CIB to thank volunteers, provide fall fun for all

This weekend, the Center for the Inland Bays (CIB) will be giving thanks to their large group of volunteers for all the work they do throughout the year.

“We’ve had a thank-you event for our volunteers for a number of years now,” explained Sally Boswell, education and outreach coordinator for the CIB. “We thought it would be nice to include the public in recognizing our volunteers. This is our chance to thank our volunteers for all the different things they do for the bays during the year.”

On Saturday, Sept. 28, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. the CIB will host its annual Thanks For Giving Barbecue at James Farm Ecological Preserve near Ocean View.

Boswell said that the center has hundreds of volunteers do all aspects of work for the center that make it possible for the center to continue its mission to, according to its Web site, “oversee the implementation of the Comprehensive Conservation and Management Plan for Delaware’s Inland Bays (CCMP) and to promote the wise use and enhancement of the Inland Bays watershed by conducting public outreach and education, developing and implementing restoration projects, encouraging scientific inquiry and sponsoring needed research, and establishing a long-term process for the protection and preservation of the inland bays watershed.”

“We have volunteers working in all areas of our mission,” said Boswell, nting that volunteers help the CIB in a variety of ways, from citizen-science to the native plant sale, to office work.

“It’s a real range, from the citizen-scientists who collect data for us to the folks who put together the plant sale. It’s a real wide range, and people tend to find their place — pieces of the volunteer work that they like to do. We really couldn’t do nearly as much without them. The work we have to restore and protect the inland bays is huge, and we have a relatively small staff.”

Boswell added that the volunteers are invaluable, helping the center do work while saving a great deal of money.

“Money for doing research is pretty competitive and hard to get. For example, our horseshoe crab and fish surveys — those are two projects that take a lot of person-hours,” she explained. “We couldn’t possibly do those two things if we didn’t have volunteers who are doing the citizen-science work. They’re all trained to do this collection data collection, they follow the protocols, and they do good science.

“If you tried to hire consultants to do it, it would be so enormously expensive that it would be prohibitive. That’s an example of science that’s being done on behalf of the Center for the Inland Bays that we wouldn’t be able to do without our volunteers.”

Live entertainment for the Sept. 28 event is being provided by the Flatland Drive bluegrass band, which will set the atmosphere with their lively picking, and hay wagon tours of the trails will be given to those in attendance.

“It’s kind of a really high-spirited day,” said Boswell. “As we all know, this is the best time of year down here. It’s just the beginning of the autumn glory, and James Farm is a beautiful place to be on a fall day.”

During the event, the CIB will give out four awards — the Volunteer Award, Partner Award, Business Award and the Director’s Award — to those who have made a difference through their contribution to the CIB.

“It’s a chance for us to recognize people who have given exceptionally to the Center for the Inland Bays and to the work we’re doing to restore the bays. These are people who have given many hours who have headed up projects.”

Tickets to the event cost $35 per person, with kids 10 or younger admitted free of charge, and may be purchased in advance or at the door. Catered barbecue pork and chicken from Bethany Blues and oysters on the half-shell, in celebration of the CIB Oyster Gardening Program, will be on the menu, with festive fall beverages and delicious desserts, including cupcake creations by Annabella’s.

Boswell said she hopes the community will attend the event to enjoy the fall season, celebrate the bays and recognize the support of the center’s volunteers.

“It’s a fun day,” she said. “There are a lot of people who come back to it to see other volunteers. It’s a chance for people to get together, have fun and talk. It’s become a really nice community event. Hopefully, we’ll have a really incredible day.”

For more information, or to purchase tickets, call (302) 226-8105 or visit James Farm Ecological Preserve is located on Cedar Neck Road near Ocean View.