Ski report:  Best snow this season.  Fresh snow on all trails.  Enjoy Skiing and Snowshoeing the old fashion way, make your own tracks, no grooming expected. Collins Learning Center is closed.

Designed for all ages, participants also watched a brief clip on embryo development of a chick in the science portion of the program. To see more photos of Eggstravaganza at Crossroads and the Jacksonport Easter Egg Hunt, go to Your Key to the Door Weekly at Tina M. Gohr/Your Key to the Door WeeklyPhotoTina M. Gohr/Your Key to the Door Weekly

Crossroads’ traditional EGGStravaganza, scheduled for the afternoon of March 26,  is not an egg hunt, though finding the entrance to Crossroads might seem like a hunt during the construction of the roundabout on Michigan Street. Actually, the route is not that difficult. From the Highway Detour in Sturgeon Bay, turn onto County T  (Alabama Street) and cross the highway. At Big Creek Road, turn right, and when you come to Lily Bay Road, turn right again. And you’ll be at Crossroads.

EGGStravaganza  is not a religious event either. Actually, many of the festivities around Easter are not religious—starting with the name ” Easter.”   It seems that  in northern Europe, ancient people believed in Eastra, the goddess of dawn and spring, and by extension, the goddess  of fertility, because in spring, animals…most noticeably rabbits….came into heat.  Rabbits and eggs became symbols of fertility…… and of new life.

People of many different faiths traditionally use eggs in their observances this time of year, so Crossroads, in collaboration with the Door County Historical Society, celebrates eggs with educational activities. Learners of all ages will be welcome to attend all or any one of the sessions free of charge.

Our festivities begin with the showing of 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 1:00 and again at 3:45. 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.”

Also at 1:00, members of the Door County Historical Society will open the Schopf House and Warren House in the Heritage Village. Heritage Eggs will be hidden among the antiques, giving families the opportunity to discuss life in Door County in 1900. And for families that locate the eggs and identify the antiques, there will be small prizes.

Before and after participating in the Heritage Eggs , families are invited to meet  a live hen. [This year, our special guest hen is named Zoe and she is very sweet.] before going into the Lecture Hall for some eggscellent short videos about  chick embryo development.

At 2:30, the EGGsperiments will start. Families will  squeeze, crack,  and dissect eggs, and even (yes, this is part of the tradition) drop them out the window from the upper level of the Collins Learning Center before going outside to throw, toss, and otherwise test the incredible strength of egg shells.

The egg shape is structurally beautiful. Consider that the thin shell must be strong enough to protect the embryonic chick from the being squashed by a setting hen. But not all birds lay eggs that we would consider egg-shaped.

For example, the eggs of owls and woodpeckers are rounder than chicken eggs. In owl nests and tree cavities, eggs don’t roll much,  so round eggs are no problem.

Shorebirds have eggs that are quite tapered. For example, killdeer eggs are almost pointed at  one end  and when the eggs are arranged in the nest (if you could call a depression in gravel or  rocks a nest) with the pointed ends toward the center,  they fit neatly like the pieces of a pie.

Ocean birds that balance their nests precariously on steep ledges have pear-shaped eggs, which, because the weight is concentrated on one end, are unlikely to roll over  the cliff.

Egg rolling is just one of the activities at EGGStravaganza. We love having families participate, but individuals of all ages are welcome.

On Tuesday night, join the naturalist for a peaceful walk in the woods. We will listen for the sounds of spring. Tuesday (or Wednesday or Thursday) would also be a great time to buy tickets for the Third Avenue Playhouse production of A Walk in the Woods. TAP is sharing 20% of the Opening Night (March 31st)  ticket sales with Crossroads. We are grateful to TAP for sponsoring this Benefit for us.

Crossroads at Big Creek is a donor supported preserve welcoming learners of all ages to programs in science, history and the environment. The Collins Learning Center, located at 2041 Michigan in Sturgeon Bay, is open 2:00-4:30 daily and during scheduled activities. Now that it is spring (or should be), all trails are open to hiking and biking. To reach the Collins Learning Center and Heritage Village,  from the Highway Detour in Sturgeon Bay, take County T (Alabama Street), cross the highway to Big Creek Road, turn right and drive to Lily Bay Road and take another Right.

This will bring you to the  Crossroads Main Entrance. To reach the Astronomy Campus and Ida Bay preserve, Utah Street is open or you can follow Memorial Drive under the bridge and take 18th Place to get to Utah Street.

Saturday, March  EGGStravaganza

1:00 Screening of MAD CITY CHICKENS

This is a  feature-length documentary about urban backyard chickens. The “mad” in the title refers to Madison, Wisconsin where a number of citizens are involved in sustainably raising chickens. The film is informative and at times, very funny, and would be appropriate for children grade 3 and up (though younger kids would be welcome.) Free and open to the public. Lecture Hall of the Collins Learning Cent

1:00 Meet Zoe, the Hen

In the Entry Level of the Collins Learning Center, visitors will be able to meet a local backyard chicken.

1:00 Door County Historical Society Family  Program: Heritage Eggs

Participants will step into the past by visiting the Warren House and the Schopf House in the Heritage Village at Big Creek, where eggs will be “hidden” in plain sight by members of the Door County Historical Society.  Each young person  who can locate the eggs among the antiques will receive a small prize. Meet on the Entrance of the Collins Learning Center. Free and open to the public.

2:15 Educational Videos about Eggs

Several fascinating films will shown to introduce the topic of eggs and bird embryo development.

2:30  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

Tuesday, March 29  6:30 PM  A Walk in the Woods

Join the naturalist for an evening walk in the woods. We will enjoy the calm of the evening and listen for the sounds of spring.  Meet at the Collins Learning Center. Wear shoes that can get wet.


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