Delaware Gov. Jack Markell celebrated Arbor Day at Blackbird State Forest in Townsend by accepting a $2 million grant from the U.S. Forest Service for forestland preservation in Sussex County.


    Delaware Gov. Jack Markell celebrated Arbor Day at Blackbird State Forest in Townsend by accepting a $2 million grant from the U.S. Forest Service for forestland preservation in Sussex County.
    The money will help fund Delaware’s “Green Horizons Project,” a multi-phase effort to purchase forestland in high-priority natural resource areas near Redden State Forest. Delaware was one of only 24 recipients nationwide for the competitive grants awarded by the U.S. Forest Service’s Forest Legacy Program.
    Delaware Forest Service Educator Ashley Ward received a prestigious Bronze Smokey Award from the Cooperative Forest Fire Prevention Committee, a national honor presented to a select few recipients in any given year. Ward was honored for her work in directing Delaware’s annual Smokey Bear Fire Safety Education Program. For the past five years, she has succeeded in expanding the range and scope of the program to almost 75 percent of all first-grade children in Delaware’s private and public schools. The award is sponsored by the Ad Council, the U.S. Forest Service and the National Association of State Foresters.
     Markell honored the children in grades kindergarten through fifth-grade who won Delaware’s 16th Annual Arbor Day School Poster Contest.
    Markell also honored Delaware’s Tree City USA communities – a designation for municipalities who meet criteria established by the National Arbor Day Foundation.
    Middletown, Odessa, Delaware City and Smyrna are among this year’s Delaware’s Tree City USA cities.