Delaware Futures Week at DuPont Environmental Education Center

By Lesley Bensinger, Education Coordinator, DuPont Environmental Education Center

During the week of June 26th the rising freshman of Delaware Futures joined DNS at the DuPont Environmental Education Center (DEEC) for a week-long marsh restoration experience.  Delaware Futures helps at-risk, economically disadvantaged youth develop the social, academic, and problem solving skills they need to qualify for college and expand their opportunities. 

Students from Delaware Futures mulch a 250-foot trail at Dupont Environmental Education Center.

During the week of their program at DEEC, students spent their days learning about the Christina River watershed and aquatic life as well as contributed to the restoration of the Russell W. Peterson Urban Wildlife Refuge.  The group spent the night each evening  at Ashland Nature Center.

Students in team “The Mighty 6” remove and bundle phragmites. These bundles will be used in areas that receive heavy dip netting traffic to prevent erosion and extremely muddy shoes!

The group of 23 students split into teams to complete four projects: create a trail that provides increased marsh access for other program participants, assemble and install a Purple Martin nest box, remove invasive-exotic phragmites from the marsh, and build foot bridges for crossing wet areas on the trail. 

Students in team “Purple Martins” raise the house they spent the week building. Success!

This is the third year Delaware Futures students have worked and studied nature in the Refuge.  The long term plans for part of the marsh is to create an outdoor classroom that can be used by groups and for summer camps.  These students have unofficially adopted this section of the refuge and will be back in the fall to continue working on this project! 

At the end of the week, student teams each gave a presentation summarizing the week of activities and what they learned to family, friends, program partners and the program sponsor, DuPont’s Clear Into The Future initiative.  Thanks for another great week Delaware Futures! 

Students celebrate the end of the week with a leap!

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