What do railroads,  NASA missions, gorgeous flowers and butterflies, and a one-room schoolhouse have in common? These diverse topics will all be addressed in educational programs  at Crossroads at Big Creek. We at Crossroads are into diversity, from our anti-discrimination policy to our efforts to protect native plants and animals in the preserve.
     Most people intuitively understand  that the greater the variety of different plants growing  in an area, the more wildlife will be present.  Actual plant/animal relationships are complex and ever changing. Because one of our  family programs will feature butterflies this week, let’s use them as an example.  Adult butterflies live on the nectar from flowers. But  throughout the summer, a succession of wildflowers bloom, and  then wilt.  A large number of different flower species are necessary to ensure a nectar source throughout all the  weeks between  spring and fall.
     Caterpillars eat leaves, and these larval forms of  most butterfly species are rather specific in their nutritional needs. Female butterflies instinctively  lay their eggs on specific plants. But if  those specific host plants do not grow in relative abundance, odds are you will not find the caterpillars or the adult butterflies. 

     What is true of butterflies is true of many wildlife species. Different animals have different nutritional needs and unless they migrate or hibernate, they need adequate  food every month of the year. Most animals prefer native plants, which makes sense. Native plants have kept generations of native wildlife alive. And diversity is important. 

     Similarly, intellectual diversity is also good for a learning center.
     This week, the historical program on Sunday will recall  the “History of Railroads in Door County,” the Door Peninsula Astronomical Society meeting will be feature programs on Lunar and Solar Missions, participants in a three day Watercolor Workshop will be observing and interpreting the intricacies of flowers, and family programs will include experience-based activities such as “lessons” in the Vignes School and butterfly netting in the meadows.
     Since before recorded history the Great Lakes waterways provided for easy travel and shipment of goods throughout the upper Midwest, including Door County. Thus, the encroachment of railroads was at times seen as a threat to an already thriving industry. Finally, in 1894, when The Ahnapee and Western Railroad wound its way into Sturgeon Bay, both methods of transportation worked hand-in-glove to foster a great partnership of commerce, industry and travel.
     On Sunday, August 5, the Door County Historical Society is proud to present guest lecturer Paul Spanbauer. He  will describe the history of railroads in Door County.  Mr. Spanbauer brings a wealth of information about this fascinating period of time from well over a century ago.  The program begins at 2:00 pm and admission is free to the public.
     Beginning Tuesday, August 7,   artist Connie Glowalski will offer a three day watercolor workshop in the Collins Learning Center. Pleasevisit  watercolor@connie-glowacki.com  for class description, materials list, cost and registration information.
     The Door Peninsula Astronomical Society (DPAS) invites the visitors to attend their August General Meeting. Dr. Ray Stonecipher will give a talk on the “NASA Lunar Orbiter” and DPAS President Dave Udell will present the feature program on  “Solar Observation.” Refreshments will be served. The meeting is free and open to the public.  DPAS meetings are held in the Stonecipher Astronomy Center. Please us the Utah Street Entrance. (At the Cove Road intersection, turn left into Crossroads preserve.
         Family Programs are offered Monday through Thursday at 1:30. No preregistration is necessary. A grant from Altrusa of Door County enables Crossroads to offer August programs free of charge.

Wednesday, August 1, 1:30 Family Program: The Chapel
Visit the lovely Chapel at the Crossroads and learn  hymns and stories about life in 1900. Free. Meet at The Chapel. Free and open to the public.
Thursday, August 2, 1:30  Family Program: Mammals
Learners of all ages will learn about the habitats and habits of Door County mammals. Meet at the Collins Learning Center. Free and open to the public.
Sunday, August 5 1:30-3:30 Sunday at The Village
Historical Society members  in period clothing will guide visitors through the buildings of The Village. At 2:00 in the Lecture Hall of the Collins Learning Center, guest lecturer  Paul Spanbauer will describe the history of railroads in Door County.  Mr. Spanbauer brings a wealth of information about this fascinating period of time from well over a century ago.  The program begins at 2:00 pm and admission is free to the public.
August 6   1:30 Family Program: School Days in 1900
“Schoolmarm” Joan Wilkie will hold class in the Vignes School. Learners of all ages are welcome to step back in history to the time when classes were held in a one room school. Meet at the School in the Historical Village. Free and open to the public.
6:30 Friends of Crossroads
Visitors are always welcome at meetings of the volunteer arm of Crossroads. At each meeting, the group discusses projects and volunteer opportunities. Meet at the Collins Learning Center.
Tuesday August 7,  1:30 Family Program:  “Butterflies Everywhere”
Join the summer educator in a capture/release activity studying caterpillars, butterflies and other insects of the fields and meadows at Crossroads. Meet at the Collins Learning Center.  Free and open to the public.

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