The rest of the country can celebrate Earth Day in April, but at Crossroads Big Creek, we wait until May and expand over two weeks….actually more than that. Sawyer School celebrated Earth Day at Crossroads last Thursday. So what activities are planned during our Earth Weeks?
On Wednesday, the Sunrise Ambassadors, a group of enthusiastic volunteers from Sunrise School, will water some of the 600 trees that have been planted at Crossroads this spring, and will also clean up the southeast end of the preserve.
Wednesday Night is “graduation day” for our Family Gardening Class, which is a collaborative program sponsored by Crossroads, Master Gardeners and UW-Extension. Instead wearing caps and gowns, our families will flaunt dirty knees and fingernails (the final lesson is planting potatoes) and each family will go home with a box of organic vegetable starts which they can plant in their own yard or the Community’s Garden.
Thursday is Sunrise School Earth Day, which promises to be memorable. Students and their chaperons will be riding a Door County Trolley (thanks A.J.!) between the Crossroads Preserve, Big Creek Cove Preserve and our Ida Bay Preserve so they can explore a variety of habitats. At The Cove, they will be a part of an archaeological dig in our most recently discovered site. Many of the classes will participate in a service project—spreading bark (thanks Sturgeon Bay Utilities) on the trail to our new dock/observation area on the bay of Sturgeon Bay. Yes. It’s in!
To avoid disturbing the wetland habitats of Big Creek Cove, members of Friends of Crossroads and our Board of Directors floated the dock (through rain, sleet and snow pellets) from the end of Memorial Drive to Crossroads property east of The Cove. Once the Sunrise students finish the trail, visitors can use our observation platform and dock to view the bay from a new perspective.
Friday and Saturday, the Collins Learning Center will be closed to the public as researchers from the Environmental Research Innovation Center (ERIC) of the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh transform the Upper Level into a research laboratory for the summer. In our lab, they will again be testing water from Door County beaches. Again this year, ERIC has received a grant from Healthy Water Door County ( a fund of the Door County Community Foundation) to conduct well testing this June.
But while the ERIC folks are setting up, in collaboration with The Ridges Sanctuary, The Land Trust, The Nature Conservancy, Wisconsin Wetlands Association and the Wisconsin DNR, we will be presenting field trips as a part of The Door County Festival of Nature. Though the missions of these partnering organizations overlap, each brings a particular strength and focus to the goals of preservation and environmental stewardship. For more information about the Festival, visit http://www.ridgessanctuary.org/
The Master Gardeners will be hold their annual Plant Sale on Saturday, May 28, from 9am-noon at the Peninsular Agricultural Research Station (just north of Sturgeon Bay on Highway 42), While this is not a Crossroads event, in a very real way, it helps us achieve our mission. The profits from this sale will help fund the outstanding Master Gardener Lecture Series which will be offered next winter in the Lecture Hall of the Collins Learning Center.
While work on observation platforms probably will not be complete, public field trips of our Big Creek Cove preserve will be offered on Sunday May 29 at 1:00. Participants can park in the grassy area just off 20th Place and on Tuesday, May 31, at 3:00, we will take our last opportunity to enjoy May Flowers.
The Sunset Kindergarten Earth Day will be Tuesday and Wednesday students from TJ Walker will be at Crossroads. And then Thursday, Sawyer and homeschool students will visit the planetarium. Oh, my! Happy Crossroads Earth Week.
Crossroads at Big Creek is a community-supported preserve welcoming learners of all ages to programs in science, history and the environment. The Collins Learning Center, located at 2041 Michigan, is open 2:00-4:30 daily and during scheduled events. During the construction, to reach the center, take the highway detour to County T (Alabama Street) cross the highway to Big Creek Road and turn right. Proceed to Lily Bay Road and turn right. Lily Bay Road will merge with Michigan and the Crossroads entrance will be on your left.
To reach the Astronomy Campus and Ida Bay Preserve, Utah Street currently crosses the highway, or you can follow Memorial Drive under the bridge, and turn on 18th Place to reach Utah Street. The Astronomy Campus is at the Cove Road intersection, 2200 Utah. To reach the Ida Bay Preserve, follow Cove Road. (or from the north, follow Buffalo Ridge Trail)
Sunday, May 29
1:00 Hike to the Dock on the Bay
Join the naturalist on a walk to the new dock at the Big Creek Cove Preserve. Free and open to the public. From Sturgeon Bay, take Utah Street across the highway and travel across the little bridge to 20th Place. Take the first drive way to park on the grassy area. Free and open to the public.
Tuesday, May 31
3:00 Hike: In Search of May Flowers
Join the naturalist in search of the tiny woodland flowers that bloom in May. Meet at the Collins Learning Center.