Middletown FFA wins forestry career event

From left, Middletown’s winning FFA forestry team: Jenna Harmon, Kathryn McMenamin, Jenna McDermott, and Paige Akers. The team will represent Delaware at the 92nd Annual National FFA Convention & Expo in Indianapolis beginning on October 30.

Middletown High School FFA students won the 2019 “Forestry Career Development Event (CDE),” a challenging test of tree identification skills, forestry tools and knowledge, and math-related abilities. Also participating were teams from Sussex Central High School, Milford High School, and Millsboro Middle School. Each team consisted of four students who answered both individual and team-based questions. Middletown will now represent Delaware at the 92nd Annual National FFA Convention and Expo in Indianapolis that begins on October 30, 2019.

Middletown FFA forestry team
Middletown FFA team uses a Biltmore stick to estimate tree height and board-foot volume at the recent forestry career development event. From left, team members Paige Akers, Jenna McDermott, Kathryn McMenamin, and Jenna Harmon.

The forestry event took place at Kent County’s Brecknock Park in Camden under the direction of Delaware Forest Service education specialist Ashley Melvin. This year’s challenge measures student knowledge in six skill areas: tree identification, tree pests and diseases, timber stand improvement, compass and pacing, board-foot volume estimation, and an individual written examination.

According to FFA, Career Development Events help students “think critically, communicate clearly, and perform effectively in a competitive job market.” There are many CDEs, covering areas from communications to mechanics. Some events allow students to compete as individuals, while others allow them to compete in teams.

The National FFA Organization, originally the Future Farmers of America, was founded in 1928 as a national organization for boys in rural, farming communities. Its original purpose, the education of youth in agricultural fields of study, is still recognized through its current programs. Today, its mission is to make a positive difference in the lives of students by developing their potential for premier leadership, personal growth, and career success through agricultural education. Through educational programs, the FFA teaches students how to become active in their communities and successful in their occupation. FFA membership includes junior high, high school, and college students and totals approximately 450,000.

FFa forestry team from Sussex Central
Sussex Central’s FFA team completes the board-foot volume estimation section of Delaware’sForestry Career Development Event (CDE) at Brecknock Park in Camden recently. From left to right: Cody Lankford, Will Kenney, Dylan Kraft, and Joanna Rendon.

 

Milford FFA forestry team
Milford High School’s FFA forestry team: (from left) Sierra Johnson, Shaila Walker, advisor Aaron Rill, Adamari Amador, and Jasmine Carlisle.

 

Sussex Central FFA forestry team: (from left) advisor Jason Stoeckel, Joanna Rendon, Cody Lankford, Dylan Kraft, Will Kenney, and advisor Brett Hines.

 

Millsboro Middle School FFA
Millsboro Middle School FFA forestry team: (from left) Kamryn Camper, Emma Walker, Katey Megginson, Olivia Fox, and advisor Susan Quillen.


Blackbird State Forest tree planting on April 13 & 14

TOWNSEND, Del. – 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 with funding provided by the DNREC Nonpoint Source Program (NPS). The project will take place on Blackbird State Forest’s Naudain Tract2076 Harvey Straughn Road, Townsend, Delaware 19734.

The rain date is scheduled for April 27 and 28, 2019.

The planting site is located along the Cypress Branch, where the new trees will help enhance wildlife habitat, fight invasive species, and improve water quality in the Chesapeake Bay. The project continues a tradition of youth volunteerism and environmental action at Blackbird State Forest: in 2018, volunteers led by Girl Scout Caroline Dowd, a student at MOT Charter High School in Middletown, planted more than 8,800 seedlings on an adjacent parcel.  In both 2012 and 2013, Boy Scouts planted 4,000 trees each year at Blackbird State Forest.

“Our project took a lot of time and planning, but it is important that everything was done correctly to maximize our success,” said Middletown High School senior Bryan Alberding. “I chose to do this project because I was concerned about the enormous housing growth in our community, and I wanted to improve the environment.”

“This project presents others with the opportunity to explore and learn how our forests start from the seedling to a mature tree, and how to properly plant the trees,” said Nick Kupsick,who is coordinating the effort with Alberding as part of their Middletown H.S. senior project.

Contact information for media:

Volunteers are asked to dress for the weather and bring sunscreen or insect repellent if needed.

What to wear and bring:

  1. work shoes or work boots that can get dirty
  2. appropriate clothing and hats that can get dirty and are suited to the weather (cold, rain, wind, or heat)
  3. a shovel if possible, as well as work gloves

The latest updates for the event will be posted on the students’ Facebook Page: Blackbird Tree Planting

Funding for the trees is provided by a grant from the DNREC Nonpoint Source Program. The restoration of riparian forests is a key strategy for improving water quality in the Chesapeake Bay, recognized as a “national treasure” and the largest estuary in North America, covering 64,000 square miles in six states and the District of Columbia. The Cypress Branch in southwestern New Castle County is one of the headwaters for the Chester River, a major tributary of the Chesapeake Bay that begins where Cypress Branch and Andover Branch join together in Millington, MD.

Blackbird State Forest covers nearly 6,000 acres in southern New Castle County and is also a stop on the historic Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Byway.

Directions to the Blackbird Forest Tree Planting Site

  • From the NORTH:
    Route 1 (TOLL): Take Rt. 1 South to Exit 136 toward Odessa (Rt. 299) and make a left at the light. At Rt. 299 (Main Street) in Odessa, turn right onto U.S. 13 South.
    U.S. 13: Take U.S 13 South until you reach Rt. 299 (Main Street) in Odessa. Proceed through the light (continue on U.S. 13 South).
  • From Route 299 & U.S. 13: Continue on U.S. 13 south for 6.2 miles and then turn right onto Blackbird Forest Road (flashing light at the top of the hill). After 3.5 miles, turn right onto Oak Hill School Road. Continue for 2.9 miles and then turn right onto Harvey Straughn Road. Proceed for .3 miles and the destination will be on the right.
  • From the SOUTH:
    Route 1 (TOLL): Take Rt. 1 North to Exit 119 (N. Smyrna). Make a right onto Route 13 South. Proceed .8 miles to Duck Creek Road and make a right at the light.
    U.S. 13: Take U.S 13 North until you reach Duck Creek Road north of Smyrna (just past Visitor Center and Smokey Bear sign on the right). Turn left at light for Duck Creek Road.
  • From Duck Creek Road & U.S. 13:  Proceed west for .8 miles on Duck Creek Road and turn right onto Vandyke Greenspring Road. Continue on Vandyke Greenspring Road for 4.4 miles and turn left onto Harvey Straughn Road. In 2 miles, turn left to stay on Harvey Straughn Road. Proceed for .3 miles and the destination will be on the left.

Additional contact –
John Petersen, Delaware Forest Service, 302-698-4552, john.petersen@delaware.gov

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Hannah Sturgis to represent Delaware in 2016 Poetry Out Loud National Finals in Washington, DC

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HANNAH STURGIS TO REPRESENT DELAWARE IN 2016 POETRY OUT LOUD NATIONAL FINALS IN WASHINGTON, DC

 

Poetry Out Loud
Photo Credit: Kathleen Buckalew

From a competitive field of more than eighteen Delaware high schools students, Hannah Sturgis, a junior from POLYTECH High School, earned the title of 2016 Poetry Out Loud Delaware State Champion at the state finals held in Smyrna, Delaware, on February 23. The first runner-up was Brandon Dawson from Middletown High School, and the second runner-up was Jordan McMillan from Sanford School.

Hannah Sturgis’s final recitation, Infelix by Adah Isaacs Menken, earned her high marks with the judges. The full poem can be found on the Poetry Foundation’s website.

For her winning presentation, Hannah Sturgis will receive $200 and an all-expense-paid trip to Washington, DC, with a chaperone to compete at the national championship from May 2-4, 2016. POLYTECH High School will receive a $500 stipend for the purchase of poetry books. Brandon Dawson, the first runner-up will receive $100, and Middletown High School will receive $200 towards the purchase of poetry books.

The Poetry Out Loud state competition, sponsored by the Delaware Division of the Arts in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation, is part of a national program that encourages high school students to learn about great poetry through memorization, performance, and competition.

To learn more about the State Finalists and for hi-res photos from the event, please see our page here.

Poetry Out LoudFrom left to right:
Al Mills, Delaware Poet Laureate; Hannah Sturgis, 2016 Winner; Jordan McMillan, Second Runner-Up; Brandon Dawson, First Runner-Up; Nnamdi Chukwuocha, Delaware Poet Laureate. Photo Credit: Kathleen Buckalew

Did you attend the event?
Tag us at @ArtsDelaware on Facebook and Twitter. Use the hashtags: #POL16, #iampoetryoutloud, and #Delaware 


2016 Poetry Out Loud – State Finalists

Name School
Tori Baker Brandywine High School
Phoebe Callard Cape Henlopen High School
Jessica Pigeon Caravel Academy
Christian Wills Concord High School
Brandon Dawson Middletown High School
Rebecca Pereira Mount Sophia Academy
Natalie Nwanekwu Newark Charter Jr./Sr. High School
Shannon Murray Padua Academy
Hannah Sturgis Polytech High School
Samuel Ogunwande Red Lion Christian Academy
Jordan McMillan Sanford School
Dylan Norman Seaford High School
Abbey Thompson St. Elizabeth High School
Mollie Russell St. Mark’s High School
Kana Turley Tall Oaks Classical School
Jane Krukiel Ursuline Academy
Samantha Drummond Wilmington Christian School
Gustavo Silveira Wilmington Friends School

 

To learn more about each high school student and their reasons for participating in Poetry Out Loud, please read their biographies here.

About Poetry Out Loud

The Delaware Division of the Arts sponsors the Poetry Out Loud: National Recitation Contest program in Delaware schools and the state finals. Competition begins at the classroom level in the fall and culminates with the state finals each spring. Eighteen schools and over 2,000 Delaware students participated in the Poetry Out Loud program in the current academic year. The Poetry Out Loud: National Recitation Contest competition is presented in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation. For more details about the partnership and program, see the program overview here.

About the Delaware Division of the Arts

The Delaware Division of the Arts is an agency of the State of Delaware. Together with its advisory body, the Delaware State Arts Council, the Division administers grants and programs that support arts programming, educate the public, increase awareness of the arts, and integrate the arts into all facets of Delaware life. Funding for Division programs is provided by annual appropriations from the Delaware General Assembly and grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency. For more information about the Delaware Division of the Arts, visit artsdel.org or call 302-577-8278.

Contact: Leeann Wallett, Program Officer, Communications and Marketing, 302-577-8280, leeann.wallett@delaware.gov

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Middletown Lands Victory in Statewide High School Click It or Ticket Contest

MIDDLETOWN, DE—The Delaware Office of Highway Safety announces that Middletown High School is the winner of the 2015 “Click It or Ticket” seat belt contest. The contest was coordinated by Delaware law enforcement school resource officers across the state. Officers and student helpers undertook a weeklong educational campaign for high school students, which included “Excuse Busted” seat belt posters peppered throughout the schools, online posts, morning announcements and videos. To gauge the impact on students, officers conducted pre and post campaign seatbelt use surveys at the entrances and exits to the high school.  Officers distributed “Pass/Fail” tickets to students entering or exiting the parking lot as a friendly reminder to buckle up.  In comparing the before and after totals, Middletown High School and its school resource officer, Delaware State Police Cpl. Pauline Waibel, were declared the winner with a 28 percent increase in seat belt use.

“We want young drivers and their passengers to use seat belts every time they get in a vehicle,” says Jana Simpler, Director of the Office of Highway Safety.  “This educational effort was designed to engage students in discussions about seat belt use and dispel myths that typically keep teens from buckling up. Click it or Ticket is focused on keeping all occupants in a vehicle safe and we congratulate Middletown High School students for getting the message and sharing it with their peers.”

Middletown’s SRO and student helpers will receive a pizza party sponsored by Grotto Pizza to congratulate them for their efforts.  McKean High School and Brandywine High School took second and third place respectively.

More than 92 percent of people in Delaware wear their seat belts. A seat belt reduces a risk of injuries or death in a vehicle crash by half.

Get the seat belt facts:

  • Delaware law enforcement issue an average of 998 seat belt tickets per month
  • May, June, July are the months with the most seat belt tickets written in Delaware
  • Each individual fatality costs society $1.4 million dollars
  • From 2008-2012 seat belts saved nearly 63,000 lives
  • Most crashes happen within 25 miles of home. Always buckle up.

Learn more about seat belts by visiting www.buckleupde.org.


Middletown H.S. FFA students take forestry challenge

Middletown H.S. FFA: (from left) Erin Fogarty, Sara Bednash, Jeff Billings, FFA Advisor, Will Nylander, and Ariana Gaston.

(** Click on photos to view or download high-resolution image files)

Middletown High School FFA students won the 2014 “Forestry Career Development Event (CDE),” a challenging test of tree identification skills, forestry tools and knowledge, and math-related abilities. Sussex Central High School’s FFA team placed second. Each team consisted of four students who answered both individual and team-based questions. Middletown will now represent Delaware at the National FFA Convention and Expo in Louisville, Kentucky that begins on October 29, 2014.

The forestry event took place at Kent County’s Brecknock Park in Camden under the direction of Delaware Forest Service education specialist Ashley Peebles. This year’s challenge was designed to measure student knowledge in six separate skill areas: tree identification, equipment and troubleshooting, timber stand improvement, compass and pacing, board-foot volume estimation, and an individual written examination.

According to the FFA, Career Development Events help students develop the abilities to think critically, communicate clearly, and perform effectively in a competitive job market.” There are 24 CDEs, covering job skills in areas ranging from communications to mechanics. Some events allow students to compete as individuals, while others allow them to compete in teams.

Established in 1928 as the Future Farmers of America, FFA as it is now known is one of the largest youth groups in the United States, with over 550,000 members throughout all 50 states, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands. FFA is also the largest of the career and technical student organizations in U.S. schools.

Sussex Central FFA: Cheyenne Poe, Ari Ruiz, Brandon McCabe, FFA Advisor, Ardany Coloma, and Susie Oaks.
Sussex Central FFA: Cheyenne Poe, Ari Ruiz, Brandon McCabe, FFA Advisor, Ardany Coloma, and Susie Oaks.

For more information, contact Ashley Peebles, Delaware Forest Service, ashley.peebles@delaware.gov or Scott Haldeman, Milford School District, shaldema@msd.k12.de.us.

Recent Sussex Central graduate Ardany Coloma uses a Biltmore stick to measure tree height and estimate board-feet volume in the annual FFA forestry challenge.
Recent Sussex Central graduate Ardany Coloma uses a Biltmore stick to measure tree height and estimate board-feet volume in the annual FFA forestry challenge.

From left, Middletown H.S. FFA students Erin Fogarty and Will Nylander complete the compass-and-pacing section of the annual forestry challenge.
From left, Middletown H.S. FFA students Ariana Gaston and Will Nylander complete the compass-and-pacing section of the annual forestry challenge.

 

Middletown HS FFA student Erin Fogarty completes the equipment portion of the forestry challenge held at Camden's Brecknock Park.
Middletown FFA student Erin Fogarty completes the equipment portion of the forestry challenge held at Camden’s Brecknock Park.

Ninth-grader Ari Ruiz of Sussex Central measures a tree using a Biltmore stick during the annual FFA forestry challenge.
Ninth-grader Ari Ruiz of Sussex Central measures a tree using a Biltmore stick during the annual FFA forestry challenge.

From left, statewide FFA forestry coordinator Scott Haldeman of Milford meets with Delaware Forest Service education specialist Ashley Peebles before the annual forestry challenge at Camden's Brecknock Park.
From left, statewide FFA forestry coordinator Scott Haldeman of Milford School District meets with Delaware Forest Service education specialist Ashley Peebles before the annual forestry challenge at Camden’s Brecknock Park.