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Ask a Local: Emily Wood Executive Director, Door County Land Trust


Emily Wood, a lifelong horticulturist and biologist, recently moved to Door County to help protect our unique eco-region as executive director at the Door County Land Trust. She explains that negative behavior on land, such as using excessive fertilizer, pollutes the earth below and feeds into neighboring waters. In fact, one-third of the country’s flora and fauna are at risk of extinction. 

That’s why nonprofit environmental organizations, like the Door County Land Trust, are so important for protecting and preserving nature’s beauty, especially since this area has more miles of shoreline and more rare plants and animals than any other county in the state. 

Hundreds of volunteers led by Land Trust employees steward this habitat essential to the health of native species, and visitors are encouraged to join the group’s “Explore the Door” guided hikes with expert conservationists. Residents can also get involved by donating their property to the trust, ensuring that precious land is protected indefinitely. 

We asked Emily about her experiences in Door County. She shares the places she likes to go and the things she likes to do to inspire you on your vacation to the peninsula and islands.

Q. As a newcomer, describe the community of Door County.

A. The people here are very friendly, welcoming, and full of local pride. They’re quick to recommend great places to eat and give me insider tips and tricks, like the timing of the Sturgeon Bay Drawbridge.

Q. Name a memorable wildlife experience.
A.  I’m an avid bird-watcher, so recently I got to see a handful of Caspian terns playing and fishing on the shore at Baileys Harbor. Numbers have gone down because of the avian flu, so it was really special to see them.

Q. What do you like to do on weekends?
A. I like exploring and hiking, especially at Legacy Nature Preserve at Clay Banks, which starts on a bluff and offers outstanding views of Lake Michigan. Sturgeon Bay Ship Canal Nature Preserve has ancient beach ridges and an abundance of biodiversity.

Q. Which restaurant has become your favorite since moving here?
A.  Get Real Café has a great farm-to-table focus. I’m looking forward to exploring Washington Island and joining the Bitters Club at historic Nelsen’s Hall

Q. What do you like to do in the summer?
A. Grab beer and pizza from Wild Tomato and sit under the stars to watch a performance at Northern Sky Theater’s amphitheater at Peninsula State Park. Hearing local stories told under towering pines is a can’t-miss experience.

Q. What do you like to do in the winter?
A. I want to get into cross-country skiing and tag along with my coworkers to go ice fishing. I also like to birdwatch in winter. It’s amazing to watch birds of prey dive down in the snow to hunt.

Before you venture out to explore Door County, take a minute to learn how to explore responsibly and leave no trace.

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