Crossroads at Big Creek has scheduled “A Walk with Aldo” for Saturday, March 5. In 2004, Gov. Jim Doyle signed legislation designating the first Saturday in March as Aldo Leopold Day in Wisconsin. At Crossroads at Big Creek, we started celebrating Aldo Leopold Day in 2007. We have continued the tradition to celebrate the life and legacy of Wisconsin’s premier conservationist, Aldo Leopold, and to use the day for re-dedication to Leopold’s concept of “land ethic.”
Last year, due to pandemic restrictions, we could not fill the lecture hall with a film premiere or hold a marathon reading of Leopold’s small book of essays, “A Sand County Almanac,” or even gather around the fireplace sipping hot apple cider, but we were determined to prevent the tradition from languishing. Instead, we invited the community to take “A Walk with Aldo” — to take a hike on a marked trail along which Leopold quotations were posted.
Again this year, we invite the community to “Walk with Aldo” anytime from 10:00 a.m. until dark on Saturday, March 5. A route will be marked with green ribbons. At intervals along the trail, quotations from Aldo Leopold’s writings will be posted. People are invited to walk alone, with a family, or with a group to ponder or perhaps, discuss these inspiring words. This year, we will add an indoor component, screening video documentaries featuring Door County environmentalists in the lecture hall of the Collins Learning Center.
At 2:00 p.m., we will show the Wisconsin Public Television documentary, “Emma Toft –At One with Nature.” This video tells of one of Door County’s environmental pioneers and her willingness to fight for and protect the land she loved.
The WPS program “Hometown Stories-Door County” contains several segments (some not aired in the WPS production) featuring Door County environmentalists. This program will be screened at 3:00 pm.
Recently, we distributed a list of twenty-five Aldo Leopold quotations to Crossroads staff, Board of Directors and volunteers who were asked to read and vote for the most inspiring. The quotes will posted along the trail on Aldo Leopold Day. Several already have been selected:
The first quotation guides our Board of Directors in its decision making: “Examine each question in terms of what is ethically and aesthetically right, as well as what is economically expedient. A thing is right when it tends to preserve the integrity, stability, and beauty of the biotic community. It is wrong when it tends otherwise.”
The second quote will sound remarkably familiar to the pre-school-aged children and their caretakers who repeat a pledge each week to be a friend of all of nature — the soils and the water, the plants and the animals.
“The land ethic simply enlarges the boundaries of the community to include soils, waters, plants, and animals, or collectively: the land.”
Crossroads’ mission is to inspire environmental stewardship in learners of all ages and all backgrounds. Another way to say this is that Crossroads’ reason for being is to instill a land ethic in the members of our community.
Aldo Leopold loved the land, he was involved in restoration (before it was a thing) and he also was a pioneer in environmental research. Plus, he loved to fish. I have to believe that if he were alive today, he would be fascinated by our Fish Tales Lecture Series, the Science of Fisheries Biology of the Great Lakes.
On Thursday, February 24, Dr. Cari-Ann Hayer, Program Manager of the Aquatic Invasive Species Detection and Monitoring Program for Lake Michigan for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, will present “Environmental DNA (eDNA) as a Tool to Detect the Arrival of Invasive Carps in the Lake Michigan Basin” IN PERSON in the Collins Learning Center. This program will also be presented via Zoom and Facebook Live. For a link, visit the Door County Library website.
Installation is underway on our North and Cedar Crossing bridges. As work progresses, short segments of the Creek Trail and Forest Trail will be closed. This leaves many miles of trails on which to snowshoe, hike, ski, and explore. Our ski trails all are open and will be groomed whenever we have adequate snow.
We appreciate visitors’ patience as this project progresses. We also appreciate financial contributions to fund the replacement of our Pike’s Passage Bridge. Donations to the bridge projects can be made online at crossroadsatbigcreek.org or by sending a check to Crossroads at Big Creek, P.O. Box 608, Sturgeon Bay, WI, 54235.
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 and from all backgrounds. Masks are recommended inside buildings.