By Coggin Heeringa, Director, Crossroads at Big Creek
The Crossroads Trail Run 2020 promised to be the best ever. We had generous sponsors, exciting plans, and registrations were coming in. And then, everything changed. It was clear that, for the health and safety of our volunteers and run participants, the traditional race format would not work. But cancel?
The 11-year tradition means so much to so many. Some participated in the trail run as a way to support Crossroads activities, especially our Ski for Free program. Others just loved getting in touch with nature while getting in shape. A number of people have told us that even more than the coveted event t-shirt, they value the native plant which we present to each finisher.
So how do we hold a run during a pandemic? Virtually! No, we will not (as someone suggested) have a bunch of runners crossing a Zoom meeting screen. But our creative Run Team has designed an excellent Virtual Run.
For full details about the 11th Annual (Virtual) Crossroads Trail Run and to register, please visit www.crossroadsrun.com. Participants can chose a 2k, 5k or 10k distance in a “Safer at Home” location. (Crossroads will also be marking the race routes for those who want to run or walk in the preserve.) Registration is open until June 20.
Participants can run any time and anywhere between June 16 and June 20 and respond to the website with the message, “I Ran the Distance!” or post pics of their runs. Each participant will receive a one-of-a-kind “Running the Distance…at a Distance” cotton bandana mask which will be mailed within seven days of the race. Or, local runners may pick up their cotton bandanas and viburnum shrubs between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. on June 20 in the parking lot Crossroads at Big Creek’s Collins Learning Center, adhering to the safe distance protocol with “curbside service.”
This year, Evergreen Nursery is donating a native viburnum shrubs for finishers. According to the Native Plant Herald which ispublished by Prairienursery.com. “Every yard needs at least one Viburnum species (if not more). “Native Viburnums bloom in spring with a fantastic display of large white flowers that offer plentiful support to early season pollinators.
“The prolific flowering gives way to abundant fruits that are highly attractive to birds. Cardinals, Eastern Bluebirds, Robins and Cedar Waxwings are just a few of the birds that will visit Viburnums. In autumn, Viburnum leaves turn a range of colors from gold to burgundy or red to purple.
“Throughout the growing season they can host an array of leopidoptera – butterflies and moths…during their caterpillar phase. The presence of these caterpillars is yet another reason the shrubs are popular with birds, as the juicy caterpillars are a preferred food of nesting birds with chicks to feed.”
The Crossroads Trail Run was originally called Running Green. The event was started as a way to raise awareness of green living. Over the years, by handing out native plants to hundreds of finishers each year, we like to think we have increased the biodiversity of our communities, making our Door County home landscapes better habitat for birds, butterflies and pollinators.
Crossroads at Big Creek, Inc. does not discriminate in any programs or activities on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, religion, age disability, political beliefs, sexual orientation, or marital or family status. (adopted 2003)
Until further notice, the buildings at Crossroads at Big Creek are closed. But our trails are open and we encourage the community to use our preserves, as always, free of charge, for recreation, for learning and for the physical and mental health benefits of outdoor exercise. Please practice social distancing and respect our natural resources and each other.
Crossroads at Big Creek Learning Center and Nature Preserve is located at 2041 Michigan Street, Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin. Crossroads is a 501(c)3 organization committed to offering education, conducting research and providing outdoor experiences to inspire environmental stewardship in learners of all ages.