An ecological study of the St. Joseph’s Center for Community Service property in Clayton will help lay the groundwork for the preservation and future public use of the land. A $45,000 grant from the National Fish & Wildlife Foundation will fund the study.


An ecological study of the St. Joseph’s Center for Community Service property in Clayton will help lay the groundwork for the preservation and future public use of the land.

On March 22, Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.) visited the St. Joseph’s property to help announce a $45,000 grant from the National Fish & Wildlife Foundation to fund this environmental study.

The 222-acre property, which straddles the line between Kent and New Castle counties, contains over 60 acres of wetlands, woods and meadow habitat for wildlife.

At last week’s grant announcement, speakers expressed their hopes for the continued vitality of this land.

“This is a property to be treasured, preserved and enjoyed,” said St. Joseph’s Executive Director Marc Ostroff.

St. Joseph’s Board of Directors Chair Joyce Webber said the property gives the community “the opportunity to see the beauty of nature up front and personal.”

“I was here 30 years ago, and I thought ‘what a treasure,’” said Sen. Carper during his remarks. “Thirty, sixty, ninety years from now, people will come here and it will still be beautiful.”

The firm selected to conduct the ecological study is Applied Ecological Services.

Michael McGraw, a scientist with the firm, said the study will span multiple seasons and determine the ecological health of the St. Joseph’s site.

“It definitely appears to potentially have a diverse array of wildlife, but also shows the influence of man,” said McGraw on the preliminary findings.

The recommendations that come out of this ecological study of the St. Joseph’s property will serve as the foundation for a comprehensive land management plan.

The results will also help plan for future public uses, which may include walking trails, a community garden, fishing, nature preserve, primitive camping, sustained agriculture, organic farming, a farmer’s market, education, research, birding and teaching trails.