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Delaware Ecological Extinction Task Force: Education Subcommitte: Home

Subcommittee Overview

The Task Force identified a series of recommendations to be considered for further action. These recommendations include action items that can be implemented at multiple scales, by governmental bodies, private landowners, and other agencies/organizations. The full list of recommendations is available on the Subcommittee Resources tab.

The following recommendations were compiled for the subcommittee to discuss:

  • Educational material should be developed, tailored to the specific target audience, which will explain the benefit of native species as well as the effect of non-native and invasive species proliferation, and their contribution to the decline of our local species.
  • Educational material should be developed, tailored to the specific audience, on the preservation and management of open spaces within communities, on private property, and on public property.
  • Educational material should be developed to specifically guide property owners on the identification of non-native and invasive species, the native species alternatives, and proper management of property landscaping.
  • A curriculum should be developed to bring the educational material into our children's  classrooms and various outreach programs.
  • The educational material should be distributed to professional organizations having responsibility in property development such as engineers, landscape design professionals, landscape contractors, and professional builders.
  • Encourage incorporating the educational material in obtaining or maintaining professional licensing.
  • The educational material should be distributed to homeowner associations and property management associations. This will not only inform those organizations, but this should be encouraged as one method of subsequent distribution to the individual homeowners.
    • The educational material should be available to individual property owners through home and garden centers, state and local government, and other organizations as available.
    • Recommend to the Delaware Real Estate Commission to add a line on the Sellers Disclosure forms directing homeowners to a webpage of educational material.
  • The educational material should form the basis of training seminars and trade symposiums geared toward local government officials involved in land use planning.
  • Education through media outlets should be investigated and implemented. Examples include advertising and discussion on social media, radio and television (including local cable television and New Castle County's television station).
  • Education through demonstration projects by local government, business owners, non-profits and others should be encouraged and properly recognized. Signage associated with the project is critical and should be encouraged.
  • Education through public presentations to interested groups and organizations should be encouraged.
  • Methods of funding centered on implementing the educational initiatives recommended by the Task Force should be explored, including public/private arrangements.
  • Educational campaigns centered around informing the public on the value of wildlife and how wildlife and their native habitats benefit humans including how all three are interconnected should be encouraged.
  • A program to either educate landowners on living/green shoreline options and their benefits and/or a program to train engineers in living/green shoreline construction including the pros and cons of various options to minimize shoreline erosion should be encouraged.
  • Encourage landscape contractors to remove, manage, and control invasive plants and replant with native species.
  • Promote/follow Delaware Livable Lawns practices on lawns in Delaware.
  • Recommend that education and incentives be used to encourage property owners to plant and or convert to native plants and trees on their properties.
  • Recommend the Task force promote the distribution of a list of native plants and trees that are easy to grow in our area.
  • Prepare several examples of single family home landscape plans that use native trees and plants (+ or 75% of those chosen) to show how native plants and trees may provide an aesthetically pleasing yard and one that is easy to maintain.
  • Encourage the development of a training course and/or seminar that developers, landscape professionals, and others may attend to provide education and a forum for collaboration of ideas to promote the planting of native trees and plants.
  • Governmental, educational, and environmental organizations should work together to develop a comprehensive, environmental education program regarding using native species versus non-native and invasive species.

Subcommittee Members

  • Jeff Downing (Executive Director-Mt. Cuba Center)
  • Ashley Kennedy (Graduate Research Assistant/PhD Candidate-University of Delaware)
  • Lori Athey (Owner and Landscape Architect at Guided Path LLC)
  • Elizabeth Androskaut (DNREC-Interpretive Programs Manager at Alapocas Run and Wilmington State Parks )
  • David Saveikis (DNREC-Director of Division of Fish and Wildlife)
  • Sarah Cooksey (Delaware Nature Conservancy-Director of Conservation Programs)
  • Jim White (Delaware Nature Society-Senior Fellow for Land and Biodiversity Management)