DNREC presents environmental awards at Delaware State Fair

The Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control’s Young Environmentalists of the Year for Elementary Schools Conner Bradley and Lily Gatti are congratulated for their accomplishments and awards by Gov. Carney, Lt. Gov. Bethany Hall-Long and DNREC Secretary Shawn M. Garvin at the Delaware State Fair on Thursday. DNREC photo

HARRINGTON — Gov. John Carney and Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control Secretary Shawn M. Garvin honored two dozen Delawareans and groups of all ages for environmental leadership, innovation and dedication at the Delaware State Fair on Thursday.

“This afternoon, we recognized a broad cross section of Delawareans who contribute to the conservation of our natural resources and the stewardship of our environment,” said Secretary Garvin. “We congratulate these volunteers, organizers, photographers and anglers — conservationists and environmentalists all — for their work that brought us here today, and we look forward to their future contributions.”

Honorees were: seven Young Environmentalists of the Year, eight individuals and four groups recognized as Volunteers of the Year, three Youth Fishing Tournament winners, winners of this year’s Hunting and Fishing Photo Contests and four winners of the new Delaware Watersheds Photo Contest, plus Best in Show.

“These awards underscore how every Delawarean can have an impact in protecting and conserving our natural resources, while also raising awareness for environmental stewardship,” Gov. Carney said. “I’m also inspired by the award winners’ dedication to making our state a better place to live through their time and talents, and proud to recognize them for their environmental leadership and innovation.”
The complete list of the 2019 DNREC Awards recipients:

DNREC’s Young Environmentalists of the Year

ELEMENTARY SCHOOL: As second graders at Dover’s W. Reily Brown Elementary School, Conner Bradley and Lily Gatti, both 8, are leaders on their school’s Eco-Team. They share a passion for the natural environment and serve as peer educators for their classmates.

MIDDLE SCHOOL: Jade Carter, 13, an 8th grader at Sussex Academy in Georgetown, founded the first middle school chapter of the Surfrider Foundation in the state. The Surfrider organization is dedicated to protecting and enjoying the oceans, waves, and beaches through volunteer activities including regular beach cleanups.

HIGH SCHOOL (tie): A graduate of Newark Charter School with plans to attend the University of Delaware for environmental studies, Sabin Lowe, 19, of Newark, has devoted 5-10 hours a week for the past two years to projects that improve Delaware’s environment.

Cole Palmer, 17, of Greenwood, has been an active volunteer stream monitor for six years with the Delaware Nature Society’s Stream Watch, performing monthly testing of five streams in the Mispillion Watershed, and recording more than 18,000 observations and analyses.

SPECIAL RECOGNITION: At ages 6 and 8 and in the first and second grade respectively, sisters Caroline and Isabella Nacchia of Frankford are already budding entomologists.

Caroline is passionate about Monarch butterfly conservation, working tirelessly each summer since she was three to raise Monarchs from caterpillars to chrysalis to butterflies. Last summer, she raised about 350 butterflies. Butterflies often come to her in the garden and perch on her finger, for which her friends have dubbed her “the Butterfly Whisperer.”

As a beekeeper, Isabella understands the importance of bees, is eager to help them, and inspires her peers to do the same. She can identify larva, worker bees (females) and drones (males), and honey, nectar and queen cups, and is comfortable handling the inhabitants of her hives.

Outstanding Volunteers of the Year

ENVIRONMENTAL EDUCATION: Diane Twining volunteers 45-50 hours a week in Trap Pond State Park’s main office, where she is extremely well-informed and helpful with park programs. Diane is dedicated to the educational value of Trap Pond, and genuinely loves the park and its natural resources, embodying all the best qualities of park staff.

RESEARCH: Daniel Lawson volunteered nearly 60 hours to assist Division of Fish & Wildlife staff with waterfowl trapping, banding, and data collection. The data are used in coordination with the Atlantic Flyway Council and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to set waterfowl season hunting regulations. Without Daniel’s help, the Division’s banding efforts would have been greatly reduced.

FRIENDS GROUP: The Friends of Killens Pond provide scholarship money for Killens Summer Camp programs, allowing children who would otherwise not be able to afford it the opportunity to attend summer camps. They also maintain all of the trails within the park, keeping them beautiful for visitors.

Youth Fishing Tournament

First place: For the third year in a row, Elise Britton, 15, of Middletown, was the overall statewide winner, as well as the New Castle County winner at Lums Pond, with a total weight of 24.17 pounds that included a 9.6-pound carp, the largest fish caught in this year’s tournament on June 1.

Second place: At the Akridge Scout Reservation pond, Kirra Noble, 9, of Frederica, was the Kent County winner and second place statewide, for catching a total of 8.02 pounds of fish.

Third place: Luke Hitchens, 12, of Dagsboro, was Sussex County winner for two years in a row, and third statewide, with a total of 5.39 pounds of fish caught in Ingrams Pond near Millsboro.

Hunting and Fishing Photo Contests

Harry Hoch Jr. of Greenwood, won the 2018/19 Delaware Hunting Photo Contest for his submission of “Hunting Memories,” featuring his father, Dr. Harry L. Hoch and friend Bill Cole, after a successful hunt near Harrington. His photo will appear on the cover of the 2019/2020 Delaware Hunting & Trapping guide.

Israel Mora of Wilmington won the 2018 Delaware Fishing Photo Contest for his photo titled “The Fish of the 10,000 Casts,” featuring Mora’s son Bryan holding his tiger musky catch from Brandywine River. His photo is featured on the cover of the 2019 Delaware Fishing Guide.

Delaware Watersheds Photo Contest

Natural Landscapes of Delaware: First place: Bernard Dennis of Millsboro, “Beautiful Countryside off Wilkins Road in Lincoln”
Third place: Joe Hengel of Milton, “Gordons Pond Trail at Cape Henlopen State Park”

Natural Waterscapes of Delaware: First place: Ryan Shlan of Magnolia, for his photo, “Near Little Creek Wildlife Area”
Second place: Zachary Williams, “Woodland Beach Boat Ramp at Sunset”

Third place: Sean Griffith of Lewes, “The Point of Delaware” (Cape Henlopen)

Native Wildlife of Delaware

Third place: Nancy Hedgespeth of Dagsboro, “Brown Thrasher Defending the Nest from a Black Rat Snake” (near Trussum Pond)

Agriculture in Delaware

First place: Zachary Williams, “Cornfield in Magnolia at Sunset”

Second place: Joe Hengel, “Sittin’ Pretty” (Argos Corner)

Third place: Christine Moore of Lincoln, “Soybean Field in Lincoln”

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