Delaware 2019 Arbor Day

Delaware celebrates Arbor Day

DOVER, Del. — Delaware celebrated Arbor Day in Dover, an annual occasion to highlight the many benefits of trees and encourage communities to plant more of them. The Delaware Forest Service hosted its annual Arbor Day Ceremony at Dover’s Schutte Park, honoring its school poster contest winners and recognizing Dover’s 30th Year as the First State’s longest-running Tree City USA. The event culminated with the planting of more than 30 large trees at six locations, including a zelkova on the historic Green on State Street. Delaware State University also held its Arbor Day event and celebrated its 8th consecutive year as Delaware’s only certified Tree Campus USA, followed by a ceremonial tree planting on campus.

Check out more Arbor Day event photos on Flickr or at the Delaware Forest Service Facebook Page

Ellie Merrick, a 5th-grader at Southern Delaware School of the Arts in Selbyville, was the State Winner of the Arbor Day Poster Contest.
Attendees joined Dover city officials as they unfurled their new Tree City USA banner recognizing “30 Years” – the most in the First State.
Delaware State University celebrated its 8th consecutive year as a certified Tree Campus USA – the only one in the First State.
Unfazed by the rain, Arbor Day event attendees helped to plant a new zelkova tree on Dover’s historic Green.
State forester Michael A. Valenti and Delaware Forest Service trainer-educator Ashley Melvin congratulated Dover Mayor Robin Christiansen on the city’s 30th Year as a Tree City USA, the longest of any municipality in the First State.

DNREC Secretary Shawn M. Garvin joins schoolchildren to celebrate Arbor Day at Bellevue State Park

Wilmington – DNREC Secretary Shawn M. Garvin today was joined by schoolchildren and members of the Friends of Bellevue State Park in planting a tree to celebrate Arbor Day at the park. A group of young people from Wilmington Friends School, Wilmington Montessori School, and several Bellevue State Park spring break day campers were on hand at the event.

“Trees are our friends,” Secretary Garvin told the young students. “They create an ecosystem to provide habitat, not just for birds, but also for other wildlife. They also release oxygen and improve air quality. Trees also help conserve energy and water, and help preserve the soil.”

The children helped Secretary Garvin plant a ceremonial tree to mark the occasion and each child was given a tree to take home to plant. That was followed by a nature walk through the park.

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

Arbor Day 2019: Poster Contest Winners and Community Events

Ellie Merrick, a fifth-grader at Southern Delaware School of the Arts in Selbyville, won the 2019 Arbor Day School Poster Contest.

Almost 100 years before Earth Day, Arbor Day was established on April 10, 1872 by J. Sterling Morton in Nebraska City, Nebraska. It is believed more than one million trees were planted on the first Arbor Day. In Delaware, Arbor Day is traditionally celebrated on the last Friday in April, which falls on April 26, 2019. This year, the Delaware Forest Service will help Dover celebrate its 30th Anniversary as a Tree City USA by planting more than 30 trees at parks and streets throughout the city.

DOVER, Del. — Ellie Merrick, a 5th-grader at Southern Delaware School of the Arts in Selbyville, has been named the State Winner of the Delaware Forest Service’s 2019 Arbor Day Poster Contest. This year’s theme – “Trees Are Terrific…in Cities and Towns!” – was chosen to highlight the benefits of trees in our communities .The annual Arbor Day Poster Contest is open to Delaware students in grades K-5 in all public, private, charter, and home schools. Winners receive a tree-themed book, a free tree planting ceremony at their school (courtesy of sponsor Delmarva Power) and an invitation for them and their families to attend the State Arbor Day Ceremony with Governor Carney in Dover on April 26.

Winners were selected by a panel of judges for each county (New Castle, Kent, Sussex) in the following grade categories: kindergarten, grades 1-2, grades 3-4, and grade 5. Posters were judged on originality, use of theme, neatness, and artistic expression. The Arbor Day Poster Contest is designed to teach students about the role of trees and their direct impact on the health and well-being of Delaware residents.

View the complete gallery of 2019 Delaware Arbor Day Poster Contest Winners.

2019 Delaware Arbor Day Poster Contest Winners

New Castle  
Kindergarten Avery Thomas — Cedar Lane Early Childhood Ctr., Middletown
Grades 1-2 Lydia Sperati — Jennie Smith Elementary, Newark
Grades 3-4 Patricia Gomes —  All Saints Catholic School, Wilmington
Grade 5 Jayden Fuller  — Brandywine Springs Elementary, Wilmington
Kindergarten Abigail Carter — McIlvaine Early Childhood Ctr., Magnolia
Grades 1-2 Bella Cooper — Allen Frear Elementary, Camden
Grades 3-4 Sarah Armstrong —  Allen Frear Elementary, Camden
Grade 5 Sophia Yuckel  — Allen Frear Elementary, Camden
Kindergarten Loana Marquez Mendez — H.O. Brittingham Elem., Milton
Grades 1-2 Zoe Bontrager-Thomas — Mispillion Elementary, Milford
Grades 3-4 Ava Strong — Southern Delaware School of Arts, Selbyville
Grade 5 Ellie Merrick  — Southern Delaware School of Arts, Selbyville


The Delaware Forest Service also distributes free pine seedlings annually to Delaware elementary school children on a first-come, first-served basis. Once again, RSVP (Retired Senior Volunteer Program) volunteers from the Modern Maturity Center of Dover help to wrap thousands of seedlings to distribute to schoolchildren throughout the First State.

RSVP volunteers seedling wrap
Volunteers from Dover’s Modern Maturity Center RSVP Program  helped wrap thousands of pine seedlings for Delaware schoolchildren for Arbor Day activities.

Planned 2019 Arbor Day Events in Delaware

  • City of New Castle
    Friday April 26 – 10 a.m. – 4th & Chestnut, New Castle
    Tree planting and Arbor Day Ceremony
  • Delaware State University, Dover
    Friday April 26 – 11 a.m. – MLK, Jr. Student Center
    “Arbor Day Tree Planting on DSU Campus”
  • City of Lewes – 150th Arbor Day Celebration
    Saturday, April 27 at 10 a.m. – George H.P. Smith Park – Arbor Day Planting
    *** Also: free tree seminar at the Margaret H. Rollins Community Center at 111 Adams Ave.  
  • Town of Ocean View
    Friday, April 26, 2019 at 2 p.m. – John West Park
    Town of Ocean View Celebrates Arbor Day” – John West Park, 32 West Ave., Ocean View. Boy Scouts from Troop 281 will assist members of the Ocean View Town Council in planting several trees in the Park. There will be educational engagement opportunities and some fun Arbor Day activities for families until 6 p.m. including a youth art project and family photo-ops sporting Hug-A-Tree and Earth Day themes! The first 50 interested participants will get a free redbud seedling.
  • Bayside, Fenwick Island
    Friday, April 26 – 9:00 a.m. – 31252 Americana Pkwy., Selbyville
    Arbor Day Event and Tree Planting
  • City of Rehoboth Beach
    Arbor Day Tree Planting
    Monday, April 29 – Rehoboth Beach Elementary School
  • City of Milford – 16th Annual Bug & Bud Festival
    Saturday, May 4 – 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. – Walnut St., Front Streets and the Mispillion Riverwalk in historic downtown Milford, Delaware.
    Expected to attract more than 9,000 visitors this year, the Bug & Bud Festival serves as a celebration of Arbor Day, the City of Milford’s designation as a Tree City U.S.A. and Milford’s role in the ladybug’s designation as the State Bug of Delaware.

DNREC’s Nonpoint Source Program offering free trees to Delaware residents in partnership with DDA’s Forest Service

Delaware residents can go to to order a free tree.

DOVER – DNREC’s Division of Watershed Stewardship Nonpoint Source Program is offering a free tree to Delaware residents in partnership with the Delaware Forest Service’s Urban and Community Forestry program within the Department of Agriculture. The free tree program is part of the Arbor Day Foundation’s Community Canopy Project to expand tree canopies in cities and towns across the country. Trees can be reserved at

Trees planted in strategic locations around a house can provide homeowners with numerous benefits, including: cleaner air and water, improved property values, less storm water runoff and flooding, and lower energy bills through reduced heating and cooling costs.

An online tool on the Arbor Day Foundation site helps Delawareans estimate the annual energy savings that can result from planting trees in the most strategic location near their homes or businesses. Residents can reserve one tree per household, and are expected to care for and plant their trees in the location suggested by the online tool. Quantities of trees are limited and the types of trees offered include the following: American sycamore, black tupelo, shadblow, serviceberry, swamp white oak, and tulip tree.

The program will continue until all 1,200 trees are reserved. Smaller trees will be delivered directly to homeowners at their mailing address. The larger two-to-four foot tall trees will be available for pickup from 3-7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 26 or 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 27 at the Delaware Department of Agriculture at 2320 South DuPont Highway, Dover, DE 19901.

“Not only does this project help beautify our city’s landscape, it also provides immense environmental benefits that can help Dover residents save money on their energy bills,” said Marcia Fox, DNREC Nonpoint Source Program manager and chair of the state’s Urban and Community Forestry Council.

The “Community Canopy Project” online tool was created by the Arbor Day Foundation and the Davey Institute, a division of Davey Tree Expert Co., and uses peer-reviewed scientific research from the USDA Forest Service’s i-Tree software to calculate estimated benefits. In addition to providing approximate energy savings, the tool also estimates the trees’ other benefits, including cleaner air, reduced carbon dioxide emissions, and improved storm water management.

For more information about reserving a tree, please call 855-234-3801.

Media contact: Joanna Wilson, DNREC Public Affairs, 302-739-9902

Vol. 48, No. 282


DNREC Division of Parks & Recreation announces the dedication of a forest in each county into the Old Growth Forest Network

Students from Maple Lane Elementary School join Governor John Carney (left) and DNREC Secretary Shawn M. Garvin at the Tulip Tree Woods Nature Preserve in Brandywine Creek State Park, dedicated today as part of the Old Growth Forest Network, a national organization working for forest preservation.
Students from Maple Lane Elementary School join Governor John Carney (left) and DNREC Secretary Shawn M. Garvin at the Tulip Tree Woods Nature Preserve in Brandywine Creek State Park, dedicated today as part of the Old Growth Forest Network, a national organization working for forest preservation.

WILMINGTON – At an Arbor Day celebration today at the Tulip Tree Nature Preserve in Wilmington, DNREC’s Division of Parks & Recreation and the Old Growth Forest Network announced that Delaware is the first state in the nation to be recognized for dedicating a mature forest in each of its counties into the nationally-recognized Old Growth Forest Network. Each of the forests to be recognized is also a state nature preserve.

Governor John Carney joined DNREC Secretary Shawn M. Garvin to make the announcement, during a ceremony at one of the designated nature preserves – the Tulip Tree Woods Nature Preserve in Brandywine Creek State Park.

In addition to the Tulip Tree Wood Nature Preserve, the two other preserves designated in the network of protected forests are the Fork Branch Nature Preserve in Dover and the Nanticoke River (Barnes Woods) Nature Preserve outside Seaford.

“Delaware has great outdoor spaces, and we should all take steps to protect our environment for future generations,” said Governor John Carney. “This designation will help boost Delaware’s growing eco-tourism industry, and add value to our $3.3. billion dollar tourism industry, by bringing even more visitors to our great state. We’re proud to recognize and protect the special nature of our preserves, and help promote a national effort to recognize the wonder of these areas on Arbor Day.”

“Delaware is proud to dedicate a forest in each county into the Old Growth Forest Network.” said DNREC Secretary Shawn M. Garvin. “By doing so, we are furthering protection of forests, promoting these special places, and recognizing the importance for future generations to enjoy. We can be proud of this distinction.”

The Old Growth Forest Network is a national non-profit organization whose goal is to connect people with nature by identifying and protecting mature forests, like those found in Delaware’s three nature preserves. The network seeks to preserve, protect, and promote the few remaining stands of old-growth forest in the U.S.

The organization was founded in 2011 by scientist and author Joan Maloof of Salisbury University, now executive director of the organization, which is based in Easton, Md.

“As a Delaware native I am thrilled that my home state is the first state to have all of its counties represented in the Old Growth Forest Network,” said Maloof. “To be fair, with only three counties Delaware was one of the easiest states to complete, but it is still a significant accomplishment. To have all the forests dedicated into the network in a single day is very exciting. These forests will be forever protected from logging, and will be open to the public. Countless organisms will find the habitat they need in these shady forests, and generations of humans will find peace under their leafy canopies.”

The Old Growth Forest Network also has dedicated forests in California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Virginia, and is expanding across the U.S.

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

Vol. 48, No. 93