Delaware Nature Society Honors Senator McDowell and Connie Holland, State Planning Director


Annual Meeting also Celebrates Volunteers and Environmental Educator

Delaware Nature Society (DelNature) announced plans today to honor retiring State Senator Harris McDowell and Connie Holland, State Planning Director, as their 2020 Environmental Stewards of the Year. The awards will be given as part of the DelNature Annual Meeting on June 10 at 4:30 – 5:30 p.m. The yearly event honors individuals for their dedication to the environment, including volunteers, public officials and educators.

“Every year DelNature honors people in the community for their commitment to the environment. We are so pleased to honor Senator McDowell and Connie Holland this year,” said Anne Harper, DelNature Executive Director. “Senator McDowell deserves to be celebrated for his long service to protect the environment. DelNature will miss his presence in the General Assembly and his hard work to boost reusable energy in Delaware. Ms. Holland has been instrumental in encouraging more careful land use planning in Delaware for almost three decades, including shining a light on such important issues as protecting critical natural resources areas from development.”

A Sample of DelNature Honorees 2020

Senator Harris McDowell – Environmental Steward

With over 40 years in the state legislature, he is a recognized leader in energy and environmental matters, having championed the creation of the first low-income heating assistance program in the country. He also was central to the creation of the Delaware Energy Office, the state’s Renewable Portfolio Standard and the Sustainable Energy Utility.

Connie Holland – Environmental Steward

After starting her career in the Kent County Planning Office, Ms. Holland was appointed by Governor Minner in 2001 to direct the Office of State Planning Coordination. Under her leadership, the office was responsible for the Livable Delaware agenda and the adoption of the Preliminary Land Use Service. Ms. Holland has charted a course for state planning which thinks far beyond economic development considerations but also includes natural resource protections, water and wastewater considerations, encouraging the creation of recreational space, and increasing intergovernmental coordination.

Mathew Bailey – Ashland location volunteer

A volunteer since 2019, Mr. Bailey has filled many important roles including greeter, environmental policy advocate and information resource for visitors.  Mr. Bailey has built a career around protecting the environment with special focus on conservation of endangered species.

Melinda Hardie – Coverdale location volunteer

Ms. Hardie first volunteered at Coverdale Farm Preserve in 2015 as a visitation host. Since that first day her role has evolved to incorporate her many talents with an emphasis in marketing and communication. She has been instrumental in developing communication strategies and enhancing the visitor experience.

Michael McFarlin – Abbott’s Mill location volunteer

A volunteer since 2017, Col. Michael McFarlin started and managed the “Monarch Highway Habitat Project” coordinating the efforts the Delaware Department of Transportation and the Abbott’s Mill volunteer Certified Wildlife Habitat Stewards. Mr. McFarlin also co-led a Monarch Monitoring Workshop with DelNature and US Fish and Wildlife to encourage highway habitat and home garden monitors to collect Monarch larva data for Sussex County.

Evelyn Williams: DuPont Environmental Education Center (DEEC) location volunteer

Ms. Williams began volunteering for DelNature when DEEC opened ten years ago. She has dedicated those years to welcoming, interacting with and interpreting nature for visitors to the site every Friday. She also assists the education team in prepping for programs and researching about plants and animals of the marsh to share with staff and visitors.

For further information on the Annual Meeting call: 302.239.2334. The 2020 Environmental Educator of the Year will also be announced.

About DelNature

DelNature’s mission is to connect people with the natural world to improve our environment through education, conservation, and advocacy. We envision a healthy and sustainable environment for all.

Founded in 1964, DelNature, a state affiliate for the National Wildlife Federation, is renowned for educational programming, conservation, and advocacy, providing the tools for communities to take action and promote the health of the environment through land preservation, wildlife protection, and watershed stewardship.            

DelNature manages over 2,000 acres of land statewide, including four nature preserves, and operates four educational sites: : Ashland Nature CenterAbbott’s Mill Nature CenterDuPont Environmental Education Center, and Coverdale Farm Preserve.

Organizational priorities are comprised of three pillars of engagement focused on: working and natural lands, healthy waters, and protecting habitats and wildlife.

Currently, thousands of members and over 1,000 volunteers assist core staff and interns to support DelNature’s mission and help our year-round educational programs, conservation, and advocacy efforts continue to improve and grow.

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Mark Nardone, Director of Advocacy
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