By Coggin Heeringa by Interpretive Naturalist, Crossroads at Big Creek, Inc.
“Where Waters Meet” is the 2023 educational theme of Crossroads at Big Creek. The phrase describes our preserve, where the waters of the Big Creek Watershed flow into The Cove Estuary, which in turn exchanges water with the Bay of Sturgeon Bay. Waters meet.
But other waters meet at Crossroads … and, actually, at most of the land above the Silurian Aquifer. Unlike many other regions where the distinction between ground water and surface water is relatively clear, here the distinction is muddy at best.
At Crossroads, we can observe numerous places where ground water seeps into our creek and estuary. But the reverse also is true. The creek and our wetlands can be brimming with water after a heavy rain, but it rapidly drains through the shallow soil into the fractured bedrock below. During the dry spells this past summer, Big Creek would be running in places, then disappear; later and downstream, water returned to the surface.
This surface water/ ground water issue will be the topic when the Door County Environmental Council offers the program, “Why is the Silurian Dolomite Aquifer So Vulnerable to Contamination?” with speaker Dr. Maureen Muldoon. This free program will take place at the Collins Learning Center on September 13, at 7:00 p.m., either in person or on Zoom. A link can be found at www.dcec-wi.org.
Dr. Muldoon is a licensed professional geologist and hydrologist in Wisconsin. She will be talking about the hydrogeology of Door County’s Silurian dolomite aquifer and explaining what the implications are for water quality. Muldoon will discuss the impact of manure spreading in Kewaunee County, recent research from a site in southern Door County, and share an update on the airborne electromagnetic (AEM) survey, which shows soil depth to bedrock.
Waters also meet at the area we now call the Hanson Homestead, for at this place, water from Big Creek flows into The Cove Estuary. For at least two thousand years, people have lived, at least seasonally, in this resource-rich area, and in the 1850s, Hans and Bertha Hanson built a snug two-room log home at this place. Until mid-October, on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays, from 2:30-4:30 p.m., the Hans and Bertha Hanson House will be open to the public.
The barn near the home is currently undergoing major renovations. Crossroads is re-purposing the barn to be a research field station, but though we are reinforcing the structure, Crossroads volunteers and the construction team from Carlson Erickson are making every effort to retain the historical, and admittedly quirky construction character of the barn exterior.
Folks stopping by will enjoy watching the progress, but we ask that visitors park across Utah Street in The Cove Preserve parking area so as not to damage construction materials, impede progress or detract from the historical character of the area. We appreciate the cooperation.
With the excitement garnered by the new telescope at the Leif Everson Observatory and the Dark Sky Park at Newport, interest in astronomy is skyrocketing on the Peninsula, and a number of community members are exploring the possibility of purchasing a telescope. This month, at the meeting of the Door Peninsula Astronomical Society (DPAS), Steve Hellman will offer the program, “Introduction to Telescopes.” If the sky is clear, the meeting will end with naked-eye and telescope viewing. The program is free and open to the public. Meet at the Stonecipher Astronomy Center, 2200 Utah Street, Sturgeon Bay. All are welcome at this free meeting.
Crossroads at Big Creek Learning Center and Nature Preserve is located at 2041 Michigan Street, Sturgeon Bay. Crossroads is a 501(c)3 organization committed to offering education, conducting research and land restoration, and providing outdoor experiences to inspire environmental stewardship in learners of all ages and from all backgrounds. We welcome your support.