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OJC Press Release ID: 2762

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

OJC Students Assist with project at JE Canyon Ranch


Warren McClure, biology faculty member at Otero Junior College has begun working with The Nature Conservancy at JE Canyon Ranch to track wildlife activity in the piñon-juniper Forest. McClure has enlisted the help of his Biology 112 students to assist with the project. The project began last year when his class placed motion sensor camera traps in piñon-juniper Forest at JE Canyon Ranch.

“The protection of 50,000 acres of grasslands is part of a larger effort to redefine the connection between people and nature on the prairie. At more than 70 square miles, the JE Canyon Ranch is one of the largest contiguous tracts of privately owned land in Colorado,” McClure explained.

“The views are as dramatic as they are unexpected. Short grass prairie transitions to pinion-juniper savanna and forests, then abruptly drops off towering red rock cliffs to the Purgatoire River,” Matt Moorhead, the Conservancy’s Southeast Colorado project director said.

Almost nine miles of the Purgatoire River flow through the property, along with more than 40 miles of tributary stream. The ranch supports more than 850 plant and animal species, including elk, deer, mountain lion, bear and one of the largest bighorn sheep populations in the state. The ranch is also home to more than 62 species of birds including seven species of conservation concern: long-billed curlew, loggerhead shrike, gray vireo, juniper titmouse, Cassin’s sparrow, lark bunting and hepatic tanager.

Otero Junior College is proud to assist The Nature Conservancy in their efforts to help track wildlife activity at JE Canyon Ranch. For more information, contact Warren McClure at 719-384-6803 or JJ Autry JE Canyon Ranch manager at or 719-946-7401.


Press Release Photo
Otero Junior College students have begun working with The Nature Conservancy at JE Canyon Ranch to track wildlife activity in the piñon juniper Forest. Students are shown collecting photos from the cameras SD cards for cataloging.