April 21, 2023
To celebrate Earth month, we’re highlighting just a few incredible visionaries who have made our parks what they are today. With their dedication and activism, these remarkable individuals not only helped shape our state parks but environmental history! We call these environmental protectors the Pioneers of Preservation.
From lobbying legislators to organizing community support, Dorothy P. Miller was involved in every major effort to preserve the natural beauty of the White Clay Creek Valley during her adult life. Her efforts resulted in a major increase of protected lands – from just 24 acres to almost 3,000 acres which are enjoyed today by millions of visitors and residents of the Newark area. Dorothy strongly believed that we must “conserve as much of the stream valley as we can for future generations.” Us too, Dorothy.
Bill Hopkins came to Delaware in 1964 as the first superintendent of Cape Henlopen State Park. With him he brought a vision that would shape preservation in the state for years to come. For more than 40 years Hopkins was a driving force in preserving our lands as a previous Director of the Division of Parks and Recreation, educator, advocate to elected officials locally and nationally, and mentor to a generation of park professionals. By encouraging ingenuity, teamwork and entrepreneurship, Hopkins gave us the framework to continue his passion to save our state’s special places! To commemorate Hopkins, he became one of the first Pioneer of Preservation.
Lynn Williams fell in love with New York’s rural landscapes as a child and brought that passion to Delaware in adulthood, proclaiming, “We must educate and advocate now in order to conserve for the future.” In the early 1960s, Williams led the fight to protect land along the banks of the Brandywine River from development – saving the space which became Brandywine Creek State Park! Williams helped found the Delaware Nature Society and has worked closely with groups such as the Girl Scouts of America, the state’s Parks and Recreation Council and Woodlawn Trustees to advocate preservation across the First State. Three separate Delaware governors have appointed her to chair the state’s Open Space Council!
Ordinary people with big visions and a passion for natural lands made generations-long impacts in our Parks. Make yours.
For information on Volunteering or joining a Friends Group, visit : destateparks.com/volunteer