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

Nominations sought for Delaware’s 2015 Wetland Warriors
Award honors exemplary efforts that benefit Delaware wetlands

DOVER (April 28, 2015) – The Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control is seeking nominations for the 2015 Delaware Wetland Warrior Award to recognize exemplary efforts to protect wetlands and the many benefits, most of them directly related to water quality, that they provide to all Delawareans.

The Wetland Warrior Award is presented annually to a citizen, organization, or business that has demonstrated outstanding efforts on behalf of Delaware wetlands through outreach and education, monitoring and assessment, or restoration and protection. The award will be presented on Governor’s Day, Thursday, July 30, at the Delaware State Fair in Harrington.

Wetland Warriors are Delaware’s environmental heroes who work tirelessly to slow wetland loss, help restore degraded wetlands, preserve habitat, increase awareness of the value of wetlands and bolster support for their protection. The award recognizes these wetland stewards who have helped ensure that future generations will enjoy these natural habitats.

Delaware has more than 320,000 acres of wetlands, comprising about 25 percent of the state’s area. Wetlands protect lives and property from the impacts of floods and storms, filter pollutants and improve water quality, reduce erosion and provide critical habitat for fish and wildlife. Almost every part of our state is within one mile of a wetland – making wetland protection vital to our health and safety.

DNREC studies indicate that over the past 15 years, more than 3,896 acres of wetlands were lost due to conversion to other land uses statewide. This acreage is significant because in the previous 10-year period, the total statewide wetland loss was 1,996 acres. These recent trends make recognizing the conservationists who have prioritized wetlands even more important. It is through natural resource stewards, such as these Wetland Warriors, that Delaware will protect its natural treasures.

Information on submitting a Wetland Warrior nomination can be found on DNREC’s Delaware Wetlands webpage. Nominations must be submitted by Friday, June 26. For more information, contact Wetland Outreach Specialist Brittany Haywood at 302-739-9939 or Brittany.Haywood@state.de.us.

To find out more about wetland conservation projects and what you can do to help, visit the Delaware Wetlands webpage.  

The 2014 Wetland Warriors were:

Marlene Mervine, Adopt-A-Wetland Coordinator
Marlene dedicated 25 years of her career to the Delaware Adopt-A-Wetland Program from its beginnings in 1989 to more than 120 sites. Beginning as a Sussex County volunteer, she transitioned into the statewide coordinator. Due to her dedicated leadership the program grew in size as well as quality and quantity of educational resources and support.

Dr. Danielle Kreeger, Science Director Partnership for the Delaware Estuary (PDE)
With more than 25 years of experience as an educator and a research scientist, Dr. Kreeger leads PDE’s science team’s efforts to restore and protect Delaware wetlands including wetland monitoring, living shoreline installation, fresh water mussel surveys. A trained shellfish and wetland ecologist, she has held positions at Plymouth Marine Laboratory in the United Kingdom and as curator for the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University in Philadelphia.

Partnership for the Delaware Estuary Science Team
Under Dr. Kreeger’s leadership, the PDE Science Team works to protect and restore wetlands across all of Delaware and into New Jersey. In 2014 alone, they installed four new living shorelines covering more than two football fields in total length. These shorelines use natural materials to stabilize shorelines from erosion, effectively maintaining and restoring our coastal marshes, as well as providing habitat for coastal species.

Mick McLaughlin (posthumous award)
A true naturalist, Mick was knowledgeable about nearly everything from macroinvertebrates to mammals, and especially herpetology, his real passion. A Recognized Qualified Bog Turtle Surveyor for the states of Maryland, Delaware and Pennsylvania, he volunteered to monitor known bog turtle colonies and manage habitats. His other passion was environmental education, volunteering countless hours at local events with his live critters. He also volunteered as a coordinator and trainer for DNREC programs such as Adopt-A-Wetland.

For a complete list of past Wetland Warrior recipients, visit our Wetland Warrior Page.

Vol. 45, No. 129

-30-
4/28/2015
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