The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, July 2, 2010


Tricia Smith is Conservationist of the Year

Tricia Smith accepts her award from John Lee. (Photo by Rik Pierce)

This year it gives me particular pleasure to present the Conservationist of the Year Award to a most deserving individual who heretofore has been ineligible but most deserving of our grateful recognition for services to the Town of Carlisle and its conservation interests.

This year’s awardee has arguably been one of the mainstays of the ConsCom for at least twelve years (albeit with a slight hiatus between bouts of service) and during that time has provided the commission with an insightfulness that has brought clarity and resolution, pragmatism and thoughtful analysis to every significant project that has come before the commission during her tenure.

She has stared down arrogant engineers and high-handed or short-sighted home-owners, struck fear into the hearts of corner-cutting developers and kept her fellow commissioners on the straight and narrow all the while. And they have followed her lead like kids.

Unfortunately, our awardee is in the throes of leaving town and with her goes a person of passion who also has an engineer’s clarity of vision, comprehension of and patience with detail and the understanding that the final product should be a work of art and without regret. No slap-dash, let’s-get-this-over-with business. Rather, consider all the details, do it right the first time and end up with something Carlisle can be proud of. She would leave no calculation unchecked, no stone unturned, no consideration or alternative plan unconsidered.

She has brought beauty to functionality, precision to muddled thinking and elegance to everything she has given a thought to. All this while advocating fair, reasonable and appropriate application of the responsibilities of the Conservation Commission under the Act and the Carlisle Wetlands Protection By-law.

In this world, it is extremely rare to meet a person who is at once mechanically sensitive and adept (i.e. can read and, more importantly, understand the plan) and at the same time someone who is completely tuned in to nature, natural cycles, the vagaries of the genome and the complications that may arise therefrom. She would probably tell you that the two personality types are not so different. One need only to look carefully at what the engineers of the natural world and the civil engineers of the mechanical world are showing you and get into their heads. At which point the truth will be revealed. It is really all about perspective!

She has done this all while posing as a passionate if somewhat mild-mannered goatherd and cheese-maker who has, through her own actions and passion, demonstrated the viability of small-scale agriculture in a suburban setting. She has modeled manure and bedding management, efficient, loving and intuitive livestock care and all the while found time to invent the appropriate technology to produce first place award-winning cheeses in national cheese-maker’s trials on a micro scale.

By now, you have all realized that this year’s award goes to none other than Tricia Smith. She of Carlisle Homestead Cheese, of safe and sensible manure-management rules, of clear-eyed vision of the right and wrong applications of “the rules and regs” and she who is all about correct process believing that how one gets to their goal has a lot to say about the goal itself. Her unique ability to see how a project works in minute detail always leads to an elegant conclusion whether bird house or Bog House.

For me, it is a pleasure and an honor to present this year’s award to my friend, fellow farmer, conservationist and commissioner, Tricia Smith. No one is more deserving. ∆

© 2010 The Carlisle Mosquito