Door County Festival of Nature Highlights Hidden Gems

‘Peninsula Pulse’ and ‘Door County Living’ photographer Len Villano will teach two photography workshops during the festival – one for advanced photographers and another for novice photographers.

A dozen years ago, a group of hikers would visit The Ridges Sanctuary in the springtime to look at the wildflowers. “It started as Wildflower Pilgrimage,” says Brian Forest, education & land management specialist at The Ridges, “now it’s really grown to quite an event.”

That’s an understatement.

This year The Ridges Sanctuary, along with the Crossroads at Big Creek, Door County Land Trust, Nature Conservancy, and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, present the 12th annual Door County Festival of Nature, a three-day event featuring forty-two different outings spread out all over the county.

“There are 42 different experiences,” says Forest. From hiking the Ahnapee Trail to birding on Washington Island, fishing Lake Michigan to touring Waseda Farms, identifying flowers at The Ridges to climbing the Ellison Bay bluffs, the festival truly has something for everyone.

Outings are led by local volunteers – biologists, birders, geologists, botanists, photographers, and those simply interested in the natural beauty of the county.

“This is a great way to get out and see little hidden gems around the county,” says Forest, who notes that the festival will include hikes and tours of public and private land. “There is great representation of all the natural resources we enjoy – water, plants, birds, geology.”

Photo by Len Villano.

This year the festival includes a few new outings – though some have already reached capacity, including the trip to Plum Island. “We opened registration on April 1 at midnight,” recalls Forest. “People set their alarms to get up and register online – the Plum Island trip was full by the time we came into work at 8 am.”

The festival also features a few indoor events including the “Nature Trivia Challenge” on May 22; the festival dinner and keynote presentation on May 23 featuring speaker Pam Foster Felt, presenting “Where Would Stewardship Be Without Door County”; and a barn dance and social on May 24.

“There is something for everyone,” repeats Forest.

Again, that’s an understatement.

For more information about Door County Festival of Nature, visit, call 920.839.2802, or email [email protected].

Walk-in registration will take place at the Baileys Harbor Town Hall on May 22 from 5 – 8 pm, May 23 from 8 am – 1:30 pm, 5 – 9 pm, and May 24 from 8 – 9:30 am.