DNREC Volunteer Awards, Tree for Every Delawarean Planting Kick Off Earth Week at Brandywine Park

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To kick off Earth Week and National Volunteer Week, the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control hosted its 2022 DNREC Volunteer Awards ceremony Monday in Brandywine Park, Wilmington, alongside a Tree for Every Delawarean Initiative (TEDI) planting by Jobs for Delaware Graduates (JDG) youth volunteers.

Secretary Shawn M. Garvin presented the DNREC Volunteer Awards to outstanding Delawareans who have stepped up to get their hands dirty to benefit the Delaware State Parks and the planet, and then joined JDG President Sen. Nicole Poore to plant a ceremonial sycamore tree at the planting site along the Brandywine River.

“The volunteers celebrated today are valuable stewards of Delaware State Parks and help DNREC reach its mission,” Secretary Garvin said. “Our parks system benefits from friends groups, veterans, youth organizations, businesses, non-profits, families and individuals. Volunteering for DNREC is a win-win opportunity, where members of the public can give back to our state and the planet we all call home and enjoy Delaware’s natural and cultural resources.”

While volunteer hours have decreased due to the COVID-19 pandemic, 2,054 volunteers contributed 97,500 hours, or the equivalent of 50 full-time employees, throughout Delaware State Parks in 2021. Volunteer opportunities at the parks include helping with operations, maintenance, programming, education, environmental stewardship, trail upkeep and to tell the history of Delaware.

Jobs for Delaware Graduates (JDG) volunteers gladly stepped up to plant 120 saplings in the picnic area along the river. JDG is a school-to-work transitional program, dedicated to helping youth who face challenges and helping them reach academic and economic success.

The April 18 TEDI planting is one of several hosted by DNREC and the Delaware Department of Agriculture this spring. TEDI is a statewide initiative that aims to plant 1 million trees, or about one for every resident.

The DNREC Division of Climate, Coastal and Energy and DDA’s Urban and Community Forestry Program partner with other stakeholders to administer the initiative, which was launched last year as a key strategy of Delaware’s Climate Action Plan. Trees absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and offset the greenhouse gases that are driving climate change.

This TEDI planting will help soak up excess rainwater and filter out pollutants, which will improve water quality of the Brandywine River. JDG is a school-to-work transitional program that helps youth who face challenges reach academic and economic success.

Delawareans can add any trees they plant to the online TEDI Tracker, which shows location and other information about trees planted around the state since 2020. The web page, de.gov/tedi, also provides information on TEDI tree planting volunteer opportunities.

The recipients of the 2022 DNREC Volunteer Awards for advancing the department’s mission through outstanding service include:

Youth Education Volunteer of the Year: Owen Marko.

Administration/Coordinator Group Volunteer of the Year: Lums Pond Campground Hosts.

Youth Group Volunteer of the Year: B.S.A. Troop 2.

Business Partner: DuPont Company.

Habitat Restoration/Conservation: Don Coats.

Recreation Group Volunteer of the Year: Brandywine Mountain Bike Collective.

Historical Conservation/Restoration Group: Auburn Valley Railroad Crew.

Historical Education Volunteer of the Year: Pauletta Clemens.

Environmental Education Individual Volunteer of the Year: Andy Ednie.

Environmental Conservation Volunteer of the Year: Wendy Aycoth.

Recreation Individual Volunteer of the Year: Gary Kirk.

Friends Group Volunteer of the Year: Friends of Wilmington State Parks.

Administration and Coordination Volunteer of the Year: Kimberly Gould.

DNREC offers a variety of volunteer opportunities. For more information, visit de.gov/dnrecvolunteer.

PHOTO CAPTION: Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control Secretary Shawn M. Garvin and State Senator Nicole Poore, Jobs for Delaware Graduates president, help plant a ceremonial sycamore tree along the Brandywine River as part of the 2022 DNREC Volunteer Awards and Tree for Every Delawarean Planting held April 18 at Brandywine Park in Wilmington. Pictured, left to right, are: Secretary Garvin; Josh Fitzgerald, grounds maintenance supervisor for Wilmington and Alapocas Run State Parks; Angel Davila-Chicas and Stephanie Mendez-Torres, Jobs for Delaware Graduates volunteers; Senator Poore, and DNREC Deputy Secretary Lisa Borin Ogden. /DNREC photo

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About DNREC

The Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control protects and manages the state’s natural resources, protects public health, provides outdoor recreational opportunities and educates Enjoy the natural diversity of Delaware’s 17 state parks. Delawareans about the environment. The DNREC Division of Parks and Recreation oversees more than 26,000 acres in 17 state parks and the Brandywine Zoo. For more information, visit the website and connect with @DelawareDNREC on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.