At the entrance to a greenhouse at Bearhole Farms near Roxana sits a blue tank about the size of a small hot tub. Orange-finned flashes flit around the bottom and a pump emits a constant thrum.
“That’s the engine,” says Bear Hole proprietor Cindy Stevens. The heart of the engine, which produces a perpetual harvest of 3,000 lettuce plants inside the 1,700-square-foot greenhouse, is fish. About 350 koi, common goldfish and channel catfish, to be precise.
In addition to swimming around the tank, the fish eat... and then when that food turns to fish waste, it is released into a system of channels that run under the lettuce plants, watering and feeding the plants. It’s the perfect symbiotic relationship.
It all started in 2011 with a small cocktail party and a meeting at the library. Now, the governor and Delaware’s First Lady are attending groundbreakings and the endowment is growing for the Delaware Botanic Gardens at Pepper Creek.
On the cool, sunny morning of Dec. 1, most of the leaves had fallen in Dagsboro, obscuring the ground where flowers will reappear next spring, and where miles of green briar have already been heaved out.
“The Delaware Botanic Gardens at Pepper Creek will be a world-class, inspirational, educational and sustainable public botanic garden in southern Delaware, created for the benefit and enjoyment of all,” their mission promises.
Drivers are being urged to use extra caution when traveling Delaware’s coastal highways through June and July. As the summer gets under way, female Diamondback terrapins are crossing Route 1 to lay their eggs in the soft sand of the ocean dunes, and many are killed in the process.
The DNREC Division of Water’s Wetlands & Subaqueous Lands Section will conduct a public hearing Wednesday, June 8, to solicit input on the proposed Statewide Activity Approval (SAA) for shellfish aquaculture in specific designated shellfish aquaculture development areas (SADA) in Delaware. The hearing will start at 6 p.m. at the Millville Fire Hall, 35554 Atlantic Avenue, Millville.
Gov. Jack Markell and DNREC Secretary David Small were joined by U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Acting Assistant Director Paul Rauch, Delaware Speaker of the House Pete Schwartzkopf, other legislators and members of the community on May 25 to mark the reopening of the newly-repaired 1,300-foot Cape Henlopen State Park Fishing Pier.
As part of its activities for National Fishing and Boating Week, June 4-12, Division of Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police will hold its 30th Annual Youth Fishing Tournament from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., Saturday, June 4, at Ingrams Pond in Millsboro, Wyoming Pond in Wyoming and at the dog training area of Lums Pond State Park in Bear.
Gov. Jack Markell this week proclaimed June 5 as "Delaware State Parks Day" and along with his proclamation, offered the reminder that, through sponsorship from the Delaware Tourism Office’s “Visit Delaware,” admission is free that day to most parks comprising the Delaware State Parks system, which garnered the Gold Medal Award this year as the nation’s best-managed parks system.
This month, DNREC is observing American Wetlands Month with ongoing efforts to restore wetlands, raise awareness of their values and benefits, and encourage actions to protect them.
Rehoboth Beach VegFest, an annual celebration of green, kind and sustainable living, is set for the weekend of June 10-12. The centerpiece of the weekend is the free outdoor festival on Saturday, June 11, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., at Epworth Church off Coastal Highway in Lewes. Rehoboth VegFest offers everything from raw green smoothies and juices to vegan soul food.
The Delaware Botanic Gardens board of directors has elected two new members, Ruth Rogers Clausen and Janet Meenehan Point. The additions bring to 10 the number of board members who are working to open the garden along Pepper Creek in Dagsboro. An Advisory Council adds a dozen professionals to the project’s expertise.
Delmarva Power is aiming to make it easier for customers to install solar panels on their rooftops and connect them to the electric distribution system. One recent change will allow customers who are interested in installing solar panels to bypass the paper process and instead complete an online application.
Notable musicians, food and craft beer on hand
Even though the weather forecast for Saturday is for rain (at this point, is anyone surprised?), the planners of the Baldcypress Bluegrass Festival near Gumboro are hopeful that the day won’t be a washout.
Event featuring Grammy-nominated guitarist to benefit Delaware Wild Lands
Grammy-nominated musician Courtney Hartman will headline the Baldcypress Bluegrass Festival in Sussex County on May 21. In addition to her solo career, Hartman is also guitarist and vocalist for the all-female group Della Mae.
The International Code of Signals is a system of signals that mariners use to communicate messages between vessels, typically regarding safety and navigation. The surfmen of the United States Life-Saving Service likely used the code on a regular basis.
Paddle Second Chance (PSC) this week announced their fourth annual stand-up paddleboard (SUP) and kayak day of racing and fundraising for Operation Second Chance (OSC), set to take place June 25.
With the arrival of spring weather, Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police are increasing patrols and monitoring state wildlife areas, fishing piers, public boat launching facilities and multi-use areas for visitor safety and compliance, as well as checking for illegal activity, such as vandalism, littering, dumping and damaging wildlife habitat.
Coastal Kayak of Fenwick Island will be host two more fundraisers for two local charities this summer: Cancer Support Community and Delaware Audubon Society.
Volunteers who want to help protect Delaware’s endangered piping plovers and other beachnesting birds by joining DNREC’s monitoring team are being invited to a training session from 10 a.m. to noon on Saturday, May 14, at Cape Henlopen State Park’s Biden Environmental Training Center, 15099 Cape Henlopen Drive, Lewes.
Talk about commercial shellfish aquaculture in the inland bays is continuing, officially and otherwise. The public can speak at a public hearing on Wednesday, June 8, hosted by Delaware Department of Natural Resources & Environmental Control (DNREC). The hearing begins at 6 p.m. at the South Coastal Library in Bethany Beach.
No matter how a garden grows, the “Gardening for the Bays” Native Plant Sale set for Saturday, April 30, has something to make it even more spectacular this year.
The annual sale, which will be held from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the James Farm Ecological Preserve on Cedar Neck Road in Ocean View, offers thousands of plants for sun, shade, wet gardens and sandy soils.
Most people do not head for the garden planning to finish the day with aches and pains or a serious injury. Tending flowers, trimming bushes, planting a new tree, and even mowing the lawn can be considered a way to relax and enjoy the outdoors. For the gardener, nothing is more satisfying than stepping back and seeing how beautiful it all is.
Bruce Mears Designer Builder was selected as the “People’s Choice” winner in Integrity’s 2015 Red Diamond Achiever (RDA) Program, which awards architects, builders and remodelers for cutting-edge design and sustainability through the use of Integrity Windows & Doors.
In a first-ever initiative, the Inland Bays Foundation (IBF) has sent a petition to Shawn Garvin, regional administrator of the EPA, Region III, in Philadelphia. IBF is requesting that EPA designate and regulate small municipal separate stormwater systems (MS4’s) discharging into the Inland Bays Watershed.
East Coast Garden Center in Millsboro will kick off the spring season and allow the public to see, touch, feel, smell and perhaps even taste the flowers and plants that are available to help brighten up a landscape or container garden at its Flower Festival on Saturday, April 30.
As part of the ongoing “Wetlands and Waterways” exhibition, on display through May 8, at the Rehoboth Art League, on Friday, April 29, from 6 to 7:30 p.m., the Rehoboth Art League will host “An Evening with Terry Plowman.”
With warm weather finally having arrived, DNREC’s Division of Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police this week reminded boaters to make sure their vessel is ready for a trouble-free day enjoying Delaware’s waterways by performing a pre-departure check. Before hooking up your boat trailer, boaters should have:
The 2016 Annual Plant Sale and Family Fun Fest will take place on Saturday, April 23, at East Coast Garden Center in Millsboro, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
It’s that time of year again… Baby chicks and ducks! If you go into many of the farm feed stores around this time of year, you will likely see a warm red light and hear a lot of cheeping. It is the time of year that the farm feed stores get in their baby chicks and ducks that they offer for sale. Many people in this area have what are commonly called “backyard flocks.”
Now, don’t go running to your local Southern States or Tractor Supply to get yourself a few chicks. One — many of them are sold out of them almost as soon as they come in, and two, they don’t make great house pets.
(Yes, another thing I know from experience — we actually hatched eggs in my suburban Maryland home when my sisters and I were kids. Fortunately, we had a friend who had a small farm and wanted our University of Maryland fancy chickens. All two dozen of them!)
They do make great outdoor pets. They love to eat bugs. They can become quite friendly. They will follow you around the yard. They will dig up your mulch and throw it out of your once-lovely flower beds. (OK — so that’s a downside.)
South Bethany has had trouble stemming the tide. Just as storms battered their protective sand dunes, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has completely rejected their appeals to downgrade the new flood insurance rate map (FIRM).
What would it cost to clean Delaware’s waters?
State Sen. Bryan Townsend said an extra $100 million per year would be nice. But Delaware’s Clean Water Task Force is approaching a more realistic recommendation of $20 million per year to start problem-solving.