DNREC Premiering New Nature Film ‘Wetlands of Wonder: The Hidden World of Vernal Pools’

‘Wetlands of Wonder: The Hidden World of Vernal Pools,’ a 54-minute nature documentary produced by DNREC in partnership with 302 Stories and filmmaker Michael Oates, will air starting today on DNREC’s YouTube Channel

 

Free Admission Through DNREC’s YouTube Channel

The Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control has partnered with the production company 302 Stories and writer-director Michael Oates to produce and premiere the nature documentary “Wetlands of Wonder: The Hidden World of Vernal Pools.” The 54-minute film features a panoramic voyage into Delmarva Bays called vernal pools, unique wetland ecosystems found in Delaware, Maryland, and Virginia. The film began airing today on DNREC’s YouTube Channel.

Vernal pools – also known as Coastal Plain seasonal ponds – are small, isolated wetlands that usually emerge in shallow depressions in the ground around forests, seasonally-flooded woodlands or floodplains. Though seasonally inundated, these ecosystems seldom hold water year-round, yet provide important habitat for amphibians and invertebrates, particularly for breeding purposes. Vernal pools, like other wetlands, also provide critical benefits to water quality and function for sustaining fauna and flora across the Delmarva Peninsula.

“Vernal pools are typically small in size, but provide enormous ecological value to a wide variety of species,” said DNREC Secretary Shawn M. Garvin. “This film captures the uniqueness of this little-known wetland type, by putting audiences in contact with rare species found in and around forests, woodlands, floodplains and even underwater.”

The film features a journey through the seasons in vernal pools spanning a year in the life of the species that call these habitats home. Filmmaker Oates and partners including DNREC’s Wetland Monitoring and Assessment program and DNREC Division of Fish and Wildlife staff provide up-close views as well as rare underwater footage of the daily behavior of species that inhabit vernal pools. Included in this hidden world are some of Delaware’s rare and endangered species, such as the Eastern tiger salamander and the barking tree frog, and from the plant world yellow-eyed grass and bog button.

Also featured in the film are monitoring efforts by DNREC scientists and biologists to track environmental changes that impact the function of animal and plant species in these natural areas. “Wetlands of Wonder” also boasts interviews with a range of environmental staff and students from across Delmarva who work to improve research that can lead to a better understanding of this rare natural resource.

Additional production partners for the film include the Delaware Forest Service, University of Delaware, Delaware Nature Society, Eastern Mennonite University and Virginia Vernal Pools, LLC. Funding to produce the documentary was provided by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration through DNREC.

More information about “Wetlands of Wonder: The Hidden World of Vernal Pools” can be found at 302stories.com. The full-length documentary is available from today on DNREC’s 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. For more information, visit the website and connect with @DelawareDNREC on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or LinkedIn.

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

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DNREC Seeks Entries for Delaware Watersheds Photo Contest

Great Blue Heron at Trap Pond, by 2021 contest winner Sharon Denny.

 

Photographers of all ages and skill levels are invited to participate in the Delaware Watersheds Photo Contest. Hosted by the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control, the contest will share the beauty of Delaware’s diverse environment while acting as a vivid reminder that everything that happens on land directly affects what happens in our waterways.

A watershed is land that water moves across or under while flowing to a specific body of water. All land in Delaware is part of a watershed. This year, images taken in any watershed within the state of Delaware will be accepted. The contest opens online for entries on Thursday, Oct. 13, 2022 and closes on Thursday, Nov. 10, 2022.

“This contest challenges photographers to go out to capture and share the unique beauty and functionality of Delaware’s watersheds,” said DNREC Secretary Shawn M. Garvin. “In addition, sharing these photos will help highlight areas of the state that have an important and significant role in improving our water quality and managing water quantity, which are both under threat due to the impacts of climate change on our state.”

A panel of judges consisting of a photographer, an educator and a scientist from DNREC staff will be looking for striking photographic images of Delaware’s waterways, landscapes, sustainable watershed practices, native plants and animals and agricultural practices. The judging panel will determine the finalists whose work will be posted online, with the winning photograph to be chosen by public voting through the DNREC Watershed Facebook page.

The winner will receive a prize pack including a $250 Visa gift card, a 2023 Delaware State Parks annual pass, a print of the winning photograph, and a certificate signed by Governor John Carney and DNREC Secretary Shawn M. Garvin. The winning photo also will be published in Outdoor Delaware online magazine at de.gov/outdoordelaware.

To enter the Delaware Watersheds Photo Contest, use the online submission form at de.gov/watershed. The form should include the entrant’s name, phone number, address, email address, a photo description and the location where the image was taken. A legal parent or guardian must complete the form for contestants under the age of 18. Images must be at least 1650 by 2100 pixels resolution but no larger than 10MB, and the digital image must be submitted in .jpeg or .png format. Only photos that meet the criteria, along with a completed form, will be eligible. DNREC staff members and immediate family are not eligible to submit photos in the contest.

Learn more about Delaware watersheds at de.gov/howyoucanhelpwetlands.

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. 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

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Blackbird Creek Reserve to Host Fall Festival

The Blackbird Creek Fall Festival is a day of family-friendly fun celebrating the arrival of autumn and the beauty of the Blackbird Creek Reserve. DNREC photo.

 

Event Features Hayrides, Artisans, Crafts and More

The annual Blackbird Creek Fall Festival returns Saturday, Oct. 15, with a day of free family fun and entertainment. The Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control’s Delaware National Estuarine Research Reserve (DNERR) hosts the festival at the Blackbird Creek Reserve, along the banks of Blackbird Creek. The festival will take place rain or shine, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., at the Blackbird Creek Reserve, 801 Blackbird Landing Road, near Townsend.

“The Blackbird Creek Fall Festival provides a great opportunity to learn about the natural and cultural heritage of the Delaware Bay, said DNREC Secretary Shawn M. Garvin. “The free festival has become a go-to event for those looking to get outside and enjoy a fun-filled fall day.”

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

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

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

The Delaware National Estuarine Research Reserve, with components at 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 nationwide. Designated in 1993, DNERR has grown to protect 6,364 acres in two counties, incorporating a variety of important ecosystems that range from the Delaware Bay to upland forests. DNERR staff focus on habitat restoration, educational programs, creating land stewardship demonstration areas, and using the Reserve as a living laboratory for long-term data monitoring since 1995. More information about the reserve can be found at de.gov/dnerr.

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: Joanna Wilson, joanna.wilson@delaware.gov; Jim Lee, JamesW.Lee@delaware.gov.


Delaware Climate Leadership Academy to Launch Second Cohort

Enrollment Eligibility Expanded to Higher Education, Non-profits and Private Sector

Faculty and staff at institutions of higher education, representatives of non-profit organizations and private sector professionals working in sustainability and environmental planning can now join state and local government employees in registering for and enrolling in the fall Delaware Climate Leadership Academy, the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control announced today.

Ninety state and local employees, representing 10 state agencies and five local governments, participated in the inaugural Delaware Climate Leadership Academy classes, which launched in April. Eligibility for participating in the Climate Leadership Academy has been expanded to include enrollment of non-government professionals. Curriculum is targeted toward experienced professionals with sustainability, environmental, engineering, planning, infrastructure, energy, health, agriculture, emergency management, facility and risk management backgrounds.

The Academy’s training curriculum helps participants learn how climate change is impacting the First State, how Delaware can best prepare for these challenges, and how the state can reduce emissions and improve resilience. “Every state agency, local government and business in our state is affected by climate change. Delaware’s Climate Leadership Academy has already helped a number of state and local governments prepare for climate change and begin to develop solutions,” said DNREC Secretary Shawn M. Garvin. “Opening up the Academy to other professionals will further expand our abilities to identify and address the challenges of climate change across the state.”

The Academy, which is administered by DNREC in partnership with the Association of Climate Change Officers (ACCO), provides training that teaches participants to integrate concepts of climate change mitigation and adaptation into their professional decision-making.

The virtual training includes instruction on:

  • understanding climate science and assessing vulnerability;
  • the basics of greenhouse gas accounting, reporting and disclosure;
  • engaging organizational and community stakeholders to lead change;
  • the economics of climate change and managing climate risk in your organization.

Delaware-specific sessions include training on:

  • data on temperature, precipitation, extreme weather events and sea level rise trend projections in the First State;
  • minimizing emissions and utilizing initiatives already in place to achieve reductions;
  • maximizing resilience, with a focus on adapting to increasing temperatures, precipitation, flooding and sea level rise.

The live, online training is administered in both daytime and evening cohorts. There is no fee for the 40-hour, two-month training. However, participants outside of government pursuing ACCO’s Certified Climate Change Professional (CC-P) credential would be required to pay the CC-P application and exam fee. Those fees are waived for government employees.

The deadline to register is Oct. 24. For more information about the Academy and to register, visit de.gov/climateacademy.

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

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DNREC Seeks Volunteers for Delaware Coastal Cleanup Sept. 17

Volunteers picking up trash on the beach in a past Delaware Coastal Cleanup. (2017)

 

The Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control is hosting the 35th annual Delaware Coastal Cleanup on Saturday, Sept. 17 from 9 a.m. to noon at 41 sites statewide to help keep the state’s beaches and waterways free of trash. Volunteers are encouraged to sign up for the one-day coordinated event when online volunteer registration opens on Monday, Aug. 1.

In addition, Delawareans and visitors are invited to join the month-long campaign starting Sept. 1 to clean up neighborhoods, green spaces and waterways throughout the state on days, times and at locations of their choice. The coordinated event and month-long campaign support Governor John Carney’s Keep DE Litter Free initiative.

“In 2019, we launched the Keep DE Litter Free initiative with the goal of building stronger communities and working together to keep our state beautiful by keeping our coastlines and outdoor spaces clear of litter,” Governor Carney said. “I thank our other state and local partners who plan and support the Delaware Coastal Cleanup, and I encourage all Delawareans to participate on cleanup day – and all year round.”

“DNREC encourages all Delawareans and visitors to make time to help keep our beaches, waterways and wetlands clean and free of trash throughout the year,” said DNREC Secretary Shawn M. Garvin. “The Coastal Cleanup is a great reminder that volunteers of all ages can make a difference, whether they sign up for the Sept. 17 statewide cleanup event or choose their own time, date and place to pick up trash.”

Volunteers picking up trash on the beach at Fox Point in New Castle County in a past Delaware Coastal Cleanup. (2019)
Volunteers picking up trash on the beach at Fox Point in New Castle County in a past Delaware Coastal Cleanup. (2019)

For the Sept. 17 coordinated cleanup, volunteers should sign up by Wednesday, Aug. 31 for their choice of sites through the Coastal Cleanup page at de.gov/coastalcleanup. Site captains with supplies will be on site to sign in volunteers and provide trash bags and directions. Although gloves, paper data cards and pencils will be available upon request, volunteers are encouraged to bring their own gloves and to use the online Coastal Cleanup reporting tool, when it goes live Sept. 1, to share their findings. Walkups are not encouraged due to volunteer site capacity limitations.

Find ideas about how to get involved in the 2022 Delaware Coastal Cleanup on Facebook and Twitter. Volunteers in both the coordinated event on Sept. 17 and the month-long campaign can post photos on facebook.com/DelawareDNREC for a chance to win a 2023 Delaware State Parks pass and a prize bag. Volunteers can post photos as often as they like throughout the month, with each photo counting as a one entry. All volunteers should also report their findings and are invited to share photos through the Coastal Cleanup page. Results will be updated during all month long and will appear on an interactive map.

Last year, nearly 600 volunteers filled about 400 bags, cleaning up 5,500 pounds of trash from waterways, wetlands and other natural areas. The top five trash items collected were: 7,671 cigarette butts; 2,921 plastic and glass beverage bottles and cans; 1,785 food containers; 846 plastic bags; and 381 balloons.

Cleaning up locally makes a big difference statewide and keeps trash from entering waterways and making its way to beaches and beyond. DNREC suggests several ways to help make a difference all year long:

  • Be proactive by picking up trash near your home to keep your neighborhood clean.
  • Follow a carry-in/carry out plan and take all trash with you when visiting outdoor spaces, like Delaware State Parks, DNREC wildlife areas, Delaware National Estuarine Research Reserve locations, and county or local parks.
  • Pack a bag and rubber gloves when you take a walk, go for a hike, go hunting or fishing, etc., to collect and carry out trash you find along the way.
  • Recycle applicable items through in-home recycling or designated drop-off locations. Learn more at de.gov/recycling.

DNREC reminds everyone to wear gloves when picking up trash, wash hands thoroughly after cleanup activities, and follow all recent public area protocols, including the most current COVID-19 guidance.

More information and volunteer registration can be found at de.gov/coastalcleanup. Volunteers also can email questions to DNREC_Coastal_Cleanup@delaware.gov.

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.

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