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Looking Ahead: A Fish Tale and Comet Trails

Planetarium Snows lead by the Door Peninsula Astronomical Society

Eyes are on the skies this week at Crossroads. Many folks seem to be longing for snow clouds, but next Saturday, it would be splendid if the skies would clear for the Door Peninsula Astronomical Society’s Viewing Night. 

Looking ahead to next week, we can anticipate the return of what now has become a popular Crossroads tradition: the Fish Tales Lecture Series.

Tales to be Told

It all started about six years ago with a random comment. Crossroads was hosting a hearing about fishing regulations. During the question-and-answer period, most of the questions were insightful, but some were based on isolated anecdotes, and a few demonstrated serious miscomprehension.

Retired fish biologist Mark Holey attended that event, and after most participants had left, he expressed frustration that our local public seemed unaware that science informs fish management decisions. 

The Great Lakes Fishery Commission uses evidence-based science to guide its decisions and convenes state and federal managers several times a year to share scientific findings to coordinate and improve management of Great Lakes fisheries.

“IF ONLY the commercial and sport fishers and the public could hear what advanced science was revealing about the Great Lakes fisheries,” Holey said. “It would be so good if we could get the research biologists and the public in the same room.”

That “if only” comment spawned the “Fish Tales Lecture Series: presenting the Science of Great Lakes Fisheries.”

Since 2019, Holey has recruited outstanding researchers who have shared their findings at Crossroads. During the Covid years, Crossroads partnered with the Door County Library, which now live-streams the in-person Fish Tales lectures via Zoom and Facebook Live and makes archived recordings available on its website.

We will launch the 2024 lecture series on Thursday, January 18, at 7:00 p.m., so save the date. Dr. Dan Isermann, the Unit Leader of the U.S. Geological Survey-Wisconsin Cooperative Fishery Research Unit will present, “A Quest of Nests II: revisiting Nest Fishing and Smallmouth Bass Recruitment Along the Door Peninsula.” More details next week or check our website.

Creating Comets and Enjoying the Sky

On Saturday, January 13, at 2:00 p.m., our Saturday Science Program will feature comets. Families are invited to learn about these “starry messengers” by attending a demonstration during which the Comet Chef will concoct a frigid comet model after showing a short video. Every family will get a souvenir chunk of a “kitchen comet” to take home and enjoy (until it sublimates). This free program is for all ages and will be held indoors.

That night, beginning at 7:00 p.m., the Door Peninsula Astronomical Society will hold its monthly viewing night at the Astronomy Campus. DPAS is no longer dependent on clear skies. It’s always clear and starry in the Planetarium. No matter the weather, planetarium shows will be offered throughout the evening. And if it is clear, there is a possibility of seeing a dim comet (without a tail) in the constellation of Leo. (We anticipate better comet viewing later in the year, but comets tend to be somewhat unpredictable.)

A community science birding opportunity is available on Mondays and Tuesdays this winter. Crossroads is participating in Project Feeder Watch. If you would be interested in volunteering to watch the birds at our new feeding station, visit the Crossroads website under the Volunteer Tab or contact corey@crossroadsatbigcreek.org.

As always, our trails are open all day every day, free of charge. Check the Crossroads website calendar for upcoming events and details.

Kids learning firsthand how comets are formed.

Upcoming Activities

Saturday, January 13

2:00 p.m. Science Saturday: Comet Chef

Learn about the “starry messengers”– comets– by attending this family-friendly demonstration during which the Comet Chef will concoct a frigid comet model after showing a short video. Every family will get a souvenir chunk of a “kitchen comet” to take home and enjoy (until it sublimates). This free program is for all ages and will be held indoors. Meet at the Collins Learning Center, Crossroads, 2041 Michigan Street, Sturgeon Bay.


7:00 p.m. Door Peninsula Astronomical Society Viewing Night

If skies are clear, the Observatory will be open and guided outdoor sky viewing will be offered. But clear or overcast, free planetarium shows will be offered in the Stonecipher Astronomy Center. Free and open to the public. 2200 Utah Street, Sturgeon Bay.

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