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. 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.
The Delaware Forest Service will host its “23rd Annual Fire Camp” event at Blackbird State Forest (502 Blackbird Forest Road, Smyrna DE 19977) on Saturday, March 30 from 6:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. The intensive one-day seminar is the capstone of the agency’s wildfire training program to certify its emergency firefighters to meet National Wildfire Coordinating Group standards. State forest visitors should be advised that trail closures and other restrictions will be in effect for the event.
Volunteers are needed to plant 2,000 hardwood seedlings at Blackbird State Forest on Saturday and Sunday, April 13 and 14, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day. Two seniors from Middletown High School, Bryan Alberding and Nick Kupsick, are leading the project in cooperation with the Delaware Forest Service and the DNREC Nonpoint Source Program (NPS), which is funding the trees. The project will take place on Blackbird State Forest’s Naudain Tract, 2076 Harvey Straughn Road, Townsend, Delaware 19734. The rain date is April 27 and 28, 2019.
A controlled burn on a 43-acre former farm field along U.S. Route 301 will provide fertile ground for “Delaware’s first pollinator mitigation site” – where state officials hope native wildflowers will flourish to restore lost habitat for pollinators such as bees and birds.
The Delaware Forest Service conducted the successful firing operation on March 20 in cooperation DelDOT and DNREC’s Division of Fish and Wildlife, which supplied valuable personnel, logistical support, and equipment. Thanks to favorable weather conditions and DelDOT lane adjustments on U.S. 301 North, the four-hour burn caused minimal disruptions to traffic and virtually no smoke effects on the adjacent Spring Mill housing development.
The Delaware Forest Service’s Arbor Day School Poster Contest is now accepting entries from Delaware students in grades K to 5 in all private, public, charter, and home schools. Winners will be selected from each county in the following grade categories: K, 1-2, 3-4, and 5. Awards will be presented at the State Arbor Day Ceremony with Governor John Carney. This year’s theme – “Trees Are Terrific…in Cities and Towns!” – is designed to increase knowledge about the benefits of trees in our communities. The deadline to register is March 15 and the deadline to submit posters is March 29.