Gov. Markell Celebrates Arbor Day at Blackbird State Forest

Contact: John Petersen, 302-698-4552 (office), 302-233-8180 (cell)

Delaware Celebrates Arbor Day at Blackbird State Forest – Adds 85 Acres of Sussex County Forestland Thanks to Open Space Program

[Photos included – click on images for full-size, high resolution versions]


Delaware observes Arbor Day: Schoolchildren help plant a flowering dogwood near the Blackbird Forest Education Center.

Stephen Venable of Milford’s Honor Academy had the winning poster in Delaware’s Arbor Day Poster Contest.

TOWNSEND, DE (May 7) –At Arbor Day ceremonies at Blackbird State Forest, the State of Delaware announced it had completed the $595,000 purchase of the historic Wilson Farm, an 85-acre parcel of forestland that will become part of the 12,500-acre Redden State Forest near Georgetown, Sussex County. The deal was funded by Delaware’s Open Space Preservation Program and marks the latest acquisition in its multi-year “Green Horizons Project” to sustain working forests, improve water quality, and protect wildlife habitat in key environmental regions on the Delmarva Peninsula. In May of 2012, Delaware purchased 339 acres of forestland that are now part of Redden State Forest. In cooperation with the U.S. Forest Service’s Forest Legacy Program, plans are in the works to purchase an additional four parcels within the next year.


“Preserving Delaware’s open space is an important part of maintaining Delaware’s quality of life,” said Governor Jack Markell.


Red section of the map shows 85-acre Wilson Farm, purchased by the State of Delaware with $595,000 of Open Space Program funds and added to Redden State Forest near Georgetown.


Located west of U.S. 113 between Ellendale and Georgetown, the new acreage will be added to the existing Jester Tract of Redden State Forest. The land will be sustainably managed by the Delaware Forest Service for multiple objectives will be available to the public for recreational uses such as hunting, hiking, and wildlife observation.


“Thanks to the generous support of the Markell Administration and members of the General Assembly, future Delaware residents and visitors will enjoy this area for many years to come ” Valenti said.


The Forest Service also honored Delmarva Power for its certification as a Tree Line USA utility by the National Arbor Day Foundation, and for its sponsorship of the 2013 Delaware Arbor Day Ceremony and for underwriting Arbor Day school programs throughout the state.


At Arbor Day, Governor Markell honored winners of the Delaware Forest Service’s annual School Poster Contest, and the overall state winner, fourth-grader Stephen Venable of Milford’s Honor Academy.


Photos and captions: (click on photo for hi-res image)
New Castle County Winners
Kindergarten – Giana Zamichieli — Kathleen Wilbur Elementary, Bear
Grade 1-2 Kate Connolly — The Independence School, Newark
Grade 3-4 Maya Rigor — Christ the Teacher, Newark
Grade 5 Julianna Thawley—Christ the Teacher, Newark
Kent County Winners
Kindergarten SuNora Lewis — Booker T Washington Elementary, Dover
Grade 1-2 Emma Crane — W.B. Simpson Elementary, Camden-Wyoming
Grade 3-4 Miranda Pantoja— Holy Cross, Dover
Grade 5 Naomi Bright— W.B. Simpson Elementary, Camden-Wyoming
Sussex County Winners
Kindergarten Brooke Rhue — Rehoboth Elementary, Rehoboth
Grade 1-2 Brittany Valentin-Pegueros — H.O. Brittingham Elementary, Milton
Grade 3-4 Stephen Venable — Honor Academy, Milford
Grade 5 Grace Winston — Winston Learning Academy, Milford