Remember the Joni Mitchell song “Big Yellow Taxi”? Ever since Crossroads at Big Creek made the decision to rehabilitate and expand our parking lot, that song has been stuck in my head. Putting up a parking lot is a metaphor for wanton destruction of the environment.
“They paved paradise, and they put up a parking lot.” Well, that part is spot on. We will be paving an area big enough to park 60 additional vehicles, but some of the pavers will be permeable and we will direct the storm water into a new forebay/detention pond, which should create a new wildlife habitat.
“Took all the trees, put’em in a tree museum.” We certainly are going to remove some trees, but unfortunately, we would have to take them out anyway. The area slated for the parking lot expansion was a derelict orchard when Crossroads purchased the property, but second growth came in as ash and elm trees. Both species are doomed. Many of the trees are dead, and the rest will soon be. We hope to rescue and replant the trees and shrubs which have any chance for survive. Most don’t.
In a way, though, we are creating a “tree museum.” This spring we begin work on the Jim Maki Arboretum. The Arboretum Committee will be planting the trees species that were found at Crossroads at the time of European settlement, so this area, on the northeast end of our original preserve, will be a living historical tree exhibit.
Under the leadership of Eagle Scout candidate James Dickson, Boy Scout Troop 1021 will also be planting hundreds of native trees near the Astronomy Campus to create a wildlife corridor between the tree line which the Friends of Crossroads and Sturgeon Bay High School students planted in 2009 and the remnant hardwood forest just east if the Stonecipher Astronomy Center.
Don’t it always seem to go?
Don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone.
As both a historical and environmental preserve, we are aware that the land over which we are stewards was once home to Native American and also early European settlers. Since the inception of Crossroads, we have engaged archaeologists to conduct shovel tests on any land we were going to disturb.
Thanks goodness, we have located archaeological sites at all three of our properties before we accidentally destroyed them. This spring, before trees are planted in the arboretum and engineering is done on the parking lot, professionals from Midwest Archaeological Consultants will be conducting surveys so we do not accidentally destroy evidence of the first Crossroads residents and visitors.
We are still trying to raise the funds to rehab and expand our parking lot, but this spring we are doing what we can to enhance our piece of paradise, where the peepers are peeping, the suckers are running and the spring flowers are beginning to bloom. You see, we do know, and thousands of visitors enjoy, what we’ve got.
On Tuesday, May 3 at 7:00 the Door Peninsula Astronomical Society will hold its May meeting in the Stonecipher Astronomy Center. The illustrated program, “How Quantum Mechanics Relates to Astronomy” will be presented by Tom Minahan. Visitors are encouraged to attend. Refreshments will be served.
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 crossroads 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. (of from the north, follow Buffalo Ridge Trail)
Sunday, May 1,
1:00 May Day Ramble through Ida Bay
Join the naturalist for an spring walk through the Ida Bay Preserve. Meet at the Zenith Street Entrance. Free and open to the public.
Monday, May 2
7:00 Frog Chorus Hike
Join the naturalist for an evening walk through the Crossroads preserve. The frogs should be croaking and if we are lucky, the suckers will still be in Big Creek. Meet at the Collins Learning Center.
Tuesday, May 3
7:00 Meeting of the Door Peninsula Astronomical Society
The Door Peninsula Astronomical Society will hold its May meeting in the Stonecipher Astronomy Center. The illustrated program, “How Quantum Mechanics Relates to Astronomy” will be presented by Tom Minahan. Visitors are encouraged to attend. Refreshments will be served.