Introducing Heidi Gilmore, Chairwoman of the SCLT
I am an attorney licensed in Delaware and Maryland and have been working actively as an attorney for 24 years. I was born and raised on a dairy farm in Cecil County, Maryland and was the youngest of six children. My family and extended family were farmers for many generations. The love of the outdoors and the love of land came to me naturally working on the farm. I moved to Sussex County in 2000. My practice area was handling real estate matters of all sorts. I learned Sussex County by driving to locations all over Delaware to meet clients and to learn first hand, on-site about their projects. I learned the area by driving many back roads. This opened a whole new appreciation for the area as I learned about the waterways, vast farmlands, historic properties, various land uses and the interplay of businesses and their shared use of lands for successful projects.
Sussex County is unique in so many ways. First, I love Delaware because it appreciates tradition, more than any other area I have experienced. Whether that is “Return Day” for establishing an elections tradition of burying the hatchet, “Delaware Day” for the historical significance of our state being first to ratify the Constitution, the Oyster Eat which has existed for now 85 years, even if only men are the traditional attendees, just to name a few. Second, I love Sussex County because it is simply “B E A U T I F U L !”. If you get outdoors in our area, the best way to appreciate our County is by water. Just riding the waterways, whether that is in Milton, Long Neck, Lewes, Rehoboth, Fenwick or Seaford, you can see majestic views that take your breath away. Our parks and beaches are revered. We have deep history in our area that can be seen with a short ride to your closest town. The Historical Societies in our area do a fantastic job of keeping that deep history alive. Third, I love the people here. We have people of all varieties here. If you were born and raised here or came here, you are still a Sussex Countian. People care about each other. People want to help others. People want to volunteer to help organizations succeed to make a difference here. It is not unique to Sussex Countians, but volunteering is alive and visible.
I think everyone reaches a point in their life when they want to give back to the community. You have a little time and interest in something and you put your action into participation in a way that you make a difference. No matter how little or how big, you start. I was raised by my parents to be a helper. If that was on the farm when I was young, I was helping my siblings run the farm with my parents. If the time was when I was working on my education, I was working and learning with no time to spare. When I began my professional career, I was working by day and teaching at DelTech or other organizations at night. Then there came a time when I wanted to make a difference in our local environment. An opportunity arose that allowed me to apply my service to the Sussex County Land Trust. Land Trusts are not widely known in our local area so after learning how the operation can serve the community in many ways, I put my time into action by making a difference in seeing opportunities to put land into conservation for the future. If you travel outside of Delaware, you can see the imprint of Land Trusts all over other states. I see such potential to preserve property in Sussex County to benefit future generations. Everyone benefits from the efforts the Land Trust can make whether that is preservation of open space natural areas, creating conservation easements on lands, expanding wetland areas, or creating tracts of lands to be used for active/passive recreation.
We are feeling the pressure as Sussex Countians to not lose the opportunity to preserve areas presently used as farmlands or open space to development. There has to be a balance between growth and conservation. The cries of our citizens to the cutting down of dense woodlands, conversion of farmland to development or simply the loss of keeping land as open space is heard routinely as more development occurs. I believe our goal at the Land Trust is to be a resource and a reminder to development that land can be preserved and also conserved. The Land Trust welcomes partnerships of all sorts to be able to achieve mutual goals of all Sussex Countians, to keep our County Beautiful. I think we can grow and also conserve in thoughtful ways rather than seeing or perceiving only growth is occurring. I want to see the Land Trust be a bridge and a resource tool to help increase the conservation of lands.
Our history is a reminder of who we were. It is a link to what our founders experienced as they stepped across our land with the native peoples of our region. That history is interesting but is also special. We have to take care of those special things in order to enable then to endure into the future. Our passion for preserving the historical parts of our lands is just as important as preserving the critical pieces of land for conservation efforts. Whether it is our minds that are enriched by the history or our souls enriched by experiencing the openness of natural space, I want to help keep those special, historical parts of our area alive and enduring into the future. It is magical to step back in time even but for a few moments in our mind.
No. 1 way for me to have fun is by a day of boating on our waterway. Whether that is a pontoon boat on the bay or a kayak ride on my home waterway of Herring Creek, I am in a pure state of bliss when doing these activities. My husband and our family take our annual trip by boat from the Rehoboth Bay to Assawoman Bay travelling to Assateague every summer. It is a 3 hour ride that never fails in producing spectacular views and mind altering joy.
Sussex County Land Trust Receives $26,448 Donation from Beer & Benevolence
Non-profit land preservation organization receives generous contribution from local philanthropic brewery
The Sussex County Land Trust (SCLT), a non-profit land conservation and preservation organization, recently accepted a generous donation of $26,448 from Beer and Benevolence, the philanthropic arm of Dogfish Head Craft Brewery. Beer & Benevolence contributed 100% of the August tips received at the Dogfish Head Tasting Room & Kitchen to the SCLT.
Brewed to benefit the Sussex County Land Trust, Dogfish also partnered with Revelation Craft Brewing Company, to create an IPA inspired by the Lewes-Georgetown Bike Trail. The liquid collaboration, In Tandem, was released from the Rehoboth taprooms of both breweries on Friday, September 10. A portion of proceeds from each 4pk sold will be donated to the SCLT to support the organization’s efforts to build a trailhead along the Bike Trail. The soon-to-be-built trailhead will provide more Delawareans with greater access to the trail and help better connect local communities by bike.
The mission of the Sussex County Land Trust is the continued protection of natural, cultural, agricultural and recreational resources through land preservation, stewardship and education for today and tomorrow. “We are so appreciative of the longstanding partnership we have with Dogfish Head Craft Brewery,” said Casey Kenton, Chairman of the Sussex County Land Trust. “They recognize our mission in protecting our quality of life in Sussex County and the immense benefit these trails provide to our community.”
“One of the many reasons that Dogfish Head is proud to call coastal Delaware home is the abundance of amazing non-profit organizations doing good work for our communities,” said Mark Carter, Dogfish Head, Beer & Benevolence. “The work of the SCLT to establish a trailhead along the Lewes-Georgetown Trail will connect folks to nature and to each other by creating a safe place to access the trail. We are excited to see this trailhead come to life.”
Sussex County Land Trust Welcomes Three New Board Members
The Sussex County Land Trust (SCLT), a non-profit conservation organization, is pleased to announce the appointment of three new board members: Tracy Adams, Ring Lardner and Michael Dickinson, as part of a strategic effort to expand its footprint and representation across Sussex County.
Tracy Adams is an active partner in the daily operations of her family businesses: Melvin L. Joseph Construction, M.L. Joseph Sand & Gravel, Stockley Materials and Citation Rentals. A Sussex County native, Adams graduated from Laurel High School and later earned her Associate Degree in Turf Management and Landscape Design. Her family farm is part of the Farmland Preservation Program and is currently operational raising grain and truck crops. Adams currently resides in Georgetown with her husband and enjoys caring for her animals and embracing the outdoors.
Ring Lardner brings over eighteen years of experience in project engineering and construction administration in residential and commercial development to his new role as board member in the SCLT. In 2021, Lardner assumed responsibility to lead the Milford Municipal Engineering Department at Davis, Bowen & Friedel, Inc. (DBF). Prior to joining DBF, he
was responsible for portions of New Castle County’s National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System Permit. Specific responsibilities included annual stormwater management inspections for approximately 750 systems and conducting public presentations regarding the inspection program and pollutant reduction measures. He was also responsible for writing portions of the annual report that was submitted to DNREC and the EPA. Lardner retired from the Delaware Army National Guard in November 2017 as a Lieutenant Colonel. While deployed in 2006, he was assigned as a base engineer responsible for the life, health, and safety of a population of over 6,000 people. Lardner is married with two children ages 24 and 20. He is an Eagle Scout and enjoys playing golf and working around the house.
Mike Dickinson was born and raised in East Stroudsburg, PA, the older son of two public school teachers. In 2005, Dickinson joined the rapidly expanding SoDel Concepts team. He became the General Manager of Bluecoast Seafood Grill and Raw Bar in Bethany Beach. In the years that followed, Dickinson assisted in opening three new SoDel restaurants while maintaining his duties as GM. In 2016, he became the Vice President of Operations for SoDel Concepts, overseeing operations in 10 restaurants, a wedding and event venue, and concessions at Delaware’s two largest amateur sports facilities. In 2017, Dickinson was named to Delaware Business Times List of the Best and Brightest Young Professionals Under 40. In 2020, he was promoted to Vice President of SoDel Concepts, overseeing all aspects of the business, which continues to expand, increasing to 14 coastal Delaware restaurants by spring 2022. Dickinson resides in Milton with his wife and their two children.
CARL M. FREEMAN FOUNDATION CONTINUES LONGSTANDING PARTNERSHIP WITH SUSSEX COUNTY LAND TRUST
Rehoboth Beach, DE – As part of its ongoing commitment to support Sussex County nonprofit organizations, the Carl M. Freeman Foundation contributed $10,000 to the Sussex County Land Trust. The funds will support the Land Trust in preserving more open space in Sussex County, in addition to volunteer efforts and education programming.
“The Carl M. Freeman Foundation have a long history of socially responsible development and philanthropy and we appreciate their recognition of the Trust’s efforts. One of the missions of the Trust is to protect quality of life and have a healthy balance between economic development and open space preservation,” said Sussex County Land Trust Chairman, Casey Kenton. “The Freeman organizations share this mission wholeheartedly and we couldn’t be more appreciative to have them as a partner.”
“We are thrilled to continue our longstanding partnership with Sussex County Land Trust. The work that the Land Trust does to responsibly preserve open space is critical as the county continues to be a place where people from across the nation wish to live or visit,” said Executive Director of the Carl M. Freeman Foundation, Patti Grimes.
The Carl M. Freeman Foundation commits its time, talent and treasure to facilitate, support and promote innovative community-based leadership and giving. Their focus is on communities where the customers, employees, and vendors of Carl M. Freeman Companies work, live and play. Please visit carlmfreemanfoundation.org for more information about the Carl M. Freeman Foundation.
The Sussex County Land Trust is dedicated to protecting natural, cultural, agricultural and recreational resources through land preservation, stewardship and education for today and tomorrow. The focus of the SCLT is in four principal areas: Preserving Sussex County’s rich agricultural heritage, protecting important forest habitat, preserving Sussex County history and protecting private land through conservation easements. For more information, please visit sclandtrust.org.
Sussex County Land Trust Welcomes New Board Member
The Sussex County Land Trust, a non-profit conservation organization, is pleased to announce the appointment of new board member, Jason King. A Sussex County native, King is originally from Milford, Del., attending Milford High School – and later graduating from the University of Delaware with a Bachelors in History. In 2015, he joined Dogfish Head Craft Brewery/Boston Beer Company and currently serves as a National Accounts Manager for the organization. Actively involved in his community, King is engaged with the Beer & Benevolence program at Dogfish which focuses on collaboration with nonprofit organizations to foster community, nourish artistic advancement and cultivate environmental stewardship. It is his involvement with this program that led King to become involved with the Sussex County Land Trust.
Jason is an avid outdoorsman and specifically enjoys hunting and fishing. He is also the current record holder for the largest Mahi-Mahi caught by a captain in Delaware and is a longtime committee member of the Eastern Sussex Ducks Unlimited Chapter. King resides in Lewes with his wife, Ashley.
“Our Board of Directors is comprised of a dedicated team of community leaders committed to sourcing new opportunities for continued land preservation and conservation in Sussex County,” said Casey Kenton, Chairman, Sussex County Land Trust. “We’re excited Jason is onboard and welcome his talent, expertise and energy as we further our mission.”
The Sussex County Land Trust is dedicated to protecting natural, cultural, agricultural and recreational resources through land preservation, stewardship and education for today and tomorrow. The focus of the SCLT is in four principal areas: Preserving Sussex County’s rich agricultural heritage, protecting important forest habitat, preserving Sussex County history and protecting private land through conservation easements.
Sussex County Land Trust and Chesapeake Conservancy Celebrate Purchase & Preservation of Nanticoke Crossing Park
On June 7, the Sussex County Land Trust (SCLT) and Chesapeake Conservancy announced the successful preservation of the newly named Nanticoke Crossing Park. Located on the south side of the Nanticoke River, opposite Woodland, about 4 miles west of Seaford, this 41-acre property includes 29 acres of a mixed hardwood-pine forest, 12 acres of open area with large canopy trees, and 1,900 feet of meandering shoreline with healthy, freshwater tidal, wetland plants. Additionally, it contains direct access to the river by means of an old lagoon that will be revitalized for public use. Purchased from Absher Farms LLC, Nanticoke Crossing Park features a rolling topography overlooking the beautiful Nanticoke River. This partnership marks a successful landmark collaboration by inter-governmental and non-profit organizations to preserve land in Western Sussex County for conservation and recreational use.
The opportunity to protect this site was presented to the SCLT by the Chesapeake Conservancy, a non-profit with the mission of conserving and restoring Chesapeake landscapes and connecting everyone to the Chesapeake Bay watershed. Chesapeake Conservancy, in partnership with the Delaware-based Mt. Cuba Center, assists local and state entities by facilitating funding and negotiations for protection projects in the region. This marks a successful landmark collaboration by inter-governmental and non-profit organizations to preserve land in Western Sussex County to be protected for conservation and recreational use.
“The Navy is proud to be a contributing partner for the protection of Nanticoke Crossing Park. This project demonstrates that we can successfully protect military readiness in the Navy’s airspace and support our communities through land preservation and creation of public recreation opportunities,” said Rob Vargo, director, Dept. of the Navy Atlantic Ranges and Targets Department.
The protection and preservation of Nanticoke Crossing Park is a great example of leveraging partnerships and resources for the greater good of Sussex County,” said Casey Kenton, chairman of the SCLT. “We are excited to play a role in this partnership and protect such a beautiful piece of land in Western Sussex overlooking the Nanticoke River. On behalf of the entire board of the Sussex County Land Trust, we look forward to working with our partners in developing this property into a natural and public recreational resource for all to enjoy.”
“This is the 21st parcel protected through the Chesapeake Conservancy’s partnership with Mt. Cuba for a total of 3,050 acres. The projects have connected previously protected properties throughout the Nanticoke River watershed, which is now 33% protected,” said Joel Dunn, president and CEO of the Chesapeake Conservancy. “The Nanticoke River Watershed is now one of the East coast’s best examples of how to achieve President Biden’s intentions in the America the Beautiful initiative to conserve 30% of lands and waters in the United States by 2030.”
“Preserving Sussex County’s spacious wonder and natural beauty has long been a priority for the County Council, and it’s through partnerships like this where we can achieve that goal in magnificent ways,” Sussex County Council President Michael H. Vincent said. “The Nanticoke Crossing Park, and the collaborative effort to create it, will be a shining example of how government, non-profits, and others can come together toward a singular purpose: to protect a piece of Sussex County for our residents today and, more importantly, for our children tomorrow.”
“We are really excited to help conserve this beautiful place on the Nanticoke River shoreline for future generations,” said Ann C. Rose, Mt. Cuba Center’s president. “Gorgeous native trees will take your breath away, including many oak species, sassafras, black cherry, loblolly pine, Virginia pine, and even Delaware’s state tree to the American holly. This site is home to large stands of spatterdock, blue flag iris and sweetspire, highbush blueberry, and other trees and shrubs. Fox, deer, bald eagles, osprey and songbirds are often seen here.”
Several partnerships helped acquire the property, including Sussex County Council, Chesapeake Conservancy, Mt. Cuba Center, U.S. Navy (via its Readiness and Environmental Protection Integration Program helping to avoid land-use conflicts and maintain testing missions under Navy airspace), Delaware Open Space Program, Delaware Division of Fish and Wildlife and the SCLT. This robust collection of partners aligned expertise, funding, and interest in conservation to protect this open space for public use. New partnerships will be formed to promote Nanticoke Crossing Park as a site for local and regional recreation for water access, hiking, and possibly hunting and camping.
Delaware Botanic Gardens ready to bloom in Sussex
Grand opening slated for 2019
Delaware Botanic Garden
The Sussex County Land Trust has granted Delaware Botanic Gardens a 99-year renewable lease for creation of its 37-acre garden.
This facility is being developed on land owned by SCLT – the Cannon Tract.