John Workman wrote this appreciation in 2008 as part of the celebration honoring Stiles and Lillian Thomas' contributions to the Celery Farm. He has allowed to me reprint it here for Thanksgiving. Thanks, John!
The Celery Farm is one hundred and seven acres small. It doesn’t get the thumping, eye-popping natural spectacles seen on the coast, or in the high mountains, or out on the plains of other nature preserves.
You won’t see Snow Geese by the thousands here, or sandpipers by the tens of thousands. No bison or caribou blacken "The Farm's" open spaces. Unless you have a big imagination.
But you might (like Stiles and Charlie) see a Peregrine Falcon swoop in and take a Green-winged Teal on the wing. Right in front of you. Only a few yards away.
Or you might (like Judy) be lucky enough to see scores of Common Nighthawks whipping silently and suddenly through the fall marsh air.
You might (like my son) see your first-ever American Bittern, surrounded by this species' symbiotic partners: the photographers.
Or watch a Woodcock launch into his evening courtship flight, a high spiral which concludes with a free-fall landing. (Many courtship attempts, successful and not, end that way.)
You will in fact see small wonders, like Jewelweed or Marsh Pennywort. And perhaps you'll even DO wonders -- like walking on the water after six days of January's bone-snapping cold, and watch (directly beneath your boots) a large snapping turtle swim slowly, in the barely still-liquid solvent.
In the spring, you can easily observe warblers of blue, green, and yellow. And maybe even happen upon an orange carp as it performs a splashing, labored lift-off from the lake, then turns its head straight into the wind, and flys up, up, and over the tree-line – all while carrying an Osprey on its back.
All this is possible to see at the Celery Farm. And will continue to be seen there -- within a mere one hundred and seven small acres – thanks to Lillian and Stiles. Who have been involved and committed, and who have inspired so many of their friends and neighbors to join them.
(Thanks, John -- and thanks, Stiles and Sis!!)