Here are some of the ways the Conservancy’s staff and volunteers work on-the-ground to manage Delaware’s unique wildlife and habitats located at the “Places We Protect:”
The Conservancy actively manages the land at its nature preserves. This includes regularly patrolling and maintaining trails at the chapter’s two public access preserves – the Edward H. McCabe Preserve and the Ponders Tract of the Pemberton Forest Preserve. At other preserves like Milford Neck, staff and volunteers take on a variety of tasks including tree planting and maintaining tree tubes and exclosures necessary for protecting young seedlings from deer.
The Conservancy controls invasive weeds through an aggressive program implemented by staff, and occasionally professional contractors, to ensure native habitat continues to thrive at the Conservancy’s nature preserves.
The Conservancy’s stewardship staff carries out terms established in conservation easement agreements. Monitoring conservation easements begins with documenting conditions on-the-ground at the time an easement is established, and later visiting each easement on an annual basis to ensure the terms of the easement are being upheld by the landowner. This work also involves consulting those landowners on management decisions that will benefit wildlife on their lands.
The Conservancy’s stewardship staff works to learn about Delaware’s landscape prior to human interference, and then takes steps towards restoring habitat it as it once was. For example, through communicating with farmers, the Conservancy might learn about agricultural lands experiencing seasonal floods lasting from winter through spring, a hallmark of small wetlands once dotting Delaware’s interior forests that informs a need for hydrologic restoration where feasible. In other places, the Conservancy accelerates succession by planting “habitat islands” of native trees and shrubs to support and attract small mammals and birds that continue the process by spreading native seeds in flight and through droppings.