons need to "Pack it In, Pack it Out," but not everyone follows the rules. Ordinary trash in the bathroom waste containers for diaper changing and feminine products causes extra work for the cleaning crew. If you see trash at the Children's Park, or at Whistle Stop Park next door, pick it up and take it to a trash receptacle to properly dispose of it. Those of us who do follow the rules will appreciate your efforts!

Volunteer with Niwot Youth Sports

Even if you don't have children participating in baseball, softball, soccer, flag football or basketball, you can volunteer to serve as a coach or assistant coach, as well as other volunteer positions. If you have expertise to offer, and work well with children, you can have a positive impact on the younger members of our community. Sometimes the best coaches are not parents, but dedicated volunteers who want children to grow up with a great experience playing the games they love. To volunteer, visit Niwotyouthsports.org/volunteer.

Send a note of thanks

Courtesy Photo

This Little Free Library at Niwot's Children's Park is always in need of gently used books.

If there is an area teacher, coach, barista, neighbor, volunteer or organization that you notice taking that extra step or just making your world a more pleasant place to be, let them know through the written word. A sincere thank-you note or some thoughtful words of praise in an email will almost certainly brighten someone's mood, especially if you copy their boss or supervisor.

Get involved with local non-profit organizations

Niwot is known for its exceptional non-profit organizations, which contribute so much to what makes Niwot such a wonderful community. If you're not a member, join; if you are a member, step up and volunteer to champion a project or event, or just be part of a group that gets the job done. For a list and links, vist niwot.com/discover/associations


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