American anthropologist, educator, philosopher, and natural science writer, Loren Eiseley believed that, “If there is magic on the planet, it is contained in the water.” Eiseley is known for his writing and teaching during the 1940’s to 1970’s. Believing magic is contained in the water is one of the best reasons to celebrate water. Another one of Eiseley’s well known essays written in 1969 is the starfish story. The story became famous among motivational speakers and was turned into a children’s DVD and book. The story shows how one person can make a difference, if only by throwing one starfish at a time back to the sea to live. Making a difference is a vital point of Celebrate Water. The Sturgeon Bay Visitor Center is one of many along the peninsula helping tourists discover the county. Sturgeon Bay is host to three lighthouses, three bridges, and three bodies of water where celebrating water is a daily occurrence. As a tourist area surrounded by water, it is imperative to protect the economic livelihood of the county and the health of visitors and residents. Taking advantage of the charming water setting, the Harmony by the Bay concert series presents a variety of musical entertainment on Wednesdays at 7 pm in Martin Park from July 11 through August 23.
The best time to view the lighthouses of Sturgeon Bay and others in Door County is during the the Lighthouse Festival during the second weekend in June. Maritime Week, which runs August 4 – 12, celebrates the rich maritime history of Sturgeon Bay by honoring the Coast Guard and its dedicated personnel and providing opportunities to learn about Sturgeon Bay’s working waterfront and promoting family fun. Boat parades, races, movies, and concerts are some of the activities that acknowledge and celebrate the importance of water to Sturgeon Bay. For more information on events in Sturgeon Bay, visit sturgeonbay.net.
The Door Community Auditorium (DCA), according to its mission statement, provides a focus “to enrich, entertain, and challenge through a balanced combination of performing, visual, and literary arts; and to provide opportunities for social, educational, and cultural growth.” The Main Stage Season is during the height of the summer tourist season, although the space is also utilized through the year with community partnerships, lectures, performing artists, exhibits, and free movies. The DCA is a year-round center for education, fun, and entertainment. As part of the Celebrate Water initiative, the DCA is showcasing a Door County student art exhibit on celebrating water.
Cari Lewis, Executive Director, states that the Link Gallery of the DCA is one of the first exhibit spaces dedicated to the showing of artwork that portrays the world through the eyes of children. This summer’s exhibition is entitled, “Wonderful Water; The Door County Water Effect,” illustrating the meaning of water to the children of Door County through a variety of media and personal artistic statements. For more information visit dcauditorium.org.
The Ridges is a nature sanctuary founded in 1937, becoming Wisconsin’s first land trust. Originally founded to preserve a 30 acre parcel, it now includes 1600 acres located in a rich, natural setting in the Baileys Harbor community. It preserves and protects a biologically diverse ecosystem formed 1100 years ago through educational programming, outreach and research. Throughout the year it offers a variety of programs for children, adults and families. Due to its unique location and geographical structure, The Ridges has received recognition as a Wisconsin State Natural Area, a National Natural Landmark by the National Park Service, a National Audubon Important Bird Area and a Wisconsin Wetland Gem. Being known as a wetland gem, (terrain of saturated soil year-round) makes it a natural for partnering with Celebrate Water.
During July and August The Ridges celebrates the waters of Door County on Thursday nights at 7 pm through a variety of free water themed programs. Katie Krouse, Program Coordinator, states, “The Ridges is a special place, and it is important for us to share our message with our community…We rely on the waters that surround us, and it is important for us to stand together to protect and preserve the resource we all rely on.” The final July program on the 26th focuses on “Effective communication in the face of skepticism: Climate Change.” August topics will include whitefish management, Door County inland lakes, and freshwater mussels. For more information on The Ridges, visit ridgessanctuary.org.
Working together each organization and individual can contribute to making a difference. Whether it is learning to effectively discuss climate change or throwing back a single starfish, what we do matters. As Loren Eiseley believed, there is magic in water. Nature is magical. Let’s celebrate water – and celebrate the the beauty of Door County. It really matters!
By volunteer writer Lynn Herman. Herman is a retired Gibraltar teacher and former school board member.