Rehoboth Beach, DE – The Delaware Center for the Inland Bays is proud to announce this year’s recipients of the “Friend of the Bays” Awards, an honor given to individuals, volunteers and businesses for their support, partnership and volunteering excellence.
On Thursday, Dec. 3, the Center awarded Delmarva Power, Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control Regional Fish & Wildlife Manager Rob Gano and volunteer Jodi McLaughlin as the 2020 “Friend of the Bays” awardees.
Delmarva Power is a unit of Exelon Corporation that provides safe and reliable energy service to about 532,000 electric customers in Delaware and Maryland and about 136,000 natural gas customers in northern Delaware. The company, represented by Senior Public Affairs Manager Jim Smith, earned this year’s “Friend of the Bays” Business Award for supporting local environmental efforts, especially the preservation and restoration of the Inland Bays.
“Whether helping the Center restore wild shellfish populations in the Bays or investing in the environmental education and recreation that the James Farm Ecological Preserve offers, Jim Smith and his team at Delmarva Power have proved themselves to be Friends of the Bays many times over,” said Anna Short, the Center’s Development Coordinator.
Rob Gano was presented with the Partner Award for his many years as a friend to the Center. The Center’s Executive Director, Chris Bason, outlined how Rob has helped preserve and restore habitat throughout the Bays, including his recent work with the Center at the Piney Point Tract of the Assawoman Wildlife Area along the Indian River.
“Rob’s responsibilities managing an increasingly popular and ecologically dynamic wildlife area are always growing, yet every time we come to him, he welcomes us with a smile and finds a way to protect and restore more fish and wildlife habitat,” Chris said. “He cares about people and wildlife very much: Rob is one in a million.”
Last, but certainly not least, the 2020 “Friend of the Bays” Volunteer Award was presented to Jodi McLaughlin for her invaluable help at the James Farm Ecological Preserve, maintaining and fixing osprey nests and participating in the Center’s oyster gardening program.
“The Center’s volunteers serve as stewards of our mission to preserve, protect and restore Delaware’s Inland Bays and their watershed,” said Nivette Pérez-Pérez, Project Manager at the Center. “It’s passionate people like Jodi who motivate us to move forward with their contagious excitement for the natural beauty of the Bays.”
The Delaware Center for the Inland Bays is a nonprofit organization established in 1994, and is one of 28 National Estuary Programs. With its many partners, the Center works to preserve, protect, and restore Delaware’s Inland Bays and their watershed.