Crossroads at Big Creek is part of the “messy garden movement.” Messiness supports their 2017 educational theme, “Location, Location, Location,” which focuses on wildlife habitats. Crossroads never cleans up the landscaping at Collins Learning Center until true spring.
In “The Native Plant Herald,” the blog of Prairie Nursery, Neil Diboll, who will be the guest speaker at a Wild Ones program at Crossroads Nov. 16, wrote, “Creating a positive ecological impact in your garden can be as easy as letting go of excessive fall clean-up.
“We’ve all done it…prepared the garden for winter. Cut down, hauled off, raked clean or burned every bit of dead plant material in sight. Applying a rigorous cleaning at the end of the season is still commonplace, but it’s important to know that scraping the yard clean to make it ‘ready for winter’ impacts the lives of countless garden occupants – butterflies, moths, bees, toads and others – whose home and plant-centric existence are at the mercy of our industriousness.”
Crossroads’ messy Bird and Butterfly Garden supports a complete food web. Pollinators, such as native bees and butterflies, overwinter in dead plant material. Frogs and toads burrow in the loose soil. Small mammals depend on seeds and they, in turn, attract predators like foxes and birds of prey. When snow starts falling on a messy garden, supported by dead plants, the snow forms an insulating blanket for the plants and animals living below.
On Nov. 7 at 7 pm, stargazers and amateur astronomers will gather at Stonecipher Astronomy Center at Crossroads for the November Door Peninsula Astronomical Society meeting. Society President Gary Henkelmann will present the monthly mini program, “Basics in Astronomy,” discussing types of viewing targets. The lecture “Processing Images” will be presented by Dave Lenius. Visitors are encouraged.
The Collins Learning Center at Crossroads, located at 2041 Michigan Street, is open 2 – 4:30 pm daily and during scheduled events. The preserves and restrooms are open 24/7, free of charge.