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Delaware National Estuarine Research Reserve


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  Archived Posts From: 2015

blackbird-creek-reserve

Take a Bath in the Woods!

Written on: April 4th, 2015 in Blackbird Creek ReserveGuest BlogNERRSt. Jones ReserveVolunteers

To add variety to the blog and to offer a fresh perspective from our visitors, we are inviting guest bloggers to write posts describing their visits and thoughts while at the reserve.  The guest blog and photo today are brought to you by M.L. Christmas and her thoughts on “forest-bathing”.  Enjoy! (Maggie Pletta, DNERR Education Coordinator & Blog Editor)

Credit M.L. Christmas_Forest Bathing

Photo Credit M.L. Christmas

Take A Bath in the Woods!

Face it: Hauling a claw-foot tub into a wooded clearing, at any time of the year, is just not practical. However, a therapeutic walk along the forest paths at DNERR can be its own spa-like experience, and it comes with a Japanese name: shinrin-yoku or “forest bathing.” Pick your “flavor” of soaking environment: the woodland sensations of the Blackbird Creek Reserve or the estuarine delights of the St. Jones Reserve. Whether “bathing” by yourself or as part of a group, the relaxation is free of charge!

Shinrin-yoku is the practice of taking a leisurely stroll through the woods while steeping oneself in its sights, sounds, and smells. At DNERR, one can become immersed in the wildness of nature regardless of the season: whether admiring autumn’s red, orange, brown, and gold confettied carpet or gazing into winter’s leaf-lined puddles of refrozen snowmelt alongside the meandering trails. The occasional chirrup, squeak, or quack, from the woods or the waterway, denotes the presence of a new friend.

One does not “dry” oneself after these walks. The experience continues to cling to each participant once he or she resumes life’s daily routines. A prolonged shinrin-yoku will not saturate your skin and make you look wrinkly like a prune, but it will saturate your being and perhaps add some wrinkles of knowledge to your noggin while at the same time smoothing away your worries.

Who needs a rubber ducky when a glimpse of a real, live Ruddy Duck might await!

M.L. Christmas

M.L. Christmas, MSM, is a freelance writer/editor living in the Dover area. She has written dozens of articles for newsletters, newspapers, magazines, and websites. Her work has appeared in local, regional, national and international publications and other venues, and she has written in tones ranging from scholarly to humorous, depending on the audience. She is a longtime member of Delaware Press Association and the National Federation of Press Women. Her approach to nature writing, she says, is part Henry David Thoreau and part Dave Barry.

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For more information about shinrin-yoku, see <www.shinrin-yoku.org>.

 


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education-outreach

All Hands on Deck!

Written on: March 19th, 2015 in Education & OutreachVolunteers

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Calling all horseshoe crab and shorebird enthusiasts to the decks of the S.S. Delaware National Estuarine Research Reserve!  Here is your chance to act like a DNERR scientist and do your part to help protect and conserve our horseshoe crabs and migratory shorebirds.  As part of an effort to better understand how many horseshoe crabs exist in the Delaware Bay a spawning survey is coordinated between several groups in Delaware and New Jersey.

Here in Delaware DNERR is one of the organizations that take part in the surveys.   We coordinate spawning surveys on three local beaches (Kitts Hummock, Ted Harvey, and North Bowers) sending trained volunteers out to collect data on our spawning horseshoe crabs.  To get our volunteers ready to complete the important task of surveying the spawning crabs we offer trainings for both our returning and new volunteers.   This year the trainings dates have been set for Saturday, April 11 from 10:00 a.m.-11:30 a.m. and Thursday, April 16 from 6:00 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. at the St. Jones Reserve located south of Dover.

We hope you join us this year!
The DNERR Horseshoe Crab Survey Coordinators

 

 


guest-blog

Thoughts on a Rock

Written on: March 3rd, 2015 in Guest BlogNERRSt. Jones ReserveVolunteers

To add variety to the blog and to offer a fresh perspective from our visitors, we are inviting guest bloggers to write posts describing their visits and thoughts while at the reserve.  The first guest blog is brought to you today by M.L. Christmas during her visit to the reserve in early February.  Enjoy! (Maggie Pletta, DNERR Education Coordinator & Blog Editor)

Thoughts on a Rock

Credit M.L. Christmas_Sitting on a rock

Photo Credit M.L. Christmas

Today I am sitting on a rock.

A rock is not an expected landscape feature at a marshy, estuarine site like the St. Jones Reserve, but this is a place for contemplation and healing in an unexpected turn in life’s journey that has landed me between a rock and a hard place. My choice of seat is both ironic and a paradox.

The hard face of the rock at first seems anomalous in these gentle, pastoral surroundings. Delaware is not known for its boulders or outcroppings. Perhaps my rocky perch was nudged gently into place, just so, by a piece of heavy equipment. But whether the rock is an outsider or not, like I am—an import from another state and someone similarly of stern visage (of late)—the tranquil atmosphere of the St. Jones Reserve welcomes me, just as the rock seems to have been made quite at home here.

The landscaping is such that the intent of the trail planners was obvious. No sign stated “Do Not Sit.” So I did. I soon see from the trampled grass encircling my perch that others have done likewise: getting their bearings, pivoting themselves around this point, calculating the distances, and leaving behind their remnant arcs. Decisions, decisions.

Credit M.L. Christmas_Sitting on a rock (2)

Photo Credit M.L. Christmas

From here, when facing the marsh, the channel of the path runs left, the channel of the path runs right—if using one’s feet. But in one’s spirit, as with any given spot in life where one stops to ponder, the higher paths run in all directions. Here, they also soar over the tops of the tall marsh grasses, over the face of the waters, and to the far horizons. These are the invisible pathways available only to avian and insect species and to those who are with them in spirit.

Although today is gray and cold, the blandness displays the seasonal colors to best advantage, and the crisp coolness imparts new vitality to the air and thus to me—perched on this rock, surveyor of all I see, decider of directions, and overcomer of circumstance.

Drawing a deep breath, my face and outlook renewed, I arise from the rock and take wing.

Whene’er in doubt along life’s journey, always pursue the highest path.

M.L. Christmas

M.L. Christmas, MSM, is a freelance writer/editor living in the Dover area. She has written dozens of articles for newsletters, newspapers, magazines, and websites. Her work has appeared in local, regional, national and international publications and other venues, and she has written in tones ranging from scholarly to humorous, depending on the audience. She is a longtime member of Delaware Press Association and the National Federation of Press Women. Her approach to nature writing, she says, is part Henry David Thoreau and part Dave Barry.

 


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education-outreach

New Places and New Faces

Written on: February 16th, 2015 in Education & OutreachNERR

It has been a long while since we had a new blog post, and this is due in part to the changing of our guard.  Last summer our Education Coordinator Jennifer Holmes decided it was time to spread her wings and left the reserve to follow a personal dream of hers and took a traditional teaching position in a local school.  Although her energy and leadership are missed we are very proud and happy of her for following her dreams.  This departure left a gap in our staff that we filled in late November with our new Education Coordinator Maggie Pletta.

Maggie_PlettaWe want to take the time to today to formally welcome Maggie aboard and share with you a little background information about her.  Maggie holds a B.S. in Environmental Restoration and Management, with a focus on wetland habitats from the University of Maryland College Park. She joins the team with over 9 years of experience in interpretation and education from her time spent working for organizations like the National Park Service, NASA, Educational Non-Profits, and DNREC’s Wetland Monitoring and Assessment Program. Not only does she bring her years of experiences to the Reserve, but also her overwhelming enthusiasm and excitement for all things estuarine. In her free time she plays rugby, cooks, kayaks, volunteers with Big Brothers and Big Sisters, and goes on adventures with her dog Congo.

We are excited to see what is in store for our Education programs with Maggie on board!


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