TRAIL NEWS:
  • Standing water on all trails. The view of buttercups from the North Bridge is beautiful.

What’s Happening: Trees and Bees

In Wisconsin, Arbor Day is April 26, but many states observe Arbor Day on different dates according to their best tree-planting times. At Crossroads, we  continue to celebrate Earth Day well into May. In fact, looking at the school field trips scheduled, it seems that Every Day IS Earth Day. Similarly, Crossroads celebrates Arbor Day everyday, not restricting ourselves to one day in April to celebrate our forests. 

Recent celebrations at Crossroads include last week’s BIG PLANT hosted by the Climate Change Coalition, during which Crossroads staff and volunteers planted over 250 trees and shrubs.  But, we have been planting trees at Crossroads every spring and fall since our inception, and during the past three years, we have planted over 6,000 trees on the Crossroads Preserve.

Arbor Day

A Nebraskan newspaper editor, J. Sterling Morton, first proposed a tree planting holiday to be called Arbor Day back in 1872.

According to the Arbor Day Foundation, “As pioneers began moving into the Nebraska Territory, the lack of trees was deeply felt. Not only did the new residents miss the trees they had left behind. They were also left without the trees they needed as windbreaks to keep soil in place, for fuel and building materials, and for shade from the hot sun.”

Now we realize that trees provide far more than windbreaks and wood. Trees release oxygen, reduce atmospheric carbon dioxide, sequester carbon, and improve air and water quality. And in this dry year [it sort of feels like Nebraska] trees are an unappreciated part of the water cycle.

About now—in the time between snowmelt and leaf-out—trees are absorbing enormous volumes of water from the ground.  They will become totally saturated…. between 25-50% water.  Trees store and continue to absorb thousands of gallons of water through their roots throughout the growing season. 

Then, during spring and to a lesser degree, summer, trees slowly release the water from  their leaves or needles in a process called transpiration. In northern forests, this may be the most significant way water evaporates and returns to the water cycle.

Pollinators and More

As we go into May, the buzz seems to be about helping bees and other pollinators. In her book, “Bees, An Identification and Native Plant Forage Guide,’ award winning author and environmentalist Heather Holm wrote, “For some landowners, a mass planting of a variety of trees and shrubs that are insect-pollinated may be a better solution than installing a meadow or prairie planting.” That is certainly true in  Door County. Throughout May, flowering native trees are covered with insects collecting pollen and nectar.

We must plant trees—and now we now understand that planting a variety native trees (AND protecting the mature native trees we have) is one of the best ways to help our ecosystems, the pollinators and the wildlife.

Protecting wildlife is the job of Joel Vos, Refuge Manager with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. He oversees the management of both Green Bay and Gravel Island National Wildlife Refuges. We will welcome him to Crossroads on Thursday, May 2 at 6:00, when he presents the program “Green Bay’s Wildlife Refuges” describing two wildlife refuges and a federally designated Natural Area here in Door County. He will discuss the important habitat conservation work and the historic preservation work going on Plum and Pilot Islands.

During the final Science Saturday family program of the school year, learners of all ages will participate in activities showing the relationships between trees and insects. Activities will demonstrate the importance of planting a variety of native trees and help learners understand why insects are essential in the food web. Participants should dress for the weather, as we hope that many of the activities can be done outdoors.

The following weekend, Saturday, May 11, the Crossroads Habitat Healers will be planting tree seedlings starting at 9:00 a.m.. Volunteers should wear clothing and footgear that can get dirty and wet and bring a water bottle. Instruction, equipment, and gloves provided along with cookies and lemonade at the end! There is no need to register in advance and all ages are welcome. Meet at the Workshop at 2041 Michigan Street.

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


Upcoming Activities


Thursday May 2

6:00 p.m. Green Bays Wildlife Refuges

With family-friendly outdoor adventure, fascinating cultural sites, and state and federal public lands ready to be explored, Door County, Wisconsin is special for many reasons. But, did you know that Door County is home to 2 National Wildlife Refuges, and a federally designated Wilderness Area? Join Refuge Manager, Joel Vos, from Green Bay and Gravel Island National Wildlife Refuges for a presentation about the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), the Green Bay and Gravel Island National Wildlife Refuges. Free and open to the public. Lecture hall, Collins Learning Center, Crossroads, 2041 Michigan Sturgeon Bay.


Saturday, May 4

2:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. Science Saturday “Trees and Insects”

For the final Science Saturday  program of this school year, learners of all ages will participate in activities showing the relationships between trees and insects. Activities will demonstrate the importance of planting variety of native trees and will help participants learn why insects are important in the food web. Dress for the weather, as we hope that many of the activities can be done outdoors. Meet at the Collins Learning Center, Crossroads, 2041 Michigan Sturgeon


Saturday, May 11

9:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. Habitat Healers: Seedling Tree Plantings

This week, Habitat Healers (volunteers) will be planting tree seedlings! Wear clothing and footgear that can get dirty and wet and bring a water bottle. Instruction, equipment, and gloves provided along with cookies and lemonade at the end!  There is no need to register in advance and all ages are welcome. Meet at the Workshop at Crossroads at Big Creek,  2041 Michigan Street, Sturgeon Bay.


Saturday, May 11

10:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. Door Peninsula Mushroom Club: 2nd Annual Mushroom Day

Join us for a fungi-filled day on Saturday, May 11 from 10-3. Explore mushroom-related vendors, engage in indoor and outdoor mushroom activities, and learn about wild mushrooms and how to cultivate your own at home. Whether you’re a seasoned mycophile or just curious about the magical world of mushrooms, this event is for you!

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