SCREECH OWLS: The ultimate video


    Allendale is having a picnic honoring its long-time marsh warden and his wife with "Stiles and Lillian Thomas Day" on Saturday, Sept. 13, and the public is invited.
       The event, to celebrate Thomas' 25th year as the volunteer in charge of of the borough's Celery Farm Natural Area, will feature a picnic and free guided walks of the 107-acre refuge. The event also celebrates all the contributions of his wife, Lillian.

If you are planning to attend, please click "Continue reading ..." below for crucial details about the picnic.

The hour-long guided walks  begin at 9 a.m., 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. at the Franklin Turnpike parking lot.
    The picnic will begin at 5:30 p.m. on Sept. 13 at the Red Barn at Crescent Lake on Crescent Avenue. Brief speeches by Allendale  Mayor Vince  Barra and other notables will begin at 7 p.m. Stiles Thomas will then offer his rebuttal.
To keep the picnic simple, those who attend are asked to bring their own food and beverages .(Note: No glass containers will be allowed).
    Fyke Nature Association is supplying the live music (a bluegrass band), a cake for dessert, as well as tablecloths, cups, plates, knives, forks and spoons for the picnic. 
     Picnic tables will be available on a first-come, first-served basis. Attendees should bring their own table and chairs in case of a large turnout.
    The event will be held rain or shine.
     Those who attend will be able to write down their thoughts about Stiles and Lillian, and the pages will be made into a commemorative scrapbook. If you can't make the picnic but would like to share your thoughts, send them to Jim Wright, 498 Franklin Turnpike, Allendale, NJ 07401.
     Thomas, who played a key role in preserving the refuge – the site of vegetable farms in the early to mid-1900s – has been the Celery Farm's first and only marsh warden. Lillian is one of the mainstays who tend to the natural area's butterfly garden every week throughout the warmer months and has served on town boards and done yeoman volunteer work for decades.. 
    The natural area was 70 acres back in 1983, when the borough council voted to name Stiles Thomas the nation's first marsh warden. Since them Stiles and Lillian have worked tirelessly to expand and protect this borough jewel.
    The day's events will be run by the Fyke Nature Association, the local birding group whose volunteers help maintain the refuge and its wildlife viewing platforms and more than a mile's worth of trails.
     Beautiful 2009 Celery Farm calendars, a major fund-raiser for the group, will also be for sale that day.
     To acquaint Allendalers  with the natural area, located next to the Franklin Turnpike just north of Cottage Place, Fyke will lead guided walks through the Celery Farm in the morning and afternoon on Sept. 13.
    The refuge is home to dozens of species of birds, and more than 250 species have been seen there over the years. Raccoons, muskrats, foxes and deer live there as well.
    For more information or to say you plan to attend, call Pat Finn and Jim Wright at 201-760-0804. Information is also posted on the Celery Farm blog -