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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.

  • Earth Day was first celebrated in 1970 and was organized to raise awareness of environmental issues, and indeed it did. Earth Day also inspired a number of musical compositions including the lovely “Rejoice in the Sun” sung by Joan Baez.
  • Woodland wildflowers seem to magically pop up after April showers, but May flowers — their buds, their leaves, their minimized stems —were formed during the previous growing season.
  • The month of April will arrive no matter what but will the lyrics of the Simon and Garfunkel song dictate how wet April will be, or how dry the coming months might end up?
  • Which came first: the chicken or the egg? In this case, the egg. But, how does it become a chicken?
  • In many ancient cultures, palm branches held symbolic meaning. Still today, they are given out in Christian Palm Sunday services.
  • For aspen trees, the wearing of the green is a survival strategy.The greenish tone of aspen bark, appears around St. Patrick’s day indicates the presence of chlorophyll in the bark, meaning they photosynthesize through their bark instead of leaves.
  • Environmentalist Aldo Leopold painted the natural world with words, changing the course of environmental stewardship forever.
  • A major plot line of the Gilbert and Sullivan operetta "The Pirates of Penzance" is based on the phenomenon of Leap Year, potentially delaying the protagonist's chance to marry his chosen mate. But how do members of the natural world get to select their partners?
  • To resist temptations for "forty days and forty nights" is a long time. The question is, do animals experience temptation?
  • Researchers believe that some large birds stay together until one of the pair dies. And some birds seem to reunite with the same mate each year. Is it undying love? Or just biological duty?