Insects and the Weather

Collins Learning Center

Summer Hours: 1:30-3:30 Daily.

Family programs have been very popular this summer at Crossroads at Big Creek. Because of the wonderful facilities at the Collins Learning Center, we offer programs rain or shine, but even our outdoor programs are very dependent on the  weather.

For example, the Wednesday program will focus on butterflies and other flying insects. IF the weather is pleasant, butterflies really will be everywhere.  But insects cannot fly in cold weather, and on cool days, they must bask in the sunshine in order to raise their body heat enough for flight. Many butterflies have black areas or lines on their wings and bodies to help them absorb heat.

Dragonflies have air sacs which protect their flight muscles but like butterflies, they sometimes need to sunbathe.  To do this, they position themselves parallel to dark branches of trees so they can benefit from the heat absorbed by the bark.  Dark markings on these insect also absorb heat. And when dragonflies are really chilly, they can shiver and vibrate to warm up flight muscles.

Dragonflies can cope with cold, but what about extremely  hot days? When overheated, dragonflies land, perch on a nice cool leaf and point their rear ends directly at the sun. In doing so, they catch as few rays as possible and presumably stay cool.

Humans wanting to spend time outside can benefit from walking and hiking in the shady woods or by exercising  in the early mornings or evenings. Hikers and runners are welcome at any hour at Crossroads.

Another way to cool off is to visit one of Door County’s beaches. Know that the water from our public beaches is collected daily and that researchers from the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh, using state-of-art equipment in the lab at Crossroads, test the water. We are proud to host this important public health and water quality research.

Crossroads is a donor-supported preserve inviting learners of all ages to programs in science, history and the environment. During summer, the Collins Learning Center, located at 2041 Michigan in Sturgeon Bay,  is open 1:30-3:30 daily.

Wednesday, July 10, 1:30 Family Program: Butterflies Everywhere
Hike to the fields and forest to find butterflies and other flying insects everywhere. We’ll provide the nets for this capture/release program. Appropriate for all ages. Meet at the Collins Learning Center. Free.

Thursday, July 11, 1:30 Family Program: Drawing in Nature
Take a close look at native plants, hike to find them and sketch your favorites.Appropriate for all ages. Meet at the Collins Learning Center. Free.

Monday, July 15, 1:30 Birds and Wildflowers
Search the meadows for the birds and wildflowers of summer. Appropriate for all ages. Meet at the Collins Learning Center. Free.

Tuesday, July 16. 1:30  Family Program: Animal Acrobatics

Explore how animals moves, using feet, fins, and feathers.  Appropriate for all ages. Meet at the Collins Learning Center. Free.

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