By Anya TikkaDINGMAN TOWNSHIP — If you visited the Pocono Environmental Education Center for Mother’s Day flower sale, chances are you met Dee Kipp, the sprightly 91-years old lady taking the payments, who’s been connected to the center for more than 20 years.
A one-time game warden for PEEC, she’s also a registered nurse, and volunteers at the annual sale that raises money for the educational center.
She’s also a weather predictor and keen observer of local wildlife.
She sees a rough winter ahead, which is not great news to those who just survived the previously harsh freeze,
“It’s going to be terrible, worse that last winter,” she said.
Kipp isn’t fazed. She has lived in the area for a long time her life, and is at peace with, the animals and plants around.
She said the old timers predicted weather by observing nature, and among the signs of the rough winter to come are, the bears came out in February, deer have already had fawns, and the two chestnut trees she watches are full of acorns.
“We’ll have 32 storms,” she added.
This is based on watching the fog rise on water, another old-time trick.
“It’s the same cycle as in ’94-’95 when we had 91 inches of snow,” Dee predicted.
She also said she had no special diet or regimen that keeps her in shape and sharp to her age, but added both her parents and grandparents from both sides lived to be more than 100 years old, and were in good shape mentally and physically.
“I eat anything I like. I drink tea, but not coffee because I just don’t like the taste of it,” she added.
Master Gardener Carolyn Rose Shuttleworth was at the sale, providing advice about care and what to plant. She grew some of the plants for sale in Milford. “They go first, because they’re slightly cheaper,” she said modestly. Other plants are purchased by the center for the sale.
Blaise James and Ruth Gottschall live in nearby Bushkill, and they’ve come to the plant sale every year for the past several years.
“We come because the local plants grow better, and are very deer resistant,” Blaise explained.
Ruth added, “It’s nice to support PEEC.”
A lively conversation took place with Dee to compare notes about how the deer eat everything in sights, and how difficult it is to grow anything in the area.
But, as Ruth exclaimed, “We chose to live here with the animals.”
Other wildlife issues came up.
A giant bear, weighing about 1,000 pounds was shot and killed a couple of years back, after being fattened by a human and got used to people.
“I would have found a way to put him behind bars if I’d still been game warden here,” Dee said vehemently about the man who shot the bear.
The bear was shot with bow and arrows that were too short, requiring six arrows, a thing that should never be done with an animal, she continued.
“You shoot once, and if that doesn’t work, you walk away,” Dee said.
She had arrested the man who fed the bear ‘at least 10 times’, telling him not to feed the bear, to no avail. The bear got so tame, it used to eat out his hands, and the shooter walked away free in the end.
Derek Scott, PEEC’s Weekend Workshop Manager said the event usually brings about 400 visitors each year.