On April 24th the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC), Division of Fish and Wildlife held their grand opening for the new Aquatic Resources Education Center(AREC). Programs like Take a Kid Fishing, Eco-Explorers, and horsehoe crab exploration reach thousands of students every year and draw many more to this unique Delaware Bay coastal ecosystem. Programs provide education for teachers and students in Delaware public and private schools, Scout programs, 4-H, and others interested in learning more about Delaware’s aquatic resources.
AREC is located on the Delaware Bayshore Byway, which connects and provides access to 18 communities, 10 state wildlife areas, 2 state parks, 2 national wildlife refuges, wildlife viewing areas, and other ecotourism locations at 21 Discovery Zones. This land encompasses coastal marshes, migratory bird habitat, and beautiful natural resources for wildlife to thrive. Combined, these areas offer the perfect location for learning more about natural ecosystems along the Delaware Bayshore and bring in visitors from all over the coast.
The Delaware Aquatic Resources Education Center is a true partnership. Funding for the facility came from State and Federal Highways Administration funds. This year’s Sport Fish Restoration (SFR) $500,000 grant for Delaware supports the continuation of education programs held at AREC.
In addition to funding, the success of the program can be attributed to the dedication of many people. At the opening event, David Saveikis, DNREC Division of Fish & Wildlife Director, dedicated the main fishing pond outside of the AREC to Cathy Martin. Cathy was the first female biologist in DNREC and served for over 40 years. It is people like Cathy Martin and the fishing community that have supported and protected our aquatic resources.
Thank you to those who came out to support the opening of AREC, especially:
Governor John Carney
U.S. Senator Chris Coons
U.S. Congresswoman Lisa Blunt Rochester
DNREC Secretary Shawn M. Garvin
DNREC Division of Fish & Wildlife Director David Saveikis
DelDOT Public Relations Director Charles McLeod
Delaware Division Administrator (Federal Highway Administration)Mary Ridgeway
Delaware Alliance of Bay Communities Chairman Jim Bailey
Lenape Indian Tribe of Delaware Principal Chief Dennis J. Coker
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Michael Slattery