As development marches on, conserved lands benefit plants, animals … and people

By Lynn R. Parks | Photograph by Kevin Fleming
From the July 2014 issue

ParadisePreserved-byKevinFlemingFor people interested in preserving the Earth’s forests, recent news has been pretty bleak. In the November 2013 issue of Science magazine, researchers cited satellite imagery and global data in reporting that the world lost 2.3 million square kilo­meters of forest from 2000 to 2012.

A United Nations report puts the decimation in more graspable terms: Nearly 13 million acres of forest is lost every year — the equivalent of a soccer field-sized woodlot every second.

Closer to home, the Delaware Department of Agriculture estimated in 2006 that 3,000 acres of forest were being ripped out every year to accommodate residential or commercial development. That number is down now, says spokesman Daniel Shortridge, because of the recent recession and slow recovery. But many of the anticipated developments that the estimate was based on are still pending, waiting for the right economic conditions to get underway.

The Cape May-Lewes Ferry’s birth 50 years ago ended a long and difficult labor

By Pam George
From the July 2014 Issue

CapeMay50thPasses for the Cape May-Lewes Ferry’s inaugural voyage on June 30, 1964, were prized possessions, many of them surely destined for scrapbooks. Indeed, “Souvenir Memento” was printed above the day’s departure and arrival times, and the numbered tickets had a drawing of a ferry cruising by a lighthouse in the left corner and a blue-tinged photograph of the real vessel on the right.

But on that momentous day, holders of those free passes had to navigate bumpy roads to reach the ferry. The planned access route, the Theodore C. Freeman Highway, had yet to be built, and there was no terminal. Officials gathered at 11 a.m. at the site of the future building for a dedication ceremony. It was quick. At 11:45 a.m., the first vessel left Lewes for Cape May, where officials repeated their addresses at 2 p.m.

That is the summer question

By Lauren Wolf
From the June 2014 issue

peeI don’t really remember the first time I peed in the ocean.

But it must’ve been when I was a little girl, during one of my family’s numerous summer vacations to the Jersey shore. We rented the same property in Wildwood Crest year in and year out: a modest three-bedroom apartment just blocks from the beach.

What I do remember is a yearning to never leave the water, for my dad to throw me into a salty green wave one more time while shouting, “Uh-oh, Spaghetti-o!” My guess is that I first did it during one of those marathon splash sessions. If you spend enough time in the ocean that your fingers get wrinkly, your lips turn blue, and you have sand in unspeakable places, trudging back across the white-hot pavement to a rental house isn’t really an attractive bathroom option. I’m sure my parents weren’t in favor of escorting their dripping, pruney child to and fro throughout the afternoon and gave their consent.