Tip Anderson led a group of 15 Vermilion Forks Field Naturalists along the trails of Swan Lake on Saturday, Dec. 5th, a calm and cloudy morning with the temperature hovering around zero. The lake gleamed with a skiff of ice as we walked through the rolling grasslands for an hour and a half, working up our appetites for a hot lunch! Two small but vigorous fires, smokies, cinnamon buns, hot chocolate and coffee waited for us as we returned to the newly erected Kelly Noon Gate. The gate references the “noon” bird blind which is situated nearby.
This sturdy and attractive gate is named in honour of fellow naturalist and Rotarian, Frank Kelly, who, sadly, left us earlier this year. The new gate, located at the southwest entrance to the wildlife sanctuary, can be credited to the Rotary Club, local businesses, and a few private citizens, including Frank Turner, Glen Sellers, and Tip Anderson. Our group increased in size to more than 35 as friends, naturalists and Rotarians gathered to pay tribute. Frank Turner explained how the gate came to be, Joan Kelly offered a thank-you speech, and members of the Kelly family were on hand to unveil a plaque. Frank Kelly is missed by many! We mixed and mingled while enjoying lunch and keeping warm by the fires, fondly reminiscing and fighting a tear or two.