Delaware Center for the Inland Bays announces Friend of the Bays Award winners

Delaware News Desk
Friend of the Bays Volunteer Award winner Jodi McLaughlin started “Team Osprey” to monitor and fix osprey platforms in the Bays. She also helps out at the James Farm Ecological Preserve near Ocean View, and participates in the center’s oyster gardening program.
Delmarva Power earned a Friend of the Bays Award in 2020 for their support of the center’s work.
Friend of the Bays Partner Award winner Rob Gano, a Regional Fish & Wildlife Manager with the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control, right, has been a friend to the center since its inception, and worked as a partner to preserve and restore valuable habitats throughout the Bays watershed. Also pictured from left are the Center’s Program Manager Bob Collins and environmental scientist Andrew McGowan.

The Delaware Center for the Inland Bays announced 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.

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 awardees.

Delmarva Power is a unit of Exelon Corp. that provides 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.

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,” said Bason. “He cares about people and wildlife very much: Rob is one in a million.”

The 2020 Friend of the Bays Volunteer Award was presented to 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.

For more, call 226-8105 or visit inlandbays.org.