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Coggin Heeringa

Coggin Heeringa

Outdoors with Coggin Heeringa

Coggin Heeringa is the Program Director and Naturalist at Crossroads at Big Creek Learning Center/Nature Preserve in Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin, where she served as Executive Director for twenty years.

Heeringa has ten years of classroom teaching experience and was an adjunct instructor for the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay. She also served as the naturalist at Newport State Park in Ellison Bay, Wisconsin.

She is a frequent contributor to print and broadcast media as well as a public speaker.

Heeringa has been the instructor of environmental studies at the Walter E. Hastings Nature Museum at Interlochen Arts Camp since 1971.

  • Because the Earth is slightly tilted on its axis, we have warm seasons and cold seasons that result in fluctuations of soil moisture, evaporation rates, river flows, lake levels, and snow cover. Solveig, the loyal woman who loved Peer Gynt, waited season after season for his return from a long journey.
  • The days grow shorter when we reach September, but instead of slowing down and enjoying romance, most wildlife creatures are in a frenzy of preparation for the coming seasons.
  • In late summer and early fall, groups of non-breeding loons that gather. Perhaps they couldn't find a territory or attract a mate. Maybe they lost their mates. They are the lovelorn loons, still carrying on, dancing on the water and singing to the moon.
  • Back in Shakespearean times, when Juliet told Romeo that "A rose by any other name would smell as sweet," it was probably true. In today’s world of hybrids, plant patents and name trademarks, a rose with a new name probably won’t smell all that sweet, if it has any fragrance at all.
  • Most states hold a state fair at the end of August or the beginning of September. But "it might as well be spring," both for the starry-eyed female protagonist in Rogers and Hammerstein's 1945 movie musical, "State Fair" as well as a few species of late-blooming flowers.
  • The root a of wild carrot, now known as Queen Anne’s Lace, is waxy, white and slender. The long, plump carrots we know and love were developed by plant breeders in the Netherlands in the 16th century.
  • The hours just before dawn are probably the best time for meteor watching and August 12th and 13th are supposed to be the peak. But any clear dark night during the next week or so, you may catch a glimpse of a falling star.
  • Hearing Liszt's Les Préludes evokes a certain restlessness to those of us who migrate to this special place between the lakes each summer. It means it’s almost time to leave.
  • Trees protect against soil erosion and reduce the volume of soil particles and phosphorus that otherwise would be washed into bodies of water.
  • Nature is filled with generous relationships — and so is public radio.