The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, July 14, 2006


Fairweather wins Conservationist Award at Old Home Day

John Lee displays the Conservationist Award presented to environmentalist extraordinaire Kay Fairweather. (Photo by Mollie McPhee Ho)

What: On a recent perambulation through the lovely rurality of Carlisle, I recently happened upon a treasure of heretofore unknown identity. I was instantly, and much to my surprise, able to identify it as an ardent conservationist (although of a unique sort), bi-pedal, of up-right stature though curiously attached by a string to a rather gregarious quadruped. In my usual hurry to get on with things, I did not fully identify whatever it was at the time. However, when I next encountered the leashed duo, I hurried home to seek its identity. I looked in Peterson, Audubon, everywhere. But, alas, I was unable to identify this lovely and energetic pair.

The quadruped looked like Chewbacca, small, brown and sort of shaggy, short legged, long in the torso and good company. The accompaniment was tall, lithe, brisk of gait and of unusual curiosity. I presumed that this one must be the female of the species because the two ends of the leash seemed to have an unusual complementarity. Not being as keen of eyesight as I would like to be and finally being able to get close enough to the object of my inquiry, I decided that the four-legged number must be some sort of dog attached to a human. Eureka!

Identifying characteristics: As it turns out, this was not the garden variety human. Though not an invasive, she is a relatively recent transplant and seems to thrive in our somewhat rarified atmosphere. She has a particular predilection for fungi, seems to be incurably cheerful, out-going and colorful.

One fine day, I was able to track her back to her lair and there discovered one of the essential identifiers: a love of diversity — bio-diversity. Her home turf is equally unusual. Not content with the usual sunny or shady (or in-between) sort of managed environment, my subject had created a plethora of micro-climates in order to be hospitable to as diverse a variety of flora and fauna as possible.

What to look for: Should you also be so lucky as to meet this lady, be prepared to be drawn into her orbit. Witty, wordy, charming and knowledgeable do not do her nearly weekly columns in the Mosquito justice. It is also in no small measure thanks to her that the rest of us have enjoyed Bio-diversity weekends as well. A heretofore unknown identifier is her propensity to wax poetic. She has kept copious journals full of her observations and musings on the peculiarities of life. She has developed a recent fondness for an occasional bit of Ferlinghetti (and, no, that is not a wild mushroom omelet!). She will read or recite poetry when properly fed or besought. Her friends praise her for her curiosity and her candor. If you are given to daylight rambles in the town's conservation lands, you also may be lucky enough to spy Kay Fairweather poking about with her dog and camera collecting tidbits for the next Biodiversity Corner for all of us to enjoy. She is indeed a rare and colorful bird!

2006 The Carlisle Mosquito