Category: Nature

  • Crossroads Hosts Night of Wonder Dec. 6

    The holidays will be different at Crossroads at Big Creek this year. Although the Learning Center is closed, the community is invited to a socially distanced Crossroads Night of Wonder on Dec. 6, 4:30-6:30 pm. One by one, individuals or family units may hike candlelit portions of the Meadow and Creek Trails. Luminarias will guide […]

  • Wild Things: Nearly Perfect Opening-Weekend Weather a Boost to Deer Hunt

    10-day muzzleloader season is up next What a difference a year makes. Disgruntled hunters lambasted Department of Natural Resources (DNR) wildlife staff last fall after a triple whammy produced the fewest gun deer whitetails since 1981. The latest possible gun deer opener in 2019 meant the rut was largely over; strong winds affected movement; and […]

  • Hike This: Sturgeon Bay Ship Canal Nature Preserve

    If you’re in Sturgeon Bay, you really don’t have to go far to find an ecologically diverse area to hike. Head over to the Sturgeon Bay Ship Canal Nature Preserve – located within the city limits – to discover a diverse landscape of sand dunes, lush forest, ancient shorelines, a creek, wetlands and views of […]

  • Restoration Finishes at Riverview ATV Park

    The Kewaunee County Land and Water Conservation Department and the Kewaunee County Promotions and Recreation Department have finished restoration work at Riverview ATV Park to address water quality, erosion and habitat improvement. Federal, state and community partners who worked to construct a pollinator buffer and wetland basins helped to make this initiative possible. The restoration […]

  • Door to Nature: Bittersweet Vines with Colorful Fruit

    The drab landscape colors – now that strong winds have blown most of the colorful leaves off the deciduous trees – might have a few bright spots where bittersweet berries remain on clinging vines. There are two species of these colorful, fruiting vines that grow along fencerows, woodland edges and river banks. American or climbing bittersweet, native […]

  • Wild Things: Hunters Hope Rain Holds Off for Annual Gun Deer Opener

    As if 2020 hasn’t had enough bad news, forecasters have predicted the possibility of more than an inch of rain during the opening weekend of the gun deer hunting season. No matter the weather, thousands of hunters will take a break from the almost nonstop noise about politics, COVID-19 and the latest gossip about celebrities […]

  • Hike This: Hiking during Hunting Season

    We are now in the thick of hunting season: The popular gun deer hunting season runs Nov. 21-29, but varieties of small-game hunting take place well into the winter months. This means that many hiking areas with public access will be hunting grounds for the next few months, so when you’re visiting them, it’s smart […]

  • Get Outside at Crossroads at Big Creek

    Crossroads at Big Creek ( is doing its part to help stop the community spread of the coronavirus by offering virtual programs or individualized outdoor experiences only.  Until further notice, the Crossroads buildings are closed, but the restrooms, trails and kayak launch are open daily. The community is encouraged to visit the preserves for recreation, […]

  • Wild Things: It’s the Final Countdown: Gun Deer Opener Is Nov. 21

    If ever there was a year to escape to the outdoors, this is it. COVID-19 and political bickering have tarnished 2020, filling the airwaves and social-media feeds with conflicting and misleading information. There’s no escape. Or is there? Some of the best social distancing on the planet is taking place in fields and forests up […]

  • Hike This: Ellison Bluff County Park

    Photos by Aleah Kidd Although Ellison Bluff County Park is on the shoreline of Green Bay just south of Ellison Bay, there’s no access to the water because the bluffs facing the lake soar 100 feet high. There is, however, a wonderful lookout and picnic area complete with a stairway that takes visitors to the […]

  • Wild Things: Peninsula, State Deer Kill Up More Than 20 Percent

    Wisconsin’s blaze-orange army of 600,000 or so gun hunters has only two short weeks to prepare for the 2020 opener, set for Nov. 21. After a sub-par, nine-day November gun deer harvest last season – much of it blamed on the latest possible opener and less-than-ideal conditions – whitetail fanatics are hoping the gun hunt […]

  • Door to Nature: Invaders from the North

    Every autumn, I watch for the winter finch prediction that’s sent to the subscribers of Wisconsin’s email birders’ group. The forecast this year was rather bleak, with not many of the sought-after migrants expected to arrive here this winter. When natural food supplies such as conifer cones and deciduous tree seeds are in short supply […]

  • Crossroads Hosts Seed Collection, Astronomy Presentation

    Join Wild Ones on Nov. 7, 10:30 am, for a seed-collecting workshop. Learn the basics, receive supplies, then go into the meadow to collect milkweed and other wildflower seeds. Social distancing will be observed, and participants should wear a mask and sturdy shoes and dress for the weather. Meet at the rock garden in front […]

  • Once in a Blue Moon

    This year, the lunar event coincides with Halloween by Coggin Heeringa, Program Director, Crossroads at Big Creek In 2020, there will be a full moon on Halloween, and because it’s the second full moon during October, some people call it a “blue moon.” This usually (but not always) happens every 19 years, or “once in […]

  • Wild Things: Deer Hunters Can Assist in CWD Monitoring Effort

    Whitetail hunters in northeastern Wisconsin have an opportunity to help with chronic wasting disease (CWD) surveillance this season. Although the fatal whitetail disease has not been found in Door or Kewaunee counties, the DNR – in cooperation with local businesses and sporting groups – is collecting deer heads to test across the state. Locally, self-service […]

  • Hike This: Mink River Estuary State Natural Area, Part 2

    I recently wrote about a hike – the Schoenbrunn Trail – on the northern side of the estuary. This week, I’m highlighting the trails south of the estuary, which are accessible by two trailheads on Mink River Road in Ellison Bay.  This is a hiking area I had never visited before. The trailheads are rather inconspicuous, and […]

  • Door to Nature: Tiny, Colorful Fungi

    While enjoying a hike with some friends recently, I photographed a seldom-seen mushroom. It’s commonly called the blue-stainer, or Chlorociboria (klor-o-sy-BOR-ee-a) aeruginascens (a-roo-jin-ESS-ens). Most often, all that’s visible is well-decayed pieces of wood with the blue stain in them, but not the actual mushroom. This group of fungi in the Peziza family is usually cup […]

  • Wild Things: Early Bow, Crossbow Whitetail Harvest Up Significantly

    A booming deer herd in farm country, decent autumn weather and more hunters afield have all led to a significant increase in the early whitetail harvest, both statewide and locally. Through the first month of the 2020 seasons, Wisconsin hunters have registered more than 35,000 deer: roughly a 33 percent increase over the same period […]

  • Crossroads at Big Creek Receives Three Grants

    Crossroads at Big Creek has recently received a combined $276,000 from three state and federal grants to fund its project called Estuary at Big Creek: Transforming an “Ideal Place for a Gas Station” into a Restored, Reinvigorated Wildlife Habitat.  Crossroads has been granted $189,000 from Sustain Our Great Lakes to be used over four years. […]

  • Potential Limestone Quarry Flagged for Endangered Species

    Meanwhile, neighboring residents want the project stopped even though the town has no land-use zoning that would allow them to do so A limestone quarry intended for the Town of Gardner has been flagged by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) for having endangered and threatened resource concerns. BJ Brenneke, DNR stormwater intake specialist, […]