Families celebrate public land by helping it continue to grow

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DENVER - Families gathered at The Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge to celebrate National Public Lands day by collecting seeds that will be planted in other parts of the refuge to help it continue to flourish.

Americas for Conservation + Arts, Promotores Verdes and CreaResults partnered with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to organize the event.

"We are bringing Latino families in the surrounding area in very vulnerable contaminated communities," said Zuza Bohley with Americas for Conservation + Arts.

"We are bringing them to the Arsenal because they only know it from the other side of the fence, not knowing what’s on the other side of the fence, that it’s a public land accessible and free to them to visit at any time," said Bohley.

Tom Wall with U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service lead the group on how to carefully collect the seeds. The seeds will be planted elsewhere in the refuge, and help create more space for butterflies.

"Helping the outdoors helps us as well," said Wall.

Izele Flores participated with her family and said she's enjoyed learning new things, including that the public land existed close to her home.

"I live close to here and I didn’t know about this," said Izele Flores. "I like that it gives us fresh air and it’s beautiful to see the trees green."

Beatriz Flores enjoyed collecting seeds with her friend Camila Quiroz and her family.

"It’s fun celebrating with your families and spending time with your families," said Beatriz Flores.

Nearly 68 percent of Colorado’s forests are in federal ownership.