DNREC, Woodlawn Trustees Preserve Access to Popular Trail Along Brandywine Creek

Hikers enjoy a walk along the entryway to a vital part of the northern Delaware trail system along the Brandywine Creek. The DNREC Division of Parks and Recreation worked with Woodlawn Trustees to purchase and preserve a parcel of land for public recreational use along this pathway. /DNREC photo

 

The Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control joins the Woodlawn Trustees to announce their collaborative effort to preserve a parcel of land that provides entryway to a vital part of the northern Delaware trail system along the Brandywine Creek.

In conjunction with the Delaware Open Space Program, the DNREC Division of Parks and Recreation worked with Woodlawn Trustees to purchase and preserve the property, located along Rockland Falls Road in Rockland, which was for sale.

Purchase of the formally private property guarantees uninterrupted public access to the trail. The existing trail runs alongside Brandywine Creek and provides beautiful hiking access into Brandywine Creek State Park and the First State National Historical Park.

The acquisition adds 2.27 acres to the 407-acre forest block already preserved by the division on east side of the Brandywine River and expands Brandywine Creek State Park to a total of 894 acres. By protecting this portion of the woods, the division also eliminated the possible disruption of the historic viewshed from places like the scenic Hawk Watch vista and preserved the trail experience.

“This critical land acquisition is one of the last land holdings in the core of Brandywine Creek State Park that could have been developed. It eliminates vehicle access and the ability for structures to be built along a popular trail,” said DNREC Secretary Shawn M. Garvin. “Land stewardship is at the heart of the work both DNREC and Woodlawn Trustees do, and we are fortunate to have their continued partnership in land conservation.”

The collaborative effort between the state and Woodlawn Trustees dates to the early 1960s with the creation of Brandywine Creek State Park. In 1963, Woodlawn Trustees donated $200,000 to help DNREC and Delaware Nature Society acquire land for the Brandywine Creek State Park. DNREC matched Woodlawn’s donation and then purchased a 433-acre Dairy Farm owned by the du Pont family that became the state park, known for its old growth forest remnants, meadowland views and blue gneiss stone walls built in the late 1800s and early 1900s.

In 1981, the Woodlawn Trustees transferred 350 acres to the DNREC Division of Parks and Recreation, nearly doubling the size of the park. Woodlawn donated 125 acres of the land to DNREC, which received matching federal funding to buy the other half from Woodlawn.

The after-tax proceeds of the sale totaled $530,000, which Woodlawn Trustees used to create the Brandywine Creek Woodlawn Fund, a permanent endowment for the park. The Division of Parks and Recreation has utilized the fund, which was transferred to the Delaware Community Foundation in 2019, to support park operations, maintenance and security. That funding accounts for about 1/3 of the park’s annual operating budget each year.

“The preservation of the Rockland property highlights how DNREC and Woodlawn trustees are dedicated to partnering for the benefit of natural resources,” said Woodlawn Trustees President and CEO Richard T. Przywara. “This project enlarges and strengthens our shared vision of providing access to open space for hiking, cycling and horseback riding.”

As part of the purchase, Woodlawn Trustees will also contribute $10,000 to the Brandywine Creek State Park Fund at the Delaware Community Foundation.

For more information about the Woodlawn Trustees, visit https://woodlawntrustees.com.

About DNREC
The Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control protects and manages the state’s natural resources, protects public health, provides outdoor recreational opportunities and educates Delawareans about the environment. The DNREC Division of Parks and Recreation oversees more than 26,000 acres in 17 state parks and the Brandywine Zoo. For more information, visit the website and connect with @DelawareDNREC on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.

Media Contacts: Shauna McVey, shauna.mcvey@delaware.gov or Michael Globetti, michael.globetti@delaware.gov.

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Hunters Reminded of Basic Hunter Education Course Requirements

A Delaware hunter education instructor helps a young Delaware hunter with the field day live-fire requirement for participants in the state’s basic hunter education course. /DNREC photo

 

Online and In-person Courses Available

With the start of early 2022/23 hunting seasons approaching, the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control reminds hunters born after Jan. 1, 1967 that they must successfully complete an approved Basic Hunter Education Course to obtain a Delaware hunting license. Early pre-registration is advised due to limited class seating, with classes filling quickly as the hunting season approaches for a number of game species, including deer, ducks, geese and doves.

Course dates, times and locations are available online at the DNREC Division of Fish and Wildlife Hunter Education Program’s course calendar. Additional classes will be scheduled based on class demand. Classes are generally offered from July through February. Students must be 10 years of age or older to take any Delaware Hunter Education Program course.

The Basic Hunter Education Course teaches students safety, ethics, firearm types, safe gun handling, marksmanship techniques, specialty hunting techniques, wildlife management, wildlife identification, survival, Delaware hunting laws and regulations and many other hunter safety-related topics. All Basic Hunter Education Course participants must participate in a live firearm firing session with a trained instructor.

There are two options for taking the Basic Hunter Education Course:

  • Traditional, in-person course offered at one of the classroom locations throughout the state. The in-person course is free of charge to all students.
  • Online hunter education course with one of three private vendors listed at de.gov/huntersafety combined with a one-day in-person field day course to complete the live firearm firing requirement. A fee is charged for taking the course online; the field day course is free.

Registration for the Basic Hunter Education Courses can be made by visiting de.gov/licensing.

The Delaware Hunter Education Program was established in the early 1970s to help educate the public in safe hunting practices and to reduce hunting-related accidents. Since 1967, more than 39,000 Delaware hunters have completed hunter safety courses and received their hunter safety cards, which has substantially reduced hunting-related accidents.

For more information, contact the DNREC Division of Fish and Wildlife Hunter Education Office at 302-735-3600, ext. 1.

About DNREC
The Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control protects and manages the state’s natural resources, protects public health, provides outdoor recreational opportunities, and educates Delawareans about the environment. The DNREC Division of Fish and Wildlife conserves and manages Delaware’s fish and wildlife and their habitats, and provides fishing, hunting, wildlife viewing and boating access on nearly 68,000 acres of public land. For more information, visit the website and connect with @DelawareDNREC on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.

Media Contacts: Michael Globetti, michael.globetti@delaware.gov; Nikki Lavoie, nikki.lavoie@delaware.gov

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Wild Turkey Harvest Announced for Delaware’s 2022 Spring Hunting Season

Hunters in Delaware harvested 567 wild turkeys during the state’s spring season which ran from April to May, with the biggest gobbler taken weighing 25 lbs., 14 oz./USFWS photo

 

Hunters reported harvesting 567 wild turkeys during Delaware’s month-long spring turkey season, which is 7.4% lower than the 2021 hunting season, the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control announced today. While the 2022 harvest was slightly lower, it was generally consistent with and in the range of annual turkey harvests over the past decade – during which time the wild turkey came into focus as one of the state’s greatest conservation management stories after a restoration effort in the mid-1980s returned this iconic native gamebird to Delaware for the first time since the late 1800s.

Harvest during each week of the month-long season was similar to previous years, with 268 turkeys (47.3%) harvested during the first week, 104 (18.3%) during the second week, 73 (12.9%) during the third week and 94 (16.6%) during the last week of the season, with 28 (4.9%) harvested during the special one-day hunting opportunity provided to youth and non-ambulatory adult hunters on the Saturday prior to the turkey hunting season.

Delaware’s bag limit is one turkey per hunter per year and only the harvest of turkeys with beards – almost always males – during the state’s spring-only turkey hunting season. Despite their rarity, four turkey hens with beards were harvested by Delaware hunters in 2022. Other season highlights included the harvest of 52 “non-typical” turkeys, consisting of gobblers with more than one beard. Of the birds with multiple beards, 38 had two beards, six had three beards and eight had four beards. The longest recorded beard was 13 inches, and the longest spurs on a harvested bird were 1.75” on the right leg and 1.875” on the left leg. The heaviest turkey harvested was 25 lbs. 14 oz, taken on private property located in Wildlife Management Zone 6 in Kent County.

Turkeys were harvested in 17 of 18 Delaware wildlife management zones. A wild turkey harvest “hot spot” occurred along a corridor of nine management zones, consisting of and stretching from zones 4, 6, 7 and 8 in western Kent County through zones 9, 11, 12, 14 and 16 in Sussex County, which accounted for 73.4% of the total harvest in the state. Zone 1A, which is in New Castle County north of Interstate-95/I-295, was the only zone where turkeys were not harvested.

This year, 468 turkeys were harvested on privately-owned lands and 98 on public lands (harvest location of one turkey is unknown). Quality hunting opportunities on public land were widely available statewide and was rewarding for numerous hunters as evidenced by turkeys being harvested from 19 different public land areas.

For hunters planning ahead, the 2023 wild turkey hunting season will open Saturday, April 8 and run through Saturday, May 6, with the special day for youth and non-ambulatory hunters set for Saturday, April 1. Hunters planning to hunt public lands should submit a public lands turkey lottery application, with information available in the 2022/2023 Delaware Hunting & Trapping Guide. Hunters are required to successfully complete a turkey hunter education class before hunting wild turkeys in Delaware and before applying for a permit to hunt on public lands, with additional information available at Delaware Hunter Education Courses.

Hunting season and state wildlife area information is available in the 2022/2023 Delaware Hunting & Trapping Guide or by calling the DNREC Division of Fish and Wildlife’s Wildlife Section at 302-739-9912. Information on hunting licenses and the Conservation Access Pass is available at de.gov/huntinglicense or by calling the DNREC Division of Fish and Wildlife Recreational Licensing office at 302-739-9918.

About DNREC
The Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control protects and manages the state’s natural resources, protects public health, provides outdoor recreational opportunities, and educates Delawareans about the environment. The DNREC Division of Fish and Wildlife conserves and manages Delaware’s fish and wildlife and their habitats, and provides fishing, hunting, wildlife viewing and boating access on nearly 68,000 acres of public land. For more information, visit the website and connect with @DelawareDNREC on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.

Media Contacts: Nikki Lavoie, nikki.lavoie@delaware.gov; Michael Globetti, michael.globetti@delaware.gov

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Recycled Cardboard Boat Regatta Set for Saturday, Aug. 6 on Nanticoke River

Team competition is always intense in the recycled cardboard boat regatta sponsored by DNREC, the Nanticoke Watershed Alliance, the Town of Blades and other environmental partners/DNREC photo

 

The seventh annual Recycled Cardboard Boat Regatta will cast off Saturday, Aug. 6 at the Nanticoke River Public Marine Park, 26 North Market Street, Blades, after a two year absence. Sign in and registration begin at 11 a.m., with judging of boats’ appearances at noon, and races starting at 12:30 p.m. The rain date is Sunday, Aug. 7.

The Recycled Cardboard Boat Regatta is presented by the DNREC Division of Watershed Stewardship, the DNREC Division of Waste and Hazardous Substances, the Nanticoke Watershed Alliance, Abbotts Mill Nature Center, and Town of Blades, as part of the Reclaim Our River (ROR) Program – Nanticoke Series. The event is open to anyone who can build a cardboard boat.

Boats may be any size, shape, or design, but must be made of recycled cardboard. They should be painted with multiple coats of any indoor or exterior latex house paint. Decorations may be removed after judging, and prior to the race start. Participants who pre-register their boats by Saturday, July 30, will receive special early-bird pricing of $20 per boat. After that date, registration will increase to $30. Participants can also register the day of the event.

Participants should plan to paddle their boats from the starting point on the Nanticoke River, approximately 100 yards for adults, and 50 yards for children, to the regatta finish line. First place awards will be given for winners of races in five categories: individual, youth, teens, family, and organizations or businesses. Special awards will be given for “Pride of the Fleet,” “Most Whimsical Boat,” and “Team Spirit.” Also, spectators will be asked to pick a “People’s Choice” award winner, while a special “Titanic Award” will be given for the “Most Dramatic Sinking!”

Participants also are encouraged to challenge others to race in the Recycled Cardboard Boat Regatta for one-on-one bragging rights. After all boat races are completed, skippers of cardboard boats may challenge another skipper to a race. For a challenge race, both challengers pay a $5 fee.

During the event, attendees can learn about the Reclaim Our River (ROR) partnership and how to help protect Delaware’s waterways. The ROR-Nanticoke Series is devoted to bringing events, workshops, and recreational activities to the Nanticoke Watershed. The series offers participants fun opportunities to connect with Delaware’s waterways and provides important information on water quality that can help in protecting aquatic resources.

The ROR partnership also welcomes event sponsors, with proceeds going toward event costs, projects that improve water quality, and water quality education. Sponsorships begin at $50.

Registration, rules and other information about the Cardboard Boat Regatta is available at nanticokeriver.org/rcbr22. A video about the event including past regattas is posted on the @DelawareDNREC YouTube channel.

About DNREC
The Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control protects and manages the state’s natural resources, protects public health, provides outdoor recreational opportunities and educates Delawareans about the environment. The DNREC Division of Watershed Stewardship develops and implements innovative watershed assessment, monitoring and implementation activities. The DNREC Division of Waste and Hazardous Substances ensures Delaware’s wastes are managed to protect human life, health, safety and the environment. For more information, visit the website and connect with @DelawareDNREC on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.

Media Contacts: Joanna Wilson, joanna.wilson@delaware.gov; Michael Globetti, michael.globetti@delaware.gov


DNREC, Habitat for Humanity Partner to Create Green Space in New Castle County’s Simonds Gardens Community

At the Simonds Gardens Rain Garden in New Castle are, left to right: Rain Garden Project Manager Andre Wilburn, Habitat for Humanity of New Castle County; New Castle County Executive Matt Meyer; Simonds Gardens Civic Association President Jaywann Saunders; Jaywanna Saunders and Rob Butler, Simonds Gardens Civic Association; HFHNCC CEO Kevin Smith; and DNREC Secretary Shawn M. Garvin. DNREC photo.

 

On July 5, representatives from the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control, Habitat for Humanity of New Castle County (HFHNCC), New Castle County and the community of Simonds Gardens gathered to celebrate the completion of a project that transformed a vacant lot into an oasis of green in the city. Highlighting the new rain garden were DNREC Secretary Shawn M. Garvin, HFHNCC CEO Kevin Smith, New Castle County Executive Matt Meyer and Jaywann Saunders of the Simonds Gardens Civic Association.

A week and a half before, on June 25, Habitat hosted a “Rock the Block” event in which volunteers from DNREC and HFH joined community members on the New Castle County-owned 50’x80’ lot to plant a rain garden and install new park benches to invite residents to sit and enjoy the newly-created green space. The project was also supported by a community grant from DNREC and the lot was provided by New Castle County.

“DNREC has a strong commitment to ensuring that all Delawareans, especially those in underserved areas, have equal access to green spaces where residents of all ages can enjoy being outdoors,” said Secretary Garvin. “Rain gardens not only allow the growth of green spaces without the need for watering or regular maintenance, they absorb excess water and can reduce flash flooding, which is especially important in city communities like Simonds Gardens with predominately impervious surfaces.”

“We’re thrilled with the impact Habitat for Humanity of New Castle County has made in the Simonds Gardens neighborhood, and we’re excited to be a partner in this new venture,” said New Castle County Executive Matt Meyer. “Positive outcomes will occur when we put our collective minds and hearts together for our communities.”

“From helping Habitat for Humanity with brownfield remediation on 52 homes in Wilmington, to now assisting with an environmental beautification project in Simonds Gardens, DNREC has been an outstanding partner with us helping us improve the lives of families and communities through housing and neighborhood engagement activities,” said Kevin L. Smith, CEO, Habitat for Humanity of New Castle County.

“On behalf of the Simonds Gardens Civic Association, we would like to thank Habitat for another successful project and great partnership over the years and for helping us change our community for the better good,” said Jaywann Saunders, president of the Simonds Garden Civic Association.

Last year, DNREC awarded the Simonds Gardens community a $25,000 Community Environmental Project Fund (CEPF) grant that supported Habitat’s Rock the Block events, as well as home energy efficiency toolkits and education. The CEPF grant program was created by the Delaware General Assembly in 2004 to fund restoration projects in communities impacted by environmental pollution. Grant funding is available to affected communities for projects that result in reduced pollution, enhanced natural resources and enhanced recreational opportunities. More information is available at de.gov/cepf.

The Simonds Gardens Rock the Block event is HFHNCC’s sixth neighborhood revitalization event since July 2021, with more scheduled across Wilmington this fall and in the spring of 2023. Sponsorships and grants are needed to fund the growing need to transform Wilmington communities, one block at a time, one park at a time.

Habitat for Humanity NCC is seeking volunteers for upcoming Rock the Block events. For more information, contact Andre Wilburn at awilburn@habitatncc.org and register as a volunteer at www.habitatncc.org/volunteer.

About DNREC
The Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control protects and manages the state’s natural resources, protects public health, provides outdoor recreational opportunities and educates Delawareans about the environment. For more information, visit the website and connect with @DelawareDNREC on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.

About Habitat for Humanity of New Castle County
Habitat for Humanity of New Castle County (HFHNCC) celebrates 35 years of impact in 2021. To date, HFHNCC has built 256 homes and served over 600 families. Committed to changing lives and landscapes, HFHNCC provides affordable housing solutions for hard working, low-income families. Habitat engages residents in improving their neighborhoods, provides free critical home repairs to preserve existing homeownership, conducts financial literacy and home maintenance education for families in our homeownership program and builds affordable housing.

Media Contacts: DNREC, Joanna Wilson, joanna.wilson@delaware.gov; Habitat for Humanity NCC, Kathi Barber, KBarber@habitatncc.org