A trip up the valley from Greeley reveals numerous channels incised by the Poudre River into the surrounding high plains topography. For many years, the Poudre meandered back and forth across this nearly flat prairie. But settlers of the Union Colony would soon change that. The farmers from the east realized they could increase farmable acres if they could just straighten the river. One such channelized section was the Poudre Learning Center site west of 83rd Avenue. According to area farmers, teams of horses and plows trenched this area. This operation led to many years of successful farming at the site.
In 1986, Hall-Irwin Corporation purchased the site of the Poudre Learning Center. Gravel mining operations began the same year. Gravel was extracted for roadways, concrete foundations, trails and roadbeds in the region. The resulting gravel pit is used as a water storage reservoir by Central Colorado Water Conservancy District. Hall-Irwin Corporation has demonstrated a workable approach for private industry and landowners to help the educational community. They understand the important role that real, discovery experiences play in a student's understanding of ecological resources. With this proven commitment to education, Hall-Irwin Corporation decided to move to the next level by donating 65 acres of this prime Poudre River riparian land to the local community for environmental education.