Help Document Bird Species at Delaware Reserves

The Clapper Rail, also known as a saltwater marsh hen, is a bird species that can be seen in Delaware. /DNREC photo

 

Citizen Science Project at Blackbird Creek and St. Jones Runs Through 2022

The Delaware National Estuarine Research Reserve (DNERR) is encouraging visitors to help with a data collection project by documenting the species of birds they see while visiting the Blackbird Creek and St. Jones reserves.

The year-long project will help create a snapshot of the birds that visit the lands within DNERR’s boundaries, and will help provide input for conservation plans, land stewardship and restoration efforts.

The Bald Eagle, Red-Shouldered Hawk, Clapper Rail and tree swallows are among the birds that have been spotted by volunteers so far this year.

The Delaware National Estuarine Research Reserve (DNERR) is one of 30 National Estuarine Research Reserves across the country whose goal is to establish, protect and manage natural estuarine habitats for research, education and coastal stewardship.

The DNERR has two main components, the Blackbird Creek Reserve in Townsend and the St. Jones Reserve in Dover.

Birdwatchers often will challenge themselves to see or hear as many birds or bird species as possible within a single year. DNERR’s Big Year is a similar challenge, but visitors to the reserve don’t have to be avid birdwatchers to participate in the citizen science project.

“Citizen science projects like our Big Year and Chronolog are ways that visitors to the reserve can help with ongoing research,” said Laurel Sullivan, education coordinator for DNERR.

Chronolog stations set up at Blackbird Creek and St. Jones allow visitors to take a photo with their smartphone and upload it into a database. The photos are used to create a timelapse project to help observe and document environmental changes.

Volunteers who want to participate in DNERR’s Big Year Challenge must register. They can then log their observations during the year into one of two apps, iNaturalist or eBird. Volunteers can join at any time during the year.

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 Climate, Coastal and Energy uses science, education, policy development and incentives to address Delaware’s climate, energy and coastal challenges. For more information, visit the website and connect with @DelawareDNREC on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.

Media Contact: Michael Globetti, Michael.globetti@delaware.gov or Jim Lee, JamesW.Lee@delaware.gov


Blackbird Creek Reserve Hosts Fall Festival

A craftsman plies his trade during a recent Blackbird Creek Fall Festival at the Blackbird Creek Reserve in Townsend. Blackbird Creek is part of the Delaware National Estuarine Research Reserve.

 

Family fun, food and entertainment await visitors to the 13th annual Blackbird Creek Fall Festival on Saturday, Oct. 16.

The Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control’s Delaware National Estuarine Research Reserve (DNERR) hosts the festival at the reserve, along the banks of Blackbird Creek. The festival will take place rain or shine, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 16, at the Blackbird Creek Reserve, 801 Blackbird Landing Road, near Townsend.

Woodworking at the Blackbird Creek Fall Festival in Townsend
Woodworking at the Blackbird Creek Fall Festival in Townsend. This year’s festival is set for Saturday, Oct. 16.

The Delaware National Estuarine Research Reserve, consisting of the Blackbird Creek Reserve and the St. Jones Reserve in Dover, is part of a national system of reserves that protects more than 1.3 million acres of coastal land and water.

“The festival is a popular event that provides free fun for the whole family, while also providing opportunities to learn about the natural and cultural heritage of the Delaware Bay,” said DNREC Secretary Shawn M. Garvin.

The festival will feature traditional crafts, a chainsaw carver, hands-on learning about the estuary, canoeing, live music, food trucks and kids’ activities. Visitors may also browse the works of artisans, enjoy hayrides, go on a guided hike of the reserve and check out the educational exhibitors.

Families also can get a “passport” and earn a prize by visiting all the participating stations throughout the festival, learning about the natural resources and heritage of the Delaware Bay through games, demonstrations and challenges.

More information on the Blackbird Creek Fall Festival is at de.gov/blackbirdfestival.

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 Climate, Coastal and Energy uses science, education, policy development and incentives to address Delaware’s climate, energy and coastal challenges. For more information, visit the website and connect with @DelawareDNREC on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.

Media Contacts: Michael Globetti, Michael.Globetti@delaware.gov or Jim Lee, JamesW.Lee@delaware.gov

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Take a Summer Photo for Science and the Environment

Broadkill Beach CoastSnap Station for citizen science photos

 

DNREC Encourages Community Science at Beaches and Marshes

As the summer comes to a close, the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control is encouraging community members and visitors to the First State to use their smartphones to help monitor environmental change.

DNREC’s Division of Watershed Stewardship Shoreline and Division of Climate, Coastal and Energy recently installed five monitoring stations at three sites along Delaware’s beaches and at two sites comprising the Delaware National Estuarine Research Reserve (DNERR).

Visitors to the beach sites can use a smartphone app called CoastSnap, while guests at the marsh and reforestation sites at DNERR can upload and send photos by email through Chronolog.

CoastSnap locations include Broadkill Beach, Herring Point in Cape Henlopen State Park, and the south side of Indian River Inlet in Delaware Seashore State Park. CoastSnap DE is a partnership among DNREC, the University of Delaware and Delaware Sea Grant, which funded the initiative.

Chronolog stations are located at the St. Jones Reserve in Dover and at the Blackbird Creek Reserve in Townsend. For both efforts, the photos will be used to create a timelapse project for helping to observe and document environmental changes.

Instructions on how to upload photos are displayed at each of the locations.

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 Climate, Coastal and Energy uses science, education, policy development and incentives to address Delaware’s climate, energy and coastal challenges. For more information, visit the website and connect with @DelawareDNREC on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.

Media Contacts: Michael Globetti, Michael.globetti@delaware.gov or Jim Lee, JamesW.Lee@delaware.gov

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St. Jones Reserve trail in Dover temporarily closed due to storm damage

Trails in parks, wildlife areas and DNERR’s Blackbird Creek Reserve remain open

DOVER, Del. – The trail at the St. Jones Delaware National Estuarine Research Reserve (DNERR) near Dover is temporarily closed past the first marsh boardwalk as a result of damage caused by Monday’s severe storms.

A University of Delaware-operated weather station at the reserve measured a peak wind gust of 67.9 miles per hour just before 4 p.m. Monday. Numerous trees fell across the trail that connects to the adjoining Ted Harvey Conservation Area. Staff have worked to clear the trees and will need to perform repairs to the boardwalk, which could take a few weeks. A small greenhouse on the reserve was also destroyed by a fallen tree.

“Many people enjoy getting out and walking the trail at St. Jones, especially lately,” said Dayna Cobb, Director of DNREC’s Division of Climate, Coastal & Energy. “But the safety of visitors is our primary concern, and so much of the trail will be closed until repairs are completed.”

For those looking for alternatives, state parks and wildlife areas remain open, as well as the trails at DNERR’s Blackbird Creek Reserve near Townsend.

While most state parks, nature and wildlife areas continue to stay open for Delawareans, many amenities, including restrooms, are closed. Individuals who visit state properties are required to engage in responsible social distancing practices, avoiding groupings of people.

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 DNREC on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.

Media Contact: Joanna Wilson, joanna.wilson@delaware.gov

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DNREC’s Division of Climate, Coastal & Energy seeks applicants for new NOAA estuary research fellowship

A researcher, research intern, and scholar conduct sediment core sampling in the salt marsh at the St. Jones Estuary in Dover. DNREC staff photo.

DOVER – The Delaware National Estuarine Research Reserve, administered through DNREC’s Division of Climate, Coastal & Energy, is seeking applicants for a new two-year fellowship sponsored by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which shares oversight with DNREC for the state’s estuarine reserves on the St. Jones River near Dover and Blackbird Creek in Townsend.

“We are excited to be collaborating with NOAA in offering this new graduate fellowship opportunity,” said Kimberly Cole, Environmental Program administrator with DNREC’s Division of Climate, Coastal & Energy. “Fellows will select and work to address a key coastal management question in an effort to help DNREC scientists and coastal communities understand challenges that may influence policy and management strategies.”

NOAA’s Margaret A. Davidson Graduate Fellowship program provides students the opportunity to conduct collaborative research projects focused on the nation’s estuaries. Melissa Ladd, NOAA’s national coordinator of the program, said what makes the fellowship program exceptional is that focus. “We are dedicated to research that gives our communities the facts needed to make wise decisions when it comes to deciding how coastal resources are used and managed,” Ladd said. “This program also provides students with the experiences and professional growth skills that will serve them, and our environment, throughout their careers.”

The Delaware National Estuarine Research Reserve (DNERR) is one of 29 reserves in the National Estuarine Research Reserve System, with the state’s two components, the St. Jones Reserve and the Blackbird Creek Reserve, focused on practicing and promoting coastal and estuarine stewardship through innovative research and education, using a system of protected areas.

Each of the national reserves in the system will host a fellowship program. These sites combine to protect 1.3 million estuarine acres, and are home to some of the nation’s most progressive science and educational programs. Each reserve designates its research priorities, from habitat changes to water quality and more.

Interested graduate students should work with their university or college faculty advisor to submit applications by Dec. 20, 2019. To apply, or for additional details and research priorities, visit NOAA’s fellowship website. For more information, please email OCM.DavidsonFellowship@noaa.gov.

For more DNREC information, visit Delaware Coastal Management Program or Delaware National Estuarine Research Reserve.

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

Vol. 49, No. 216