By Coggin Heeringa, Interpretive Naturalist, Crossroads at Big Creek, Inc.
Labor Day has become the traditional, though often not the meteorological, last day of summer. It became a holiday in 1882 to celebrate the success of the labor movement; over the years it has become a special day to honor American workers. So at Crossroads at Big Creek, we will honor the hundreds of people who, over the centuries, have labored at Crossroads’ Big Creek and Ida Bay Preserves.
During Labor Day Weekend – Friday, Saturday, and Sunday afternoon from 1:00 to 3:30 p.m. – the Hanson House (2200 Utah Street) will be open for tours and for an activity we are calling “Labor Day Reminiscences.”
If local legend serves, for generations, on holiday weekends, family and neighbors gathered at the Homestead. We can’t imagine that folks did not sometimes sit around a kitchen table and reminisce about the past.
We are inviting the community to visit the Hanson House and, if they’d like, sit around the kitchen table. While enjoying a glass of lemonade, they can chat about the people who have labored at Crossroads – stone tool makers, pottery makers, fishers, gardeners, loggers, farmers, orchardists, conservationists, Christmas tree and strawberry growers, stable hands, construction workers, archaeologists, restorationists and educators.
We have an ulterior motive for our reminiscence activity. We are hoping that people who have worked at what now is our Big Creek Preserve, or who knew the people who lived here, or boarded horses here, or picked fruit, caught fish or helped build our buildings will share their memories. Or even better, give us contact information so we can arrange to record oral histories.
We want to offer a grateful shout-out to one particular group of workers – the barn volunteers and the construction crew from Carlson Erickson Builders – who are revitalizing an historic barn, turning it into a field station for research and education.
Whether you have memories to share or not, all are welcome. House tours are free of charge.
On the actual Labor Day, the last day of summer, we will offer a 3:00 p.m. hike at our Ida Bay Preserve, and each hiker will receive a map/brochure that tells the stories of the people who lived and labored at Ida Bay. And perhaps, fingers crossed, hikers will witness a butterfly and bird migration.
Speaking of migration, on Tuesday at 6:30 p.m., Bird Club will meet at the Collins Learning Center, and, if weather permits, the group will visit the Cove Estuary Preserve. Anyone interested in birds – from novice to fanatic – is welcome and should bring binoculars and a cell phone, if possible. Free and open to the public. Meet at the Collins Learning Center, 2041 Michigan St., Sturgeon Bay.
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.