Trails:  Rolled and tracked on Wednesday. Condition: Very good, with a few icy spots.

Each new dusting of snow helps a bit, but at Crossroads at Big Creek, the lingering snow is looking increasingly dirty. But sometimes, at just the right temperature, if you stare at the specks of dirt, you’ll see them jump. Snowfleas  (perhaps better called “springtails”)  are insect-like creatures, but they don’t suck blood or get on pets or spread disease. They just appear when days are getting warmer.

When springtails are springing on the spring snow, they show up, not because they are big, but because there are so many of them.  One reference book says that there are often as many as 10 million individual springtails per acre. (I tend to be skeptical of figures like this. Who could count the vibrating masses of speck-sized creatures?) Anyway, there’s a mess of them out there.

According the entomologist May R. Berenbaum, “Springtails win no prize for fine dining. In approximate order of frequency, they consume fungal filaments–the dead or rotting parts, insect droppings, pollen grains, spores, algae, bacteria, and small (meaning microscopic) creatures.”

I really don’t know why springtails come to the surface of melting snow. Maybe they are looking for yummy food. Often, we see large congregations in animal tracks, bootprints,  or in ski trails. Perhaps  it is warmer in these depressions  or maybe  the springtails pop into them and don’t have enough spring in their spring tails to pop out. Anyway, seeing springtails means spring is coming. At least astronomical spring is here.

Whether or not spring arrives, a number of schools have scheduled spring breaks.  As is our tradition, we will offer two  Cross-Generational Classes. A generous grant from the Door County Community Foundation enables Crossroadsto offer these learning experiences free of change, but one adult and one youth (ages 7-12) must participate together and pre-registration is required. On Monday, March 25  from 1:30-3:00, ” Fossils of Door County”  class will give pairs of learners the chance to learn about the fossils found on the peninsula.  On Tuesday,  March 26  from 10:30-12:00, the Cross-Gen Class will be “Introduction to the Planets”.   To enroll, call 746-5895, give the name and age of the young person and the name of daytime phone number for the adult, and because both classes involve edible models, tell us whether the youth has dietary restrictions. Classes are limited to eight pairs of learners but if fewer than four pairs enroll, the class will be canceled.

On Wednesday, March 27 at 2:00,   we will screen the historical video: “A Rich Life, the History of Door County Farming  This is the story of a life’s labor that has changed significantly over the years. The film is free and open to the public.

If (and it is becoming a bigger IF) snow and temp conditions allow, Friends of Crossroads will still loan skis and snowshoes between 1:30-3:3o on Sundays.

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