First tan and brown, then green and now yellow is showing up all over Crossroads. True, spring wildflowers are beginning to bloom, but these  colors are on the Running Green for Crossroads  tee-shirts from previous years.   Runners and walkers wear tend to wear their Running Green tees as they  train for this year’s event scheduled for June 21.
Last year, the performance shirts were as yellow as the marsh marigolds which now border Big Creek. Those shirts were special because they were made of 100% recycled materials and because the shirts produced  for last year’s Running Green kept 2,500 plastic bottles out of landfills.
What color will the finisher tee  be this year? Organizers keep that a secret. When runners pre-register before May 24, they are guaranteed a t-shirt.
Wearing a Running Green for Crossroads tee is, like the entire event, a celebration of sustainability. Proud to be “Door County’s First and Only Trail Run, ” Running Green for Crossroads is far more than a fund raiser.  Like almost everything which happens at Crossroads, Running Green is a learning experience. The run was started  five years ago in order to increase awareness of green living in our community. And though the event  has grown over the years, organizers have stayed true to the original mission.
Runners bring their own water bottles to cut down on solid waste.  Refreshments are produced within 30 miles of  Crossroads (and they are amazing!) because buying local is beneficial in many ways. Paper goods and even the running bibs will be biodegradable,  and food waste will be  composted.
This year, Crossroads is teaming up with Nike to ‘Reuse-a-Shoe’.  Participants and spectators will be invited to bring  worn out shoes to the race to be recycled.  “Reuse-a-Shoe’ takes worn out athletic shoes and grinds them down to create a new material called Nike Grind, which is used to make high-quality sports surfaces including courts, turf fields, tracks and more.
Finally, folks who pre-register before May 24 get a price break  so they save a little green!
Besides marking your calendar to register for Running Green,  you may want to participate in the  Door County Festival of Nature on May 23 and May 24  AND to watch the  “May Camelopardalids”  meteor shower.
According to EarthSky, “On the night of May 23-24, 2014 – if predictions hold true – Earth might be sandblasted with debris from Comet 209P/LINEAR, resulting in a fine new meteor shower!'”
Unfortunately, the predicted peak is between 1:00-3:00 am Saturday morning.
209P/Linear wasn’t even discovered until 2004. and it was named, not for an  individual  but for the Lincoln Near-Earth Asteroid Research  (LINEAR) project.  At first, scientists thought is was perhaps a minor planet, but it is comet, orbiting the Sun every five years. It will swing around the sun this month, probably leaving debris, but the Earth will not cross the path of this newly released material.
Scientists Peter Jenniskens and Esko Lyytinen who first predicted this event write:    “In the night of Friday May 23, when Earth is at the node of the comic orbit, some of the debris ejected by the comet during returns to the Sun in the late 18th, 19th and early 20th centuries is calculated to be in Earth’s path. If the comet was active in those years, and that is a big if, a new meteor shower may be visible from the United States and southern parts of Canada. Slow moving meteors would radiate from the vicinity of the north star. Keep your expectations low, but don’t miss it!”

Meteor showers  are named for the region of the sky from which the “shooting stars” (which, remember, are comet debris, not stars) seem to come. Astronomers divide the night sky into regions which we call constellations.  If there are meteors this weekend, they will seem to come from the constellation Camelopardalids, which, quite frankly,  is a pretty obscure grouping of stars with a goofy name.
Supposedly, the ancients didn’t know what  giraffes were when they first saw them. Pliny the Elder wrote the name “Camelopardalis”  in his Natural History because he believed the giraffe to be a cross between a long-necked camel and spotted leopard. (Pardalids means “leopard”in Latin)  But the the ancients didn’t name this constellation, probably because it looks nothing like a giraffe, or a camel or anything else.
In  1612 (or 1613) Petrus Planicius, a Dutch astronomer (who also was a clergyman) was mapping the sky and had a blank area  between Ursa Major  and Cassiopeia.  So he  invented a constellation and named it  Camelopardalids.
Members of the Door Peninsula Astronomical Society will be in Baileys Harbor at the Door County Festival of Nature on the night of May 23 and they will hold a Viewing Night on Saturday at the Leif Everson Observatory and StarGarden at Crossroads. Those two viewing nights come on either side of the predicted peak of the May Camelopardalis, but this is a new meteor shower so nobody really knows if or when it will occur. It might even happen during the DPAS  viewing nights. Maybe.

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