Through the years as Board President, Sally Trippe has graciously thanked all of us for our devotion to the farm and now, as she turns over the presidency, it is our pleasure to thank her.
It is impossible to adequately acknowledge the many wonderful things Sally has done to make New Pond Farm such a success. Since Carmen’s passing in 1995 it has been important to us to honor her memory and to share her great gifts to the theatre, conservation and education — and that is as it should be. However, many of us know…and many more should know… how much Sally’s vision and persistent encouragement enabled Carmen to make the gifts we are all so grateful for today.
I will never forget my first month at New Pond Farm. I had just left a wonderful job at CT. Audubon, moving my young family to the farm. I was elated at the thought of helping to develop a new environmental center and working farm. My enthusiasm was quickly tempered when the Vice President of the Board pulled me aside to say, “I hope you know that this job is tenuous at best. This is Carmen’s backyard experiment, and she can change her mind at any time and turn this land back into her private property.”
My eyes were certainly opened! New Pond Farm had yet to become firmly rooted, it was just emerging. As I began to review the files I discovered we had a lapsed 501(c)(3) permit, inadequate insurance, no camp license, no formalized direction, and no guarantees from Carmen.
I was grateful and relieved to have Carmen’s dear friend and founding Board member Sally Trippe as my ally. It was clear that it was our job to show Carmen just what an incredible educational resource this property could be, and to create programs and a professional organization that she would respect, and be so proud of that she would want to preserve and protect them for the future. And that is just what we did. During my first eight years on the farm, we had a Board that just met once a year, and despite this and the fact that we several different Farm Managers, we kept New Pond Farm on course, often navigating huge obstacles. Just as we had hoped, Carmen quickly became an integral part of the farm’s evolution- sharing annual and long-term goals and objectives on a regular basis. She developed a great interest in the programs and in meeting new members. She often commented that she was as proud of the joy her land offered to students of all ages as she was of the pleasure her acting had provided. And importantly Carmen also reassured us that she would do all that she could to secure the future of New Pond Farm.
For the past decade Sally has been an actively involved President- sitting on each and every Board committee and keeping up with day-to-day operations. She has done so much “work” over the years but she will be the first to say that she has also had a great deal of fun. In the early days Sally was an important part of the camp, helping to welcome the city campers during their first dinners on the farm. Much to everyone’s delight, she and Carmen provided the after-dinner entertainment, introducing campers to rousing games of elbow tag, and to their traditional watermelon- seed-spitting contests in which they bravely offered themselves as the targets! When it came to camp our only disagreement centered around the temperature of the pool- Sally preferring the bracing temperature of her beloved Atlantic Ocean, while I favored the tropical waters of the turquoise Caribbean…but after several years of chattering teeth and blue campers even she endorsed the purchase of our first pool heater. Her interests in getting children out into the natural world, and providing a country experience for children from the inner cities, combined with her commitment to bringing children together from different backgrounds helped to set the tone for one of our most cherished programs.
We would also like to acknowledge Sally’s outstanding generosity. Her great passion for Native Americans inspired her to create a significant Native American fund which has allowed the farm to acquire a vast array of artifacts, to develop an extraordinary program that ties-into the curricula of area schools, and to give thousands of students a hands-on appreciation for how Native Americans lived off the land. More recently, Sally presented New Pond Farm with an inspirational lead gift for our Capital Campaign that is supporting the creation of a critically needed Indoor Learning Center and strengthening our Endowment. This was such an extraordinary gift to the farm and to the entire community.
We look forward to Sally’s continued active involvement with the farm. But, as she turns over the presidency, we want to thank her for helping us to reach this enviable position in our history where we have a committed, cohesive Board, an amazing and talented staff, spectacular facilities, and very positive support from the community. Like Carmen, Sally has done tremendous things to ensure the future of New Pond Farm.
We will be forever grateful!