DNREC honors Charles and Kathy Shattuck

On July 25, 2019 Kathy and I traveled down state to attend the Delaware State Fair. It wasn’t our intention to see the giraffes or ride on a camel. We weren’t there to eat the fried Oreos or get tossed off the mechanical bull. Our presence was requested as we were one of the recipients of the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control’s Outstanding Volunteer of the Year 2019. We were awarded this for our work in resurrecting a failing colony of Purple Martins at Bellevue State Park in North Wilmington.

In 2016, 12 birds fledged from that colony. With the donation of two gourd racks and weekly monitoring by us the colony fledged 101 birds this year. As we sat there waiting to shake hands with Delaware Governor John Carney, Lt. Governor Bethany Hall-Long , and DNREC Director Shawn Garvin,  I watched as other individuals received their awards. I listened about two sisters, 6 and 8 years old, who were awarded for their efforts in raising Monarchs and keeping bee hives.  A 17 year old was awarded for recording and analyzing over 18,000 water samples from local streams. Oh, and he personally got 15 restaurants to stop using plastic straws. I felt sheepish in their presence but was inspired by their principled deeds. As Kathy tells me when I say we don’t deserve an award. “If you feel that way just do more.” So we do; each and every day. This has been our business plan and our mission.

   On July 2, we held a pop up bird banding of the Purple Martins and invited the public. A local reporter attended with his son. The reporter wrote a great story on the birds and the banding. This has since been picked up by the AP news wire and last Friday the article ran in the Washington Post. Our small effort has now been published nationally. It was picked up in Tulsa, Waco, Marietta, and Roanoke.