Saving the trees: Forest preservation group dedicates 3 tracts

A group walk on the Fork Branch Nature Preserve in Dover on Friday. Delaware State News/Marc Clery

DOVER — The wolves, bears and bison aren’t returning to this forest.

However, there’s still plenty to love about the Anne Clements Woods Tract in the Fork Branch Nature Preserve.

It’s 200 acres of mature forest and many trees over 140 years old, uncommon beetles, beech trees, coastal plain depression swamps, upland forest, forested wetlands, early successional forest, non-tidal emergent wetlands, and agricultural land.

On Arbor Day Friday, the tract and two others in Delaware were recognized for their value by the national Old Growth Forest Network during a 12:30 p.m. ceremony next to Kenton Road.

Ceremonies were also conducted at the Tulip Tree Wood Nature Preserve in Brandywine Creek State Park and Barnes Woods Nature Preserve in Seaford, making Delaware the first state to have recognized areas in all its counties.

“As a Delaware native I am thrilled that my home state is the first state to have all of its counties represented in the Old Growth Forest Network,” said Joan Maloof, executive director and founder of the Old Growth Forest Network.

Mary Jane McClements, left, and Marliyn Spong walk on the Fork Branch Nature Preserve in Dover on Friday. Delaware State News/Marc Clery

“To be fair, with only three counties Delaware was one of the easiest states to complete. But it is still a significant accomplishment. To have all the forests dedicated into the network in a single day is very exciting. These forests will be forever protected from logging and will be open to the public.

“Countless organisms will find the habitat they need in these shady forests and generations of humans will find peace under their leafy canopies.”

Ms. Maloof described the three -county experience as “an exciting day” that began in New Castle with 100 school children shouting “Yea for trees and the benefits of CO2, which was very sweet.” The children all received a sapling, she said.

Nancy McClements, speaking for her parents Dr. James and Anne McClements, said four generations of her family have traipsed through the woods now donated to the State of Delaware. She’s happy that First Staters can now spy the birds and find the bugs she did as a child, enjoy the beech trees and “admire the peace and beauty of this spot.”

The Old Growth Forest Network continues to expand nationally. It has dedicated forests in California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Virginia,

Reach staff writer Craig Anderson at canderson@newszap.com

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