Home » People of Stone Head » Hi! I’m Mike.

Hi! I’m Mike.

This is the first in a series of posts where we’ll introduce you to the Officers and Board of Directors of the Stone Head Conservancy. The very fact that Stone Head Nature Preserve exists today is due to the vision, commitment, and hard work of just one man. Since this is where our Preserve started, it’s only fitting that our “Directors’ Series” starts there, too.

Sometimes I wish Johnny Cash had written a song called “I Hear The Creek Beds Calling” because then I wouldn’t have to write one. It would make a nice song for my ukulele, an instrument played by real men who sometimes sport binoculars.

“Hi, my name is Mike Kelley and I’m a nature boy!”

It started innocently enough. My family went on vacation to McCormick’s Creek State Park in 1963. At some point during the week, my dad sees a machine in the Canyon Inn. A twenty-five cent deposit allowed him to stamp whatever he wanted on an aluminum medallion. After first presenting my older brother with “Tom Kelley – Baseball All-Star,” my dad handed me “Mike Kelley – Nature Boy.”

I used to keep this little tidbit to myself, for one must appreciate the context in time. Back then anyone who showed a propensity for nature, particularly bird watching, was perceived in the image of actor Wally Cox’s character, “Mr. Peepers”, or so I thought as I hid my binoculars from the eyes of approaching fishermen. I had this idea that I was expected to be spending my Saturday mornings on the gridiron, chasing footballs instead of identifying birds alone on the isolated shores of Geist Reservoir. Somehow I survived this self-imposed humiliation long enough to grow chest hairs, along with the growing realization that my fascination with all forms of nature superseded what others of more athletic prowess might think. Today, fifty years later, as the current president of the Stone Head Conservancy in charge of managing the Stone Head Nature Preserve, I encourage you to wear your visual aids proudly and guilt free on our 122 acres in southern Brown Co., preserved here for your own discoveries of life so fascinating.

So, until we meet again, may your trails be lined with the shredded mulch of happiness and I thank you for your time. I thank you for your support. In closing, I need to ask a little favor and if you don’t feel comfortable doing it, I’ll understand. I want you to sing out loud while visualizing Johnny Cash dressed in black with a guitar strapped ‘round his back. Sing along as if with him, with great vim and vigor, my little song….

I hear the creek beds calling, calling out my name.
Waiting for my presence, never once to be the same.

Lead me back to nature, to life forms great and small
Let me roam the hidden creek beds, searching knowledge of thee all
Oh, lovely rock of wonder, knowing whence ye came,
From distant shallow seas, and a timeline quite insane.

I hear the creek beds calling, calling out my name.
Waiting for my presence, never once to be the same.

Lessons there in history, but for me to seek and learn
While away from doubting others, their faces of concern.
They’d think of me half crazy when “It’s just a rock” is said
Then I’d reach into my pocket to show an arrowhead.

For I hear the creek beds calling, calling out my name
Waiting for my presence, never once to be the same.

So why am I alone and standing, here in creek bed full of joy
It’s what daddy told me long ago, that I’m a nature boy
Finding things of interest that only I can see.
Deep in solitude from others and happy just for me.

I hear the creek bed calling, calling out my name
Waiting for my presence, never once to be the same. (Boom, boom!)

Oh, c’mon smile a little smile for me, Rosemarie!


  1. Bob Pulley says:

    We need more nature boys, not fewer. From one nature boy to another, thanks for Stonehead Nature Preserve. Some of my Boy Scout Friends labeled me Nature Boy because I usually had the answers when we did nature oriented scavenger hunts.

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