#NextGenOutside 5K to Connect Millennials with the Outdoors

WILMINGTON (June 24, 2013) – DNREC’s Division of Parks and Recreation is bringing a brand new event to Wilmington this summer, the #NextGenOutside 5K walk/run on Saturday, June 29. Registration opens at 8 a.m. and the race will start at 9 a.m. in Brandywine Park. Participants will experience local parks in a whole new way, using technology and social media on the trails.

The City of Wilmington has green spaces that are accessible to residents and visitors alike. 5K participants will visit three parks along the route: Brandywine Park, Alapocas Run State Park, and Rockford Park. This will give participants an opportunity to explore the trails and see the city from a new perspective.

The #NextGenOutside event invites Delawareans to socialize their outdoor experience. Participants will use smartphones to post from social media checkpoints along the 5K route, competing to win prizes at the finish line. In addition to awards for the top finishers by age group, each social share will enter the participant in a raffle to win technology and outdoor related prizes.

Delaware State Parks is excited to be working with several community partners for the #NextGenOutside 5K walk/run. Boys & Girls Clubs, YMCA of Delaware, YWCA, and the Metropolitan Wilmington Urban League Young Professionals have invited their members and volunteers to participate.

Registration is open through June 28 for $15 per person, with same-day $20 registration available June 29 at the event site. All ages are welcome, and the race will be entirely on paved trails and roads, making it stroller friendly. The start and finish line are located at Brandywine Park on North Park Drive, near the fountain.

No smartphone? No problem. Runners and walkers can enjoy the course without using social media. Visit nextgenoutside.com to register online.

Contact: Beth Shockley, DNREC Public Affairs, 302-739-9902

Vol. 43, No. 257


Prepare to beat the heat as summer and higher temperatures arrive

DOVER (June 21, 2013) – On this first day of summer, the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC) and Division of Public Health (DPH) of the Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS) advise Delawareans to be prepared for extreme summer heat, while offering precautions for withstanding rising temperatures, and also what to do when you are involved in a heat-related incident. 

Extreme heat kills an average of 1,500 people in the United States each year – exceeding deaths from hurricanes, tornadoes, lightning and blizzards combined. Since 1993, more than 400 Delawareans have died due to excessive heat.  

Heat illness occurs whenever the body cannot compensate for excessive heat. When temperatures and humidity are high, sweat ceases to evaporate and the body’s natural cooling system slows down, in some cases shutting down completely. Very hot weather can cause heat exhaustion and heat stroke, which can be fatal.

Most at risk of suffering heat-related illnesses are children, the elderly, the poor or homeless, people who work or exercise outdoors, and those with chronic medical conditions. Of all who are susceptible, the elderly and those with chronic medical conditions are less likely to sense and respond to rises in temperature, and medications can intensify heat effects. Extremely hot weather can worsen existing chronic medical conditions such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and other respiratory and cardiovascular problems.

DNREC and DPH advise Delawareans to: 

STAY COOL

  • Find air-conditioned shelters like libraries, malls, theatres, or houses of worship. Stay on the lowest floor possible to avoid the heat. Do not rely on a fan alone as the primary cooling device.
  • Avoid direct sunlight. If you must do strenuous activity outdoors, do it during the coolest part of the day, which is usually in the morning between 4 a.m. and 7 a.m.
  • Wear lightweight, light-colored clothing. Wear hats or use an umbrella. Loosely cover as much skin as possible and use sunscreen. Sunburn slows the skin’s ability to cool itself, and has been linked to skin cancer.
  • Take cool (not cold) showers or baths. An icy cold shower immediately after coming in from hot temperatures can be detrimental to health, particularly for the elderly and children. 

STAY HYDRATED

  • Drink plenty of water regularly. Carry water with you and drink continuously even if you do not feel thirsty. Avoid sugared, alcoholic and caffeinated beverages, which dehydrate the body. 
  • Check with a doctor before significantly increasing fluid intake if you have heart, kidney or liver disease, or if your doctor placed you on a fluid–restricted diet.
  • Eat small meals and eat more often rather than eating a few large meals. Avoid using salt tablets unless directed to do so by a physician.

STAY INFORMED

  • Check the local news for extreme heat alerts and safety tips.
  • Learn the symptoms of heat illness. (See below.)

TAKE CARE OF OTHERS

  • Help those dependent on your care to stay cool, hydrated, and informed.
  • Check on friends and neighbors. Take them to air-conditioned locations if they are lacking for transportation.
  • Do not leave people or animals in enclosed vehicles – check the back seat of your vehicle before exiting it to make sure you are not forgetting anyone there.
  • Know the symptoms of heat exhaustion and heat stroke, and call 9-1-1 if medical attention is needed. 

Heat exhaustion occurs when a person is overheated along with reduced or unbalanced intake of fluids. Symptoms include dehydration, fatigue, weakness, clammy skin, headache, nausea and/or vomiting, rapid breathing, irritability and fainting. Take these steps when it happens:

  • Move the person indoors or into shade.
  • Loosen or remove the person’s clothing.
  • Encourage the heat exhaustion victim to eat and drink.
  • Get the person to a cool shower or bath.
  • Call your doctor for further advice. 

Heatstroke occurs when the body can no longer cool itself, and can be a life-threatening event. Prompt medical treatment is required. Symptoms include: flushed, hot and dry skin with no sweating; high body temperature (above 103°F, orally taken); severe, throbbing headache; weakness, dizziness, or confusion; sluggishness or fatigue; decreased responsiveness; and loss of consciousness. If heatstroke occurs, take these steps:

  • Call 9-1-1 immediately. This is a medical emergency.
  • Get the heatstroke victim indoors or into shade.
  • Get the person into a cool shower or bath, or wipe them down with continually soaked cool washcloths while awaiting emergency responders.

For further information, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website at http://www.cdc.gov/extremeheat/index.html. 

Delaware Department of Health and Social Services is committed to improving the quality of the lives of Delaware’s citizens by promoting health and well-being, fostering self-sufficiency, and protecting vulnerable populations. 

It is the mission of the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control to protect and manage the state’s vital natural resources, protect public health and safety, provide quality outdoor recreation, and to serve and educate the citizens of the First State about the wise use, conservation and enhancement of Delaware’s environment.

Delaware Department of Health and Social Services 
Rita Landgraf, Secretary
Jill Fredel, Director of Communications
302-255-9047, Pager 302-357-7498
Email: jill.fredel@delaware.gov   

Delaware Department of Natural Resources
and Environmental Control
Contact: Michael Globetti, DNREC Public Affairs
302-739-9902
Email: michael.globetti@delaware.gov

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Go Ape zip line Treetop Adventure opens at Lums Pond State Park

BEAR (June 21, 2013) – DNREC Secretary Collin O’Mara joined State Representative. Valerie Longhurst, and other state and parks officials on the brand new zip lines at the new Go Ape Treetop Adventure at Lums Pond State Park. It’s the first zip line treetop adventure course in a state park on the East Coast; the first treetop adventure course in Delaware, and Go Ape’s first partnership with a state park. Under the public/private partnership, Go Ape and DNREC’s Division of Parks and Recreation are offering Delawareans this unique outdoor adventure.

“This is a first for Delaware and I’m delighted Go Ape decided to locate at beautiful Lums Pond State Park,” said Governor Jack Markell. “This regional attraction will benefit Delaware tourism and our local businesses by drawing nearby visitors and people from surrounding states. That’s a boon for our tourism economy and for Lums Pond State Park. It’s a fun and healthy adventure and another great reason to get outside in Delaware this summer.”

Go Ape is a highly interactive treetop adventure where participants are equipped with harnesses, pulleys and carabineers and receive a 30-minute training session before they are turned loose into the trees. The course at Lums Pond State Park will provide visitors with two to three hours of outdoor fun and exercise while they navigate more than 40 obstacles situated in the treetops of the park.

“We are so excited to come to Delaware and bring with us some of the longest zip lines Go Ape has anywhere in the U.S.,” said Dan D’Agostino, USA Managing Director for Go Ape. “Because of its water features, Lums Pond State Park is the perfect location to create the first zip lines to cross a body of water in a state park.”

The course spans seven acres and features five zip lines, four of which will fly participants over Lums Pond. Also included are two Tarzan swings and a series of rope ladders, bridges, swings and trapezes, many with views of the pond.

“We welcome Go Ape’s low-impact recreation approach and commend them for their attention to protecting the trees and the environment around the course,” said DNREC Secretary Collin O’Mara. “We are so pleased that Delaware families have their own zip line adventures available to them at a great location like Lums Pond State Park. This is a course that allows us to ‘live life adventurously,’ and experience the park like never before, from 50 feet up in the trees, hanging by a wire. I challenge everyone to take a ride down, to get outdoors and enjoy all that Delaware has to offer in nature this summer. I’ll see you in the trees.”

Go Ape’s mission is to support park departments across the country. To date, Go Ape has developed rewarding partnerships with park departments in Indianapolis, Pittsburgh, Rockville, Md. and Williamsburg, Va. Under each partnership, a portion of every ticket sold goes back to the respective park department while 100 percent of the capital investment is paid for by Go Ape.

“Go Ape’s attractions are a perfect fit for Delaware, and a great tool for boosting our visibility as a tourist destination,” said Linda Parkowski, director of the Delaware Tourism Office. “The zip lines will attract people who are looking for outdoor adventures, which are very popular with travelers.”

In addition, Go Ape leads park stewardship programs, develops educational signage, hosts yearly fundraisers to raise funds for the park, and provides free and discounted tickets to underserved and special needs communities. Go Ape aligns its goals and activities to those of its park partners to encourage the sustainability and health of the parks and the communities they serve.

“A lot of people have the idea that they need to leave Delaware to participate in high-adventure outdoor activities,” said DNREC Division of Parks and Recreation Director Charles Salkin. “But, Delaware State Parks offer rock climbing, mountain biking, adventure races, ocean kayaking and much more. Adding the Go Ape course to the mix makes our state park system the go-to place for this level of outdoor experience.”

For more information, visit http://youtu.be/4Y96umTPAZ8 to see a one-minute, action-packed video of people on the Delaware Go Ape course.

More information, including directions can be found at www.goape.com/zip-line/delaware-lums-pond-state-park. GPS directions are: Lums Pond State Park, 1042 Howell School Road, Bear, 19701.

You can become a fan of “Go Ape USA” on Facebook or follow @GoApeUSA on Twitter. To see video of the Go Ape experience, visit Go Ape’s YouTube channel at www.youtube.com/goapeusa. To book treetime, go to www.goape.com or call 1-800-971-8271. The cost is $35 (ages 10-17) and $55 for adults.

Contact:  Beth Shockley, DNREC Public Affairs, 302-739-9902

Vol. 43, No. 253


Bridge-nesting peregrine falcon fledglings take a tumble but get helping hands toward survival

USFWS biologist Craig Koppie returns two rescued peregrine falcons to their nest atop the St. Georges BridgeST. GEORGES (June 18, 2013) – A winning combination of citizen awareness, DNREC Division of Fish & Wildlife Enforcement, Tri-State Bird Rescue & Research, and the US Fish & Wildlife Service collaborated recently to rescue and subsequently return a pair of juvenile peregrine falcons to their nesting location on the St. Georges Bridge over the Chesapeake & Delaware Canal after the birds had “crash-landed” on the bridge’s roadway while attempting their first flight.

Known as the world’s fastest bird, peregrine falcons have nested in Delaware since the late 1980s when they were carefully reintroduced to the eastern United States as the population rebounded from a federally endangered species listing. Due to the pesticide DDT, the entire eastern population had completely disappeared and recovery was uncertain. Delaware was not an obvious place for bringing them back, as the landscape lacks any naturally-occurring cliffs, the peregrines’ preferred habitat. However, the state boasts several large and high bridges that the falcons find as a surrogate for cliffs. The first nesting pair was on the Delaware Memorial Bridge, and over the past three decades, falcons have also taken up residence on the Summit, St. Georges, and Reedy Point Bridges over the C&D Canal. 

Three years ago, the Division of Fish & Wildlife began monitoring a new pair of peregrines atop the St. Georges Bridge. The steel truss bridge serves well as nesting location, or aerie, but it also can be a perilous place for juvenile falcons as they prepare to make their first flights. With their nest scrape high in the arches of the bridge, young birds have fallen into the C&D Canal or landed on the deck of the bridge, often resulting in mortality.The two rescued falcons are safely returned to the catwalk during a successful release atop the St. Georges Bridge.

Twice this month, two fledglings leaving the St. Georges Bridge nest for the first time might have met with such misfortune. Instead, quick thinking by citizens who saw and reported the falcons on the deck and roadbed of the bridge – amidst passing traffic – triggered a quick response from Division of Fish & Wildlife Enforcement agents who rescued the falcons and transported them to the nationally-renowned Tri-State Bird Rescue in Newark. 

After thorough examination and a few days of observation, Tri-State Bird Rescue reported that both falcons were in great condition and ready to be returned to their nest. On Wednesday, June 12, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service raptor biologist Craig Koppie attempted to reintroduce the two juveniles, both females, to their parents.  

With the actual nest site a precarious perch inaccessible to humans, Mr. Koppie elected to place the falcons on the catwalk of the bridge, giving them a safer venue for continuing to exercise their wings and to make short flights. “Returning the young to the nest at this age is often difficult and requires a plan so the release will not end up in the same manner – with birds falling to the ground again,” he said. “To minimize risk of the birds immediately taking flight before they’re ready, I immersed the young falcons in water to soak their body and flight feathers. This makes the fledglings heavy and wet, and they will not have the desire to bolt once released. I also placed food (quail) along the catwalk before taking them to the top of the bridge so the young falcons would concentrate on eating while they were drying off.” 

As he scaled the bridge to release the juveniles, the adult falcons recognized their offspring from on high and became aggressive toward him; Mr. Koppie took this behavior as an excellent sign that the young birds were still being defended by their parents, and that the adults would continue to attend to their offspring’s needs. 

Thus, a successful release, and it seemed that all was well with the young falcons – with a little luck they would be airborne again in a day or two, this time for good. However, heavy thunderstorms were forecast over the next few days and strong winds could have dashed hopes for the falcons’ survival. Division of Fish & Wildlife biologist Anthony Gonzon was determined to monitor the birds in the storms’ aftermath. Arriving at St. Georges Bridge in the early morning Friday, June 14, he immediately located one of the adult peregrines on the catwalk beneath the bridge. Panning across the arches, he spotted one of the juveniles, a poignant sighting, Mr. Gonzon recalled: “At the very least, one of the young birds had survived the storms, and better yet, it could fly!” 

Gonzon spent more time combing the horizon for the second juvenile rescue. During that time, the other adult falcon flew in with food for the first juvenile and tried to coax it off the crossbeam of the arch where it was first observed. The young bird made a couple of attempts to take flight, but elected to stay put and wait for the adult to deliver its food. When the adult landed, the young falcon quickly ran to it, stole the carcass of a bird away and made a fast break for cover. 

“But there was still no sign of the second juvenile,” Mr. Gonzon recalled. Time and circumstances conspired against a sighting when, suddenly, on the north bank of the canal, he saw both adult falcons, clearly agitated and diving at some unseen threat. “A quick look through a spotting scope and there it was – the second peregrine fledgling! The parents obviously had been protecting her. Although she still had a little down on her head, she could fly, and fly well enough to perch on a dead tree along the canal.” The peregrine parents successfully drove off whatever threat they had detected, and the young bird flew back to the catwalk under the bridge, capping a restoration success. And evidence, according to Mr. Gonzon, “that Delaware’s peregrine falcon population had grown by two!” 

“We work hard to reunite young birds of prey with their parents or a foster family whenever we can,” said Lisa Smith, executive director of Tri-State Bird Rescue & Research. “Young birds of prey have so much to learn from the adults – how to hunt, how to behave socially, where to roost, etc. We are delighted that these two falcons can continue to grow up in the wild.”

Photo credits: Top, Russ Carlson. Bottom: USFWS/Craig Koppie.

Contact: Michael Globetti, DNREC Public Affairs, 302-739-9902

Vol. 43, No. 250

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DNREC Fish & Wildlife Enforcement Blotter: June 4-11; Reminder for the week: Visitors to C&D Canal Conservation Area reminded to heed signs

DOVER (June 14, 2013) – To achieve public compliance through education and enforcement actions that help conserve Delaware’s fish and wildlife resources and ensure safe boating and public safety, DNREC Division of Fish & Wildlife Enforcement agents between June 4 and 11 made 1,649 contacts with anglers, hunters, boaters and the general public, including 83 boating safety/fishing regulation compliance checks. Agents responded to 38 complaints and issued 39 citations, 17 of which were associated with increased Fish and Wildlife Enforcement presence at the C&D Canal Conservation Area (formerly the C&D Canal Wildlife Area) and the associated recreational trail currently under construction. Incidents of particular note included: 

  • On June 10, in connection with a May 31 incident at the Woodland Beach Wildlife Area, agents arrested Robert B. Logan, 21, of Townsend, and charged him with felony disregarding command of a police officer, reckless endangering, resisting arrest, driving with a suspended or revoked license, leaving the scene of a collision resulting in injury, failure to report a collision resulting in injury, aggressive driving, operating a motor vehicle at unreasonable speed, failure to yield right of way, failure to signal intention, and trespassing after hours in a state wildlife area. Logan was arraigned in the Kent County Court of Common Pleas, entered a not guilty plea and was released on $4,500 unsecured bond pending trial at a later date.
     
  • On June 10, Harry Harp, 83, of Millsboro, was cited for checking more than two recreational crab pots in Herring Creek. Under Delaware law, recreational crabbers are permitted to tend no more than two crab pots. 
  • On June 3 and June 8 at the St. George’s Bridge, agents rescued two immature peregrine falcons and transported them to Tri-State Bird Rescue in Newark. Tri-State reported that both birds were successfully returned to their nest.

Citations issued by violation type included the following, with the number of charges in parentheses:

Wildlife Conservation: Operating a motor vehicle off an established roadway in a state wildlife area (6)*, operating a motor vehicle in a closed area in a state wildlife area (7)*, driving without a license (1)*, and damaging state property (1)*, New Castle County; Trespassing after hours in a state wildlife area (1), Kent County.

Fisheries Conservation: Recreational: Unlicensed fishing (1), and possession of undersized Atlantic croaker (1), Kent County; Possession of undersized blue crab (2), tending more than two recreational crab pots (1), and possession of undersized summer flounder (2), Sussex County.

Boating Safety: Operating a vessel with insufficient number of life jackets aboard (1), Kent County; No life jacket on child age 12 or younger as required by law (1), and operating an unregistered motor vessel (1), Sussex County.

Public Safety: Operating an unlicensed motor vehicle in a state wildlife area (1)*, and loitering to engage or solicit another to engage in sex (1)*, New Castle County; Criminal impersonation (1), felony disregarding command of a police officer (1), reckless endangering (1), resisting arrest (1), driving with a suspended or revoked license (1), leaving the scene of a collision resulting in injury (1), failure to report a collision resulting in injury (1), aggressive driving (1), operating a motor vehicle at unreasonable speed (1), failure to yield right of way (1), and failure to signal intention (1), Kent County.

*These citations were issued in connection with violations at the C&D Canal Conservation Area.

 Are you AWARE?

With 17 citations issued at the C&D Canal Conservation Area this week, the Division of Fish and Wildlife Enforcement Section reminds visitors to be patient and comply with new rules and posted signage – some of which are temporary – while construction on the new Michael N. Castle Trail proceeds. To ensure public safety, agents are strictly enforcing regulations prohibiting motor vehicle access to the trail and encouraging visitors to park in designated areas and walk. 

Designed primarily for walking, jogging, bicycling, and horseback riding, the Michael N. Castle Trail has been in the planning phase for more than seven years, during which numerous public comment sessions were held regarding its design and location. 

New permanent gates have been installed to restrict motor vehicle access to the completed portions of the trail. Gates on the north side of the canal are currently closed, restricting access to the lower tier road from the eastern-most point near the Branch Canal at Delaware City through and including the Summit Marina area. 

Until construction activities are complete, access on the upper tier roads between the Gunning Bedford School and Summit Marina will also be restricted limiting access to the ponds near the railroad bridge. Once construction is complete, vehicles will still be permitted to access most upper level roads for hunting and fishing activities. 

The 5,100-acre C&D Canal Conservation Area near St. Georges encompasses the north and south banks of the canal and part of the eastern shoreline of the Delaware River. The conservation area also offers hunting and fishing opportunities, boating access, and the Summit Retriever Training Area. 

The DNREC Division of Fish and Wildlife recognizes and thanks the majority of anglers, hunters and boaters who comply with and support Delaware’s fishing, hunting and boating laws and regulations. Citizens are encouraged to report fish and wildlife and boating violations to the Delaware Fish and Wildlife Enforcement Section by calling 302-739-4580. Wildlife violations may also be reported anonymously to Operation Game Theft by calling 800-292-3030 or online at www.dnrec.delaware.gov/fw/Hunting/Pages/OpGameTheft.aspx .

Contact: Joanna Wilson, DNREC Public Affairs, 302-739-9902

Vol. 43, No. 246

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