Reforestation project aids Great Cypress Swamp in southern Sussex

Volunteers like Rafael Pérez-Pérez (left) and Nivia Pérez-Torres (right) worked in pairs to plant a total of 1,000 bald cypress tree seedlings. Photo credit: Andrew Martin, DWL.

A large-scale reforestation project underway in southern Sussex County near the Maryland border. The project is a  cooperative effort between Delaware Wild Lands and the Delaware Center for the Inland Bays.

Volunteers like Rafael Pérez-Pérez (left) and Nivia Pérez-Torres (right) worked in pairs to plant a total of 1,000 bald cypress tree seedlings. Photo – Andrew Martin, Delaware Wild Lands.

The 80-acre “Long Field” project site sits within Delaware Wild Lands’ 10,600-acre Great Cypress Swamp. Once an isolated, low-yield agricultural field, the Long Field needed both wetlands and forest restoration to improve water quality and wildlife habitat .

Wild Lands completed the wetlands restoration with other project partners and then teamed up with the Center for Inland Bays to plant trees throughout the 80-acre Long Field.

 Reforestation efforts last month led to the planting of 1,000 bald cypress tree seedlings.

 “I really enjoy getting together with kindred spirits to help repair our Earth’s land, air and water,” says volunteer Charlie Garlow. “We did all that by planting trees with the Center and DWL. What fun!”


 The restoration project incs the plang of 10,000 native trees and shrubs, such as Atlantic white cedar, bald cypress, mixed hardwoods, and buttonbush. This effort will repair a fragmented block of coastal plain upland forest and expand the tree cover within Delaware’s largest contiguous forest. 

 Among its many other benefits, the project will also create a diverse habitat for wildlife, including many species of resident and migratory birds. Furthermore, the trees will help combat climate change by capturing atmospheric carbon and providing flood mitigation benefits.

 “As the largest freshwater wetland and contiguous forest on the Delmarva Peninsula, Wildlands’ Great Cypress Swamp plays a critical role in protecting water quality, air quality, and wildlife habitat throughout the region. The important work completed by these volunteers will have an impact for now and years to come!”, stated Kate Hackett, Wild Lands  executive director.

 Funding for the reforestation project was provided by Delaware’s Nonpoint Source Pollution Program, the Arbor Day Foundation, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, and the State of Delaware’s new Tree for Every Delawarean Initiative.

Delaware Wild Lands was incorporated in 1961 with the mission of protecting and restoring Delaware’s important natural areas through the purchase and management of strategic parcels of land. For more information, visit

 The Delaware Center for the Inland Bays is a nonprofit organization established in 1994, and is one of 28 National Estuary Programs. To learn more about the center’s restoration work, log on to