The Delaware Chapter of The Nature Conservancy today announced a campaign to raise funds for a 25-acre purchase to enhance protection of its 440-acre Middleford North Preserve in the Nanticoke Watershed in Sussex County. The campaign is being called “March for Middleford" because the Conservancy only has until the end of March to raise at least one-half of the $125,000 cost for this purchase.
A short distance upstream from Seaford, the Nanticoke River winds a meandering path through thick forests and lush freshwater wetlands. The Nature Conservancy’s Middleford North Preserve is found here, protecting a wild and scenic river corridor. High quality floodplain and upland forests, riverine wetlands, and Atlantic white cedar swamps provide habitat to more than a dozen species considered to be globally or locally imperiled.
According to Roger L. Jones, Jr., State Director of The Nature Conservancy, “The protection of this tract continues our commitment to preserve important wildlife habitats in the Nanticoke River watershed.” The existing preserve consists primarily of mixed pine-oak forest in the upland sections and extremely high quality Atlantic white cedar swamp in the lowland areas along Gravelly Branch. Virtually all of the Atlantic white cedar swamps surveyed in the state are known to contain state and globally rare species and communities.
The purchase of these 25 acres will provide an important additional buffer to The Nature Conservancy’s 440-acre Preserve on the Gravelly Branch and the Nanticoke River in Sussex County Delaware. This small stream helps to form the headwaters of the Nanticoke River, which is considered to be one of the most productive tributaries to the Chesapeake Bay.
The opportunity to protect this land results from Jeannette Rogers’ very generous offer of sale on this property. TNC is grateful for the opportunity to help support Mrs. Rogers’ commitment to conservation and her interest in protecting this important landscape. Mrs. Rogers and her sister, Mrs. Mary Louise Spicer, also previously sold to the Conservancy adjoining parcels near the Preserve in 1998. These three parcels together are part of a century farm owned by Jeanette Rogers’ family.
The Delaware Chapter of the Nature Conservancy will be holding a series of public meetings and preserve tours in the Seaford area, soliciting contributions from neighbors of the Middleford North Preserve and from friends of conservation. A schedule of these meetings will be announced next week.
State Director, Jones says, “I am sure that the many people interested in preserving the quality of their Nanticoke River watershed will take ownership of this purchase and will help make the many small and moderate contributions that will enable us and the Rogers’ family to reach our goal.”
Tax-deductible contributions can be sent to the Conservancy’s office at 100 West 10th Street, Suite 1107, Wilmington, DE 19801. Checks should be made out to The Nature Conservancy with Middleford North written in the notes area of the check. Credit card contributions can be made by calling Chelsea Todd at 302-654-4707, ext. 120.
Contact Debbie Heaton at 302-654-4707, ext 124 firstname.lastname@example.org or Kate Hackett 302-684-5348 email@example.com, for more information including a list of the public meetings and a Fact Sheet detailing the ecological significance of the Middleford North Preserve.
The Nature Conservancy is a leading conservation organization working around the world to protect ecologically important lands and waters for nature and people. The Conservancy and its more than 1 million members have protected nearly 120 million acres worldwide. Visit The Nature Conservancy on the Web at www.nature.org.