Activities will include hayrides, guided walking tours, canoe tours, with refreshments provided by food trucks including B&K Catering and J's Scoop Shop.

The public is invited Saturday, May 7 for the first public tours of Delaware Wild Lands’ newest acquisition: the 1,250-acre Roberts Farm near Taylor's Bridge southeast of Odessa. This family-friendly event is free, but pre-registration is requested online at DEwildlands.org.

The celebration and open house will be held from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., at 170 Staves Landing Road, Townsend. This rural road leading to the farmstead intersects with Route 9 near the Odessa National Golf Course.

Activities will include hayrides with expansive marsh views and guided walking tours around the farm. Canoe tours on Blackbird Creek will be available with volunteers from the Delaware National Estuarine Research Reserve. Food trucks will include B&K Catering and J’s Scoop Shop.

A ribbon cutting ceremony with the Middletown Area Chamber of Commerce will take place at noon.

The Taylor's Bridge Roberts Farm was purchased in October with private funding in an exceptional partnership with The Conservation Fund and Mt. Cuba Center. With this acquisition, Delaware Wild Lands (DWL) now owns and manages more than 6,000 acres in New Castle County and a total of 21,000 acres statewide.

For more than 50 years, DWL has been strategically protecting land in and around Taylors Bridge. In the heart of Delaware’s coastal zone, and with development pressure encroaching, the Roberts Farm was once slated for a development of 250 single-family homes. Protecting this 1,250-acre property expands DWL’s holdings and also connects to the state-owned Cedar Swamp Wildlife Area, creating more than 10,000 acres of contiguous wildlife habitat.

The lands and waters that surround Taylors Bridge are a vibrant mix of coastal woodlands, freshwater ponds, working farmland, rolling fields and high quality tidal marshes. Many species of wildlife thrive here including wild turkey, bald eagle, quail, migratory birds, and even otter and mink.

DWL is committed to ensure that the property continues to be environmentally and economically productive. Long-term management plans include farming, hunting, trapping and scheduled tours. A public trail system won’t be constructed, but school groups and scientists have already started using the property for education and research projects.

“Many people are not aware how significant the Taylors Bridge area is to conservation history,” said Kate Hackett, executive director of Delaware Wild Lands. “Protection of the Roberts Farm represents an extension of Delaware Wild Lands’ success in preventing the construction of a Shell Oil Refinery – an effort that ultimately led to passage of Delaware’s Coastal Zone Act of 1971.

“The Taylors Bridge Roberts Farm includes some of Delaware’s most pristine upland and coastal resources that are critical to air and water quality in the Bayshores region,” Hackett said. “Now that it’s protected forever, Delaware Wild Lands is excited about our open house celebration on May 7 as our first opportunity to welcome the community and showcase the farm’s iconic beauty and natural splendor.”