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Wes Strikes Back: The Return of the Chipper

Written on: April 16th, 2010 in Blackbird Creek ReserveStewardship

Our first activity of the work week: yep, that’s right, a boat trip down the St. Jones river all the way to Bowers Beach and back. The boat was in the capable hands of Wes Conley. Kate sat up front and taught us about the river erosion, the duck blinds, and other environmental issues facing the river and the reserve. The weather was beautiful and sunny – it was a great day for a boat ride.

AmeriCorps NCCC team out on the St Jones!

Tuesday, we drove north to Blackbird and planted 40 trees behind the office building and created a brick-lined garden with Wes & Jim.

Wednesday was another big project as we returned to the Blackbird campground in order to chip up a ton of trees that fell from the snow this winter. Matt and John started salivating at the sight of the chipper and its gigantic rotating jaws. By nightfall, about 5 or 6 truckloads of mulch had been removed.

AmeriCorps NCCC planting trees at the Blackbird Creek Reserve

Thursday the team split up – half of us stayed at the Reserve and the rest of the team traveled to Blackbird. Those up north cleaned up a pile of leftover junk from the campground (that included barbed wire, sinks, an old coke machine, pieces of steel, etc. – over 1 ton of junk!) while the rest of the team spread the previous day’s mulch at the St. Jones reserve.

AmeriCorps NCCC Team cleaning up a junk pile at the Reserve

And then, before we knew it – SPRING BREAK!

-Wolf 3, AmeriCorps NCCC

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Sign up for Green Eggs & Sand!

Written on: April 8th, 2010 in St Jones Events and ProgramsSt. Jones Reserve

Looking to infuse a globally significant ecological phenomenon and current real-world resource management controversy into your classroom?Green Eggs & Sand logo

Interested in meeting and learning firsthand from a select and diverse group of experts and stakeholders offering a wealth of knowledge and experience with the issues?

The Green Eggs & Sand team is offering two full weekend workshops along the Atlantic Coast for Spring of 2010.

Participants take home middle/high school-targeted, national-standards-keyed, videos-and-activity rich, GE&S curriculum package.

Be sure to sign up – find out more information here.

blackbird-creek-reserve

AmeriCorps NCCC has arrived at the Blackbird Creek Reserve

Written on: March 29th, 2010 in Blackbird Creek ReserveSt. Jones ReserveStewardship

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.

Preparing to rid the area of more invasive species

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.

Removing English Ivy from the trees

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

blackbird-creek-events-and-programs

Playing in the Dirt

Written on: March 19th, 2010 in Blackbird Creek Events and ProgramsBlackbird Creek ReserveCoastal Training ProgramStewardship

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.   

"Playing" in the dirt designing a wetland

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. 

Making model 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.

One group incorporated the DNERR into their design!

All in all, how can you go wrong on a beautiful day learning while playing in the dirt? 

blackbird-creek-reserve

NCCC visits the Blackbird Creek Reserve

Written on: March 10th, 2010 in Blackbird Creek ReserveStewardship

NCCC team Badger 5

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.

Badger 5 tackling and cleaning up the basement at the Stewardship Center

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)

Removing invasive species at the Blackbird Creek Reserve - watch out for the multiflora rose!



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