The DNPS occasionally takes on a long-term, community-oriented, volunteer-driven project. Below are the highlights of notable projects we have underataken.
UNIVERSITY OF DELAWARE NATIVE PLANT GARDEN, LEWES
On 28 October 2017 we embarked on a long-term project to renovate and rehabilitate the native plant demonstration garden next to the Marine Studies Library at the University of Delaware College of Earth, Ocean, and Environment Campus in Lewes off Pilottown Rd. Working in cooperation with the campus maintenance crew. This day was our first clean up day which involved pulling out a lot of non-native plants, pulling out some trash and debris, and cutting back overgrown branches on some of the trees over the entire site.
Two workdays on 12 May 2018 and 3 November 2018 were focused on adding new plants into the southern portion of the site adjacent to the building. We planted close to 500 individual plants of 13 native species, some of which were donated by our good friend and DNPS member Bob Meadows out of his private nursery. The weather cooperated beautifully with our plantings, and a high percentage of them lived. Here’s a sampling of what was added.
– Asclepias incarnata (marsh milkweed)
– Eupatorium (Eutrochium) fistulosum (hollow-stem Joe-pye-weed)
– Lobelia cardinalis (cardinal flower)
– Verbena hastata (blue vervain)
– Iris versicolor (blueflag iris)
– Opuntia humifusa (Eastern prickly-pear cactus)
– Yucca filamentosa (yucca)
The 13th of July 2019 saw our fourth volunteer workday in which we pulled out more non-native plants, and did a general cleanup of the entire area. We also began to plan for the renovation of the northern half of the site.
DELMARVA RESTORATION BRANCH OF THE AMERICAN CHESTNUT FOUNDATION
In March of 2013, the DNPS began to formulate the idea of the establishment of a Delmarva Branch of TACF. Over the next 1.5 years we teamed up with several individuals and organizations (namely the American Chestnut Foundation) to ultimately have our fundraising kick-off event on 11 October 2014. It was a huge success, and gave the DNPS much needed resources to see our dream of bringing the American chestnut back to DE in significant numbers.
BIG OAK COUNTY PARK, SMYRNA
In the summer of 2006, the DNPS became a participant in the State of Delaware Adopt-A-Wetland Program. During June 2006, we completed our application, got accepted as official participants, and chose our site. The site we chose came easily to us as right around the same time the newly created Big Oak County Park was being completed. This park, located off Big Oak Rd., near Smyrna had several human created and naturally occurring wetlands that were a perfect fit for what we wanted to accomplish as new wetland stewards in the adopting program. Beginning in March 2007 and ending in December 2007, several members of the DNPS completed a biological survey of the park. If you’re interested, here are the results of our surveys. This park is a great resource for anyone interested in local delaware ecotourism destinations. The DNPS plans on doing more work in this park, including additional biological surveys, and volunteer work days to control the non-native and invasive species present there.
From 1999 to 2006 we completed four reforestation projects around the state of Delaware. Our final report on these very rewarding projects can be found here. Since 2006, we have just been letting nature take over and watching the forest grow. Soon, however, we plan on going back out to all the sites and checking on their progress, do whatever maintenance is needed to control overgrowth and non-native species, and compile data for another report. We also have the long-term plan of completing more reforestation projects as time allows.