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Lewes, Delaware
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April 11, 2017     Cape Gazette
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April 11, 2017

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School & Education CAPE club plants trees with Nature Conservancy Members of the CAPE for Tomorrow club, Compassion for Animals, Protecting the Environ- ment, at Cape Henlopen High School recently helped The Na- ture Conservancy Delaware with a tree-planting event March 25 at Ponders Tract Forest Preserve outside Milton. The students helped plant 668 Atlantic white cedar saplings, and installed fencing around the planting zones to protect the young sap- lings from local wildlife. The tract property was acquired by The Nature Con- servancy in 2004, and the organization has been working since then to restore the former loblolly pine plantation to a more diverse forest with an assort- ment of native tree species. A wide variety of native plants and trees provide the foundation for a healthy ecosystem of native insects, birds, and animals. The Atlantic white cedar (Chamaecyparis thyoides) is an evergreen species native to the Atlantic seaboard from Florida to Maine. The trees’ current habitat range is limited, primar- ily due to coastal development. These trees tend to form dense stands in low, wet areas including freshwater marshes, swamps and woodlands with damp soils. The Atlantic white cedar provides food and shelter for numerous bird species. The caterpillar of the rare Hes- sel’s hairstreak butterfly feeds exclusively on Atlantic white cedar. The trees also help filter and purify water, stabilize stream banks and store stormwater run- off. Different types of native trees have been planted throughout the property in the past, but this planting effort focused on the Atlantic white cedar, in part be- cause this beneficial tree hasn’t been very successful regenerat- ing on its own. “The Atlantic white cedar has been a prized commercial species since co- lonial times and has been used for building everything from ships to houses,” said Natasha Whetzel, land steward for The Nature Conservancy in Dela- ware. “Because of its usefulness, the tree has been overharvested throughout the region.” “We are fortunate to house a mature stand on the northern end of the Piney branch within Ponders Tract,” Whetzel said. “There’s also suitable habitat along the southern end of the Piney branch that will allow us to expand the trees’ presence on the property, so that’s where our staff and volunteers planted more than 600 seedlings. The support of the volunteers who helped in this initiative is greatly appreciated.” Volunteers also installed deer fencing around the planting area to prevent overbrowsing by the white-tailed deer that quickly devour new seedlings. For information, go to nature. org/ponders. Cape Gazette TUESDAY, APRIL 11 - THURSDAY, APRIL 13, 2017 27 SUBMITTED PHOTOS SHOWN STANDING ARE (l-r) Sarah Cooksey, Nature Center Delaware director of conservation programs; Liam Leis- hear; Michael Schrock; Bella Leishear; Dylan Kaplan; Jessica Thompson; Phil Zanello, Dogfish Head; Madison Couture; Lydia Sweetney; Nick Mueller; Natasha Whetzel, Nature Conservancy Delaware land steward; and Pam Sapko, Nature Conservancy Delaware director of philanthropy. At front right are Kim Smithman, Dogfish Head; and Stephen Salvador. Shown planting a tree are (l-r) Bella Leishear, Nick Muel- ler and Lydia Sweetney. Shown are (l-r) Liam Leishear, Dylan Kaplan and Michael Schrock. SUBMITTED PHOTO STUDENTS AT BEACON and Mariner Middle Schools spent weeks col- laborating on mural projects, overseen by local artist John Donato and funded by the Joshua M. Freeman Foundation. Both schools held special events to reveal the murals to student families and friends. The murals created by students, community members and staff pro- vide a daily positive message to the students. Mariner’s mural includes a Viking ship with a dragon’s head. BEACON AND MARINER MIDDLE SCHOOL MURALS REVEALED DONUTS WITH DAD HELD DURING BOOK FAIR SUBMITTED PHOTO THERE WAS STANDING room only at Worcester Preparatory School's Do- nuts with Dad day March 28, during the week-long book fair hosted in the Guerrieri Library. Students invited their dads to join them for donuts while pur- chasing books together.  Rhett Ruggerio, right, of Lewes attended the book fair with his daughters, fourth-grader Maxine, left, and first grader-Vivien. Vikas Batra of Rehoboth Beach is shown with his third-grade twins An- isha, left, and Ansh.