Sturgeon Bay, Wis. (April 7, 2023) – At Crossroads at Big Creek, we will celebrate the upcoming International Dark Sky Week with lectures about fish migration, fruit production, soil science, and beekeeping. We also will be involved with community science initiatives including inventorying birds and suckers and using acoustic monitoring to document breeding frogs, bats and birds.
Obviously, our friends in the Door Peninsula Astronomical Society are advocates for dark skies. And, clearly, our dark skies make the Door Peninsula a desirable tourist destination. Our friends in the climate change movement are no doubt appalled by the enormous waste of energy resulting from unneeded artificial night lighting. And most people have heard about baby sea turtles and high-rise window-kills of migrating songbirds.
But fisheries biologists, agricultural researchers, beekeepers, and Crossroads? Really?
Really. Emerging research is strongly suggesting that outdoor night lighting is impacting (almost always negatively) plants and wildlife.
Researchers in Washington State have documented evidence that artificial night light affects fish behavior, breeding and predator avoidance.
In Switzerland, a researcher counted the insects that visited flowers with no artificial light. When she added light, pollination declined by 62 percent. The supposition is that either moths avoid well-lit areas or are fatally attracted to light.
This shouldn’t be surprising. We’ve all seen moths and other insects flying around light sources at night. Some collide and die instantly; others are so exhausted from flying in circles, they also perish. Even the survivors waste precious time of their short adult lives that could be spent pollinating flowers.
We also know that frogs breed and bats hunt at twilight … and twilight is truncated in excessively lit areas.
The topic for our April 15 Saturday Science program will be “Dark Skies and Wildlife.” Participants will share videos, nature games, enjoy a make-and-take craft, and celebrate the first official day of International Dark Sky Week. This drop-in event is from 2 – 4 p.m. and is free and open to the public.On Wednesday, April 19, at 6:30 p.m., Mark Lentz will present the program “Equipment for Keeping Bees” for the April meeting of the Door County Beekeepers Club. Visitors are encouraged to attend this meeting in the upper level of the Collins Learning Center.
Crossroads at Big Creek Learning Center and Nature Preserve is located at 2041 Michigan. Crossroads is a 501(c)(3) organization committed to offering education, conducting research and restoration, and providing outdoor experiences to inspire environmental stewardship in learners of all ages and from all backgrounds. We welcome your support! Become a member of Crossroads by mailing a contribution to P.O. Box 608, Sturgeon Bay, WI 54235, or donate online at crossroadsatbigcreek.org.