Contact: Joanna Wilson, DNREC Public Affairs, 302-739-9902.
Governor Markell honors DNREC’s Outstanding Volunteers
at July 24 State Fair ceremony
HARRINGTON (July 24, 2014) – Today at the Delaware State Fair, Governor Jack Markell and DNREC Secretary David Small honored the Department’s Outstanding Volunteers for 2014, with awards presented in eight volunteer categories.
· Outstanding Conservation/ Restoration – Arthur Wilson
In just one year, Art Wilson dedicated 1,000.5 volunteer hours, achieving his personal goal to volunteer 1,000 hours for his favorite park. Art worked closely with Brandywine Creek State Park maintenance staff on various projects such as brush cutting, mowing, trimming trails, trail marker painting, leaf clean up, invasive plant species removal, weather repair and much more.
· Outstanding Environmental Education (tie) – Richard Albertson and Joseph Hayes
In addition to photographing numerous programs and events throughout Bellevue State Park each year, Richard Albertson has co-led the park’s Intro to Photography Camp for the past seven years. He shares his time and knowledge on a weekly basis and can always be counted on to provide photos for the park’s social media sites.
Joseph Hayes started volunteering with the Division of Fish and Wildlife’s the Aquatic Resources Education Center (AREC) in 2006. Since then, he has contributed more than 500 hours as an eco-guide with the Eco-Explorers field trip program, driving from his home in New Castle to AREC’s field trip site in Smyrna. He has worked with thousands of fifth grade students, teaching them about wildife that inhabits the salt marsh ecosystem at AREC. Joe is a valuable and reliable member of AREC’s team who does an excellent job of introducing students to the wonders of Delaware’s ecosystem.
· Outstanding Research – Brock J. “BJ” Vinton II
BJ has served as volunteer chair of the Recycling Public Advisory Council (RPAC) for seven years, working with DNREC as well as independently to foster a progressive atmosphere of recycling in Delaware. BJ helped develop an objective, clear methodology for recycling measurement, which he helps calculate annually. He runs RPAC meetings efficiently, fairly, and openly. Recycling legislation, implementation of programs, and maintenance of a robust recycling grants program would not be as successful without his efforts, and his guidance has been an asset to DNREC and the State of Delaware.
· Outstanding Youth – DNREC’s Delaware State Fair Volunteer Support Team: Jack Boyd, Crystal Emerson, Lyndsie Gedney and Chelsae Ross
Each year, thousands of visitors walk through the DNREC Building at the Delaware State Fair. To help construct the displays that fill the building’s 40-foot by 90-foot main section, DNREC Graphic Artist Christy Shaffer employs a dedicated team of young people who help her and staff members clean, paint, cut, fold, laminate and set up the fun and educational space.
· Outstanding Group – Wilmington University Soccer Team – Frank Hall
The Wilmington University soccer team members volunteered 30 hours of their time and plenty of strength digging post holes to install trail markers on one of the rockiest trails in Brandywine Creek State Park. Because of the terrain of the park, volunteers had to carry wooden posts and tools with them to implement the new trail marking system on the Rocky Run Trail.
· Outstanding Administration/Coordination – Wilma Yu
Under Wilma Yu’s leadership, the Friends of Bellevue State Park have come together to make a stronger impact through their volunteer work at the park. As FOB president, she led the group to fund the park’s intern program and to provide equipment for the concert series at Bellevue. She has also been a leader at the state level in her role with the Friends of Delaware State Parks, a statewide advocacy group.
· Business Partner (tie) – Capital One and Perdue of Milford On Oct. 22, 2013, 150 Capital One volunteers gave a total of 870 hours to Brandywine Creek State Park and completed 15 projects for the park in record time. Projects included installing new trail markers on two of the park’s most popular trails, removing old markers, installing doggie waste bins throughout the park, placing new sand on the volleyball court, installing ladderball and horseshoe pits, building picnic tables for the picnic area, removing invasive species, cleaning the blue gneiss walls, spreading mulch, planting trees, landscaping and more.
Since 2011, associates from Perdue in Milford have removed trash and debris from the marshes surrounding the Division of Fish and Wildlife’s DuPont Nature Center near Milford, planted beach grass, and assisted with facility repairs. Over the past four years, 71 volunteers have dedicated 175 hours to removing more than one ton of trash from Mispillion Harbor. Perdue of Milford involves families and promotes environmental stewardship at an early age by bringing young helpers along to lend a hand.
· Friends Group – Friends of Killens Pond State Park
This dedicated group of volunteers is always willing to help the park, even if called in at the drop of a hat. For example, as Killens Pond staff was hustling to prepare the partially transformed water park for its opening the next day, a group of volunteers who were scheduled to spread mulch in the water park and other areas cancelled their effort at the last minute. All it took was a phone call, and the Friends were more than willing to spend their Friday spreading large amounts of mulch, a job that would not have been completed on time for opening day “without their willing hearts and helping hands.”
The Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control sponsors a wide range of volunteer opportunities year-round. DNREC volunteers of all ages adopt wetlands, count horseshoe crabs, remove invasive plants, plant beach grass, check water quality, clean up beaches, monitor wildlife species, teach boating safety classes, maintain park trails, host a campground, give history tours in period costume and more. To learn about how you or your group can volunteer, visit DNREC’s “Get Involved!” website at www.dnrec.delaware.gov/volunteer/ and browse the volunteer calendar, or search by topics or categories – environmental conservation, research & monitoring, education & outreach, recreation, office & administration and internships.Vol. 44, No. 255