While we are more than happy to offer programs on a variety of historical and environmental topics, this year at Crossroads at Big Creek, we are learning about and trying to enhance the wildlife habitats in various ecosystems on our three preserves. So, we have been asked, “why this sudden preoccupation with pollinators?”
The fascination started when Wild Ones of the Door Peninsula, in collaboration with The Beekeepers of Door County, Sustain Door, and Door Property Owners, invited Heather Holm,, the author of the award-winning Bees: An Identification and Native Plant Forage Guide to Crossroads at Big Creek to present the lecture “Attracting Bees and Beneficial Insects  with Native Plants on Thursday, August 24 at 6:00. This program is free and open to the public.
Before the lecture, at 4:00, Holm will offer a Pollinator Walk at Crossroads.. She will  teach participants how to look for, and gently capture (and release) insects. Participants get an up-close look at each insect captured and learn about their biology, their contribution to the pollination of flowers, or their role as a beneficial insect. This hike has a limit of 20 participants, and though it is free, pre-registrations (first come/first enrolled) is required, no exceptions.. To register for the Pollinator Walk, call 746-5895 and give leave your name and phone number on the answering machine. We will get back to you.
In the sunny, pesticide-free  Heritage Garden at Big Creek, we often see foraging honeybees pollinating flowers and vegetables. But we do not see honeybees in the dark forests at the Ida Bay Preserve  or in the wetlands along The Cove.  But flowers bloom and reproduce in those areas. Presumably,  native wild  pollinators are visiting those flowers.
In an article in the Wisconsin Natural Resources Magazine, David Sperling wrote, “ Wildlife depends on natural pollinators both as a source of food and for enabling the fertilization of plant they rely on for fruit, seed, cover, and sustenance. By aiding in wild land food production, helping with nutrient cycling, and as direct prey, pollinators are important in food chains.”
” Many migratory songbirds require a diet of berries, fruits and seeds from insect-pollinated plants and the larvae of these insects are an important component of the diet  young birds”, noted the research team with the Nebraska Ornithological Union.”
Since grade school, I have been taught that everything in nature is connected. Over the years, as ecological research continues to reveal complex connections, I can only be awed by complexity of the natural world. But clearly,  to learn about pollinating insects in a year in which we are focusing on habitat resources is absolutely appropriate.
During our Parking Lot expansion, spaces will be available much of the time, but when heavy equipment is present, we ask that visitors park at the Maintenance Building (first drive east of the main entrance) or at the Astronomy Campus parking lot (intersection of Cove Road and Utah Street).

Crossroads at Big Creek is made up of three properties:  Ida Bay, The Cove, and the Big Creek Preserves. The Collins Learning Center, located at 2041 Michigan Street , is open 1:00-3:00 Tuesday-Saturday during the summer. Restrooms and trails are always open.

Monday, August 21
10:00 Family Program: Insect Mouthparts

Insects are fascinating and depending on how they eat, insects have a variety of mouth parts. Through hands-on activities. learn how different insects utilize their food source. Meet at the Collins Learning Center.  Free and Open to the Public.
Learn about how various insects and birds pollinate flowers and why it is important. Hands on activities for the whole family. Free and open to the public.

Thursday, August 24 POLLINATOR DAY
10:00 Family Program: Pollinators

Learn about how various insects and birds pollinate flowers and why it is important. Hands on activities for the whole family. Free and open to the public.
 
4:00 Pollinator Walk with Heather Holm
Heather  will  teach participants how to look for, and gently capture (and release) insects. Participants get an up-close look at each insect captured and learn about their biology, their contribution to the pollination of flowers, or their role as a beneficial insect. This hike has a limit of 20 participants, and though it is free, pre-registrations (first come/first enrolled) is required, no exceptions.. To register for the Pollinator Walk, call 746-5895 and give leave your name and phone number on the answering machine. We will get back to you.


6:00 Wild Ones Lecture: Attracting Bees and Beneficial Insects
with Native Plants
Most insects have a positive impact in our landscapes. Native plants can be selected to attract specific bees and beneficial insects including predatory and parasitic wasps, beetles, flies, true bugs, and lacewings. Learn about the predator-prey relationships of these flower-visiting beneficial insects and how they help keep problem insect populations in balance. The life cycles, diversity, and nesting habitat of native bees will also be covered along with examples of native plants for different site conditions.This program is free and open to the public. Collins Learning Center at Crossroads.

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