Takoma Park Becomes Maryland’s First Certified Community Wildlife Habitat
On May 22, 2011, I had the pleasure of attending Takoma Park, Maryland’s celebration of their certification as Maryland’s first Certified Community Wildlife Habitat™.
The celebration took place at Spring Park, a lovely park that has been restored with native plantings by the Friends of Sligo Creek, the non-profit organization that spearheaded Takoma Park’s project.
Denis Malloy brought the crowd together with his selection of music on the baritone saxophone. Bruce Sidwell, the Community Wildlife Habitat team leader, gave opening remarks of how the Wild, Wild Takoma project began back in 2006.
Takoma Park’s official Poet Laureate, Anne Becker, recited excerpts from one of her original poems about reflections on the natural world. The crowd showed its appreciation with long-lasting applause.
The saxophonist and poet laureate were hard acts to follow, but I told the crowd a bit about the history of the National Wildlife Federation and spoke about the many accomplishments of Takoma Park. I had a small gift from NWF for each of the team members and presented Bruce with an NWF Field Guide to Wildflowers of North America. I presented the Community Wildlife Habitat certificate to Mayor Bruce Williams, who accepted it gratefully on behalf of the city.
Perhaps the highlight of the afternoon was the singing of “O’Takoma” by the crowd. The words were written by town resident Anne Suplee and the song is sung to the Rodgers and Hammerstein song “Oklahoma!” Here is an excerpt:
O, Takoma, home of houses fully warmed by corn,
And of tofu treats that can pass as meats,
And organic farmers Sunday morn.
O’Takoma, where our coffee always is fair-trade,
And we don’t need gas to cut our grass,
And mowers march in our parade.
Our love for the planet runs deep
So our compost gets tossed in a heap.
And when we say, Yeeow! Ayipeioeeay!
We’re only sayin’, You’re doing fine, O, Takoma, O, Takom, T.P.!
It was so much fun to attend Takoma Park’s ceremony! To get to meet volunteers like Bruce Sidwell and his team members was truly inspiring.