Trail Conditions:  Icy.   

BrianNO SKI FOR FREE SATURDAY AND SUNDAY

Crossroads at Big Creek currently is home to as many native orchid species as the state of Hawaii. Don’t be too impressed. Like the Aloha state, Crossroads boasts three native orchids.  We don’t hold a flower stalk to our friend and partner in preservation, The Ridges Sanctuary. Twenty five species of native orchids grow there. And to help them along, The Ridges has developed an Orchid Restoration Project.
 
The overarching goal of The Ridges Orchid Restoration Project is “to reintroduce native orchid populations through asymbiotic seed germination techniques, with the aim to raise sufficient orchid seedlings and reintroduce them into suitable native habitats to establish plants in the wild leading to self-perpetuating colonies.”
 
Before it was logged and farmed, did Crossroads have as many orchids as The Ridges? and could we bring them back? Not likely and no.
 
The Crossroads educational theme this year is; “Location, Location, Location.” To grow, a plant must develop in the right location. With the exception of weeds, which seem to grow almost everywhere, plants will  thrive if and only if they have the correct habitat conditions. 
 
In their beautiful book 101 Wildflowers of the Ridges Sanctuary, Frances M. Burton and Aurelia M. Stampp describe the habitat requirements of some of our favorite orchids,   “Lady Slippers grow in a variety of habitats, but the soil must be acidic and contain a specific type of underground fungus. The plant seeds are the size of dust specks and are completely lacking in nutrients.
 
“The fungus in the soil attacks and digests the outer coating of the tiny seeds, allowing the inner cells to absorb nutrients from the fungus and eventually germinate—a procs that takes several years.
 
“After germination, the plants and fungus obtain nourishment from each other………The sensitive and complex relationship between the orchid roots and the fungus makes transplantations nearly impossible.”
 
Transplantation may be nearly impossible, that has not deterred the staff and volunteers of The Ridges Sanctuary. On Tuesday, January 24 at 7:00 Master Gardeners will bring Brian Forest, Land Manager of The Ridges Sanctuary to present program: “Orchid Restoration at The Ridges Sanctuary”
 
Brian will describe the meticulous methods with which The Ridges promoting  “the conservation of orchid species by advancing research on propagation methods, reintroduction success, and long term monitoring and management.. The program will be free and open to the public.”
 
Because we are celebrating The Ridges this week, it seems appropriate that our Friday Film tells the story of one of its founders.  The Wisconsin Public Television “Emma Toft, One With Nature” documentary tells the story of Miss Emma, a woman of the wilderness who was will to fight for the land. 
 
Trails at our three preserves are free and open to the public 24-7. For trail  maps and current trail conditions, and cancellations, visit www.crossroadsatbigcreek.org   The Collins Learning Center, located at 2041 Michigan Street just east of the roundabout in Sturgeon Bay, is open 2:00-4:00 daily and during scheduled activities.
 

Thursday, January 19
1:00-3:300 (snow conditions permitting) SKI FOR FREE
Friends of Crossroads lend ski equipment and snowshoes, free of charge, to residents and visitors of Door County. Go to the Maintenance Building where you will be fitted and then sent out onto our trails to get in touch with nature. Dress for the weather. When in doubt, check the Crossroads Website for current conditions and closures.
 
 
Friday, February  20,
2:00 Friday Film: Emma Toft One With Nature
Come explore the work of an environmental pioneer in Wisconsin’s Door County. Despite commercial development just down the road, Toft Point near Bailey’s Harbor remains as it was over a thousand years ago. Emma Toft was a woman of the wilderness and was willing to fight for the land and the respect of plants and animals. This is a story of her preservation and perseverance. Lecture hall of the Collins Learning Center. Free and open to the public.
 
Saturday, January 21
1:00-3:300 (snow conditions permitting) SKI FOR FREE
Friends of Crossroads lend ski equipment and snowshoes, free of charge, to residents and visitors of Door County. Go to the Maintenance Building where you will be fitted and then sent out onto our trails to get in touch with nature. Dress for the weather. When in doubt, check the Crossroads Website for current conditions and closures.
 
Sunday, January 22
1:00-3:300 (snow conditions permitting) SKI FOR FREE
Friends of Crossroads lend ski equipment and snowshoes, free of charge, to residents and visitors of Door County. Go to the Maintenance Building where you will be fitted and then sent out onto our trails to get in touch with nature. Dress for the weather. When in doubt, check the Crossroads Website for current conditions and closures.

Tuesday, January 24

Master Gardener Lecture: Orchid Restoration at The Ridges Sanctuary

Many of the orchid species at The Ridges and in Door County have experienced significant decline in recent years due to habitat changes, land management activities, unauthorized collection and overgrazing. Brian Forest, Land Manager of  The Ridges will describe orchid restoration program now underway at The Ridges Sanctuary.  Free and open to the public.  Collins Learning Center.

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