EGGStravaganza returns to Crossroads on Saturday, April 15 at 2:00.  This is NOT an Egg Hunt. No chocolate bunnies; no free jelly beans or pastel plastic trinkets.  EGGStravaganza is a science lesson, but that does not mean it isn’t fun. I mean, who wouldn’t want to throw raw eggs out the Upper Level windows of the Collins Learning Center?

During  this annual event, families gather to investigate chicken  eggs. Learners of all ages begin by watching two short, but astonishing films, documenting the development of a chicken embryo, from day one when the egg is laid, until the pipping on day twenty-one.
Pipping? It is an odd word describing the process by which a chick escapes from its egg shell through a weakened spot called pip.  Actually, the embryo chick has to make two pips to hatch. But, it has the tool to accomplish the tasks.
Early in the embryo development, the beak is formed, complete with a bizarre sharp lump on top. Called the egg tooth, this protuberance can break through a hard surface—like an egg shell.
Inside the egg, when the embryo chick grows too big to get by on the oxygen which passes through pores of the shell, it makes the “internal pip” using its egg tooth to tear through the membrane on the blunt end of the egg to reach the air pocket.  The embryo chick needs plenty of oxygen in its newly developed lungs to make the external pip.
On hatching day, the chick positions  itself about a third of the way down the egg from the large end. Then, using legs and neck muscles  the chick begins pushing its egg tooth against the inside of the shell.  An exhausting effort, this pushing lasts for twelve hours to eighteen hours, but with,  understandably,  lots of rest periods.
One would think the nearly-hatched chick would give up, but apparently, it is encouraged by hearing the peeping of its sisters and brothers, also still in their eggs. This peeping, because it occurs before pipping, is called pre-pipping peeping, and it seems to synchronize the hatching, so all of the chicks in a nest emerge from their eggs nearly the same time.
Eventually, after hours of applying  pressure to the inside wall of the egg,  the egg tooth punctures the shell creating sort a star-like crack pattern called….yep, the “pip.” Once the pip  has weakened the egg,  the chick uses its beak to saw an opening, out of which it can crawl.   Just hatched, the chick is scraggly, wet, and exhausted. Sometimes, the hatchling is  so tired, it just falls over and goes to sleep.  But it doesn’t take long before this ugly bedraggled infant is fluffy and cute.
During our program, each family will dissect a real egg and learn about pipping.  And then, we demonstrate just why pipping is an amazing accomplishment. We test the strength of egg shells, and there are countless imaginative ways in which that can be done,  from squeezing, rolling, and tossing, to playing catch with raw eggs. It’s all a part of the Crossroads tradition.
Another part of the tradition is showing  the feature length documentary  “Mad City Chickens.”  Several years ago, the Door County Libraries sponsored a screening of this film  and we liked so much, we purchased it and the screening rights so we could show it again and again, which we will do at  3:30 Saturday. According to the producers, Tarazod Films,   “viewers will witness Gallus domesticus –the backyard chicken. From healthy eggs to the family’s new favorite pet, the chicken is forging a fresh place in the pecking order of human importance.”
Crossroads at Big Creek is a donor supported facility made up of the Big Creek, The Cove, and the Ida Bay preserves. The Collins Learning Center, located at 2041 Michigan just east of the Highway 42/57 Roundabout in Sturgeon Bay, is open 2:00-4:00 daily and during scheduled activities. Trails in all preserves are open 24/7 free of charge.
Saturday, April 15 EGGStravaganza
2:00 Educational Videos about Eggs
View two fascinating videos giving you and inside (egg) look a chicken embryo development.
2:15 Family Program: EGGSperiments
Families will have hands-on (or actually hands-in) opportunities in oology–the science of eggs.  Learners  will  crack, break,  and throw eggs, and even (yes, this is part of the tradition) drop them out the window from the upper level of the Collins Learning Center. And each family will dissect an unfertilized egg in the lab of the Collins Learning Center before going outside to toss raw eggs.  Free and open to the public.
3:30 Film Presentation:   MAD CITY CHICKENS
This video, filmed in Madison Wisconsin,  is about backyard chickens . According to the producers,  Tarazod Films,  “viewers will witness Gallus domesticus –the backyard chicken. From healthy eggs to the family’s new favorite pet, the chicken is forging a fresh place in the pecking order of human importance.” Free and open to the public.
Wednesday, April 19                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    6:00 Family Gardening Workshop                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Call 746-5895 to determine if there are still openings in the three session program. Pre-registration is required.

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