After finishing a month of intense training, i.e. sitting in classrooms for hours and hours, our team, Wolf 3, has finally arrived from Perryville, MD to make a difference in Dover. The team hails from all over the country with each member ready to dedicate a year of service to the country. We found out our first project was going to be in Delaware working with the Delaware National Estuarine Research Reserve. When we found out the work would be mostly outside, we were excited. Little did we know we would be facing the thorny, unruly bushes of multi-flora rose that currently overrun forests in Delaware.
Since we began work on March 15, we’ve spent about a week working directly with Wes and Jim to remove multi-flora rose and Japanese honey-suckle at the Blackbird Creek Reserve. There’s something rewarding about removing such a vicious plant and Wes always lightens up the mood with his cheerful banter. The weather has been surprisingly beautiful and all the outdoor work has allowed us to get a head start on our yearly farmer’s tan.
More recently, the team worked with Carl Solberg to remove English Ivy from trees in the St. Jones Greenway. We cleared each tree trunk from our forehead to our knees of any vines in order to kill the canopy that was strangling the trees. Unfortunately, English Ivy tends to grow next to Poison Ivy, which means that more than half our team has developed quite the rash. And yet, we remain unfazed.
We had a very rewarding day on March 26 working alongside Carl to clear out the Fairview Elementary Nature Trail, which was sitting unused except for the occasional vandals and partiers. So Wolf 3 cleaned up the beer cans, vodka bottles, cigarettes, and slim-jim wrappers that covered the area. We fixed two footbridges that were falling apart as well as removing some non-native plants growing in the area. It was different than working at the reserve because the staff and the children of Fairview Elementary recognized our work immediately. Someone even brought us orange juice and Girl Scout cookies!
Wolf 3 is pumped to be making such important headway in the fight against invasive species in the Dover area. We hope to continue to rip out multi-flora and to save trees. The whole team is excited about the project and ready to continue our work in the reserves and around Delaware.
The AmeriCorps motto is, “Getting things done.” And that’s exactly what we plan to do until May 5 when we ship out to another project site.
– Zack Frederick, Wolf 3
On March 17th at the Blackbird Creek Stewardship Center, 30 adults had a chance to play in the dirt and sand! The DNERR’s Coastal Training Program hosted the immensely popular Wetlands Restoration Construction Techniques workshop.
The participants were from non-profit organizations, state agencies, county government, and private contracting companies. All of which who were interested in learning more about wetlands restoration.
This included a hands-on session outside on the deck on a beautiful spring day that gave participants the opportunity to apply and understand numerous wetlands construction techniques and best management practices through the construction of small scale models that simulated full-scale wetland restoration projects.
DNERR staffer Kelly Wolfe facilitated the workshop and the keynote presentation on wetlands restoration was given by Tom Barthelmeh, Drainage and Stormwater Section, with assistance from Al Rizzo, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
The workshop also included presentations on the implications of sea level rise on wetlands restoration by Bart Wilson from DNREC’s Delaware Coastal Programs office and a presentation on tools for designing and assessing wetlands restoration by Alison Rogerson from DNREC’s Watershed Assessment Section.
All in all, how can you go wrong on a beautiful day learning while playing in the dirt?
On March 2, team Badger Five from AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps (NCCC) set out from our Atlantic Region campus in Perry Point, Maryland, for our first mini-project of the service year. After weeks of preparation, we could hardly wait to leave the confines of campus classrooms to make use of our training. Our mission was to assist the folks at the Delaware National Estuarine Research Reserve in removing multiflora rose; an invasive species prevalently found around the reserve properties.
During our three days at the Blackbird Creek Reserve, we worked with conservation technician and site supervisor Wes Conley to make significant strides in cleaning up the woods surrounding the Blackbird Creek Stewardship Center. Our work around the center included the removal of countless vines of multiflora rose and fallen trees to deliver both a more natural habitat for local wildlife and a cleaner look to the property. At the same time, our team shared duties over a two-day span to give the basement of the center a fresh coat of paint. Wes knew how to keep us busy, and we all enjoyed working with him.
In our downtime, we explored the streets of Dover, cooked team meals, toured the reserves, and enjoyed the dormitory facilities provided to us at the St. Jones Reserve. The hours spent pulling multiflora rose (and the many scratches involved in the process) were soothed by the comforts of DNERR’s cozy dorm; not to mention the homemade brownies brought to us onsite by Kim Cole, our lead sponsor contact. It was a unique experience living with turtles and terrapins in the conference room just outside of our bedrooms. We only assume that they appreciated the entertainment value of our movie night and early morning physical training in their room.
NCCC’s Badger Five wishes to sincerely thank the people at DNERR for their warm hospitality, their dedication to assisting estuarine wildlife, and the opportunity to join them in service. As we look forward to our upcoming long-term project in New Orleans, we truly appreciate and carry with us a wonderful experience from our time in Delaware.
– Peyton Craighill (and the rest of Badger Five)