HOCKESSIN, DE. (December 22, 2017)—Mt. Cuba Center and Red Clay Reservation will merge organizations on January 1, 2018. The two organizations are closely aligned in their commitment to the conservation of open space and healthy ecosystems, and will continue this work as a unified Mt. Cuba Center.
Red Clay Reservation was established in 1962 by Henry B. du Pont and Lammot du Pont Copeland to preserve open space at a time when urban and suburban sprawl was already evident. Due to their visionary actions, Red Clay Reservation has remained a protector of the environment through its own preservation and restoration projects and by a long-term programming partnership with the Delaware Nature Society.
Mt. Cuba Center is a botanical garden and conservation organization incorporated in 1989 by Lammot du Pont Copeland and his wife Pamela. Life-long gardeners, the Copelands envisioned that the elegant gardens they cultivated on their estate since the 1930’s would someday inspire a community of conservation. As Mrs. Copeland put it, “I want this to be a place where people will learn to appreciate our native plants and to see how these plants can enrich their lives so that they, in turn, will become conservators of our natural habitats.”
Red Clay Reservation stewards 501 acres of natural lands in the rolling hills of northern Delaware. Mt. Cuba Center comprises 582 acres adjacent to the Red Clay Reservation property. Together, the merged Mt. Cuba Center will encompass 1,083 acres, with the goal of conserving diverse plant and wildlife habitats and biodiversity. Ecosystem-based management includes water quality monitoring, reforestation, prescribed burns, and the creation, restoration and management of habitat for plants and wildlife.
“This merger brings together two organizations with a longstanding relationship and history of conservation in Delaware,” said Ann Rose, Mt. Cuba Center’s President. “With combined land holdings, Mt. Cuba Center and Red Clay Reservation have joined forces to develop more impactful and unified conservation of natural habitats in an increasingly settled region.” Mt. Cuba Center undertook a comprehensive master planning process in 2016. The process, which also considered Red Clay Reservation lands, affirmed the advantages of formally connecting the two properties. The master plan, which will be finalized in early 2018, envisions the future development of trails to facilitate visitor access to the natural lands of both properties. The plan also anticipates enhancing Mt. Cuba Center’s gardens, facilities, and infrastructure to accommodate growing audiences.
“Combining these two exquisite landscapes will allow us to connect people to natural beauty in exciting new ways, and it’s that connection to nature that is the key to inspiring people to conserve their environment,” said Jeff Downing, Mt. Cuba Center’s Executive Director.
Guests to Mt. Cuba Center can explore historic formal gardens, naturalistic woodland gardens, serene ponds, and a native meadow garden. Access to the expanded natural lands will begin in spring 2018 through education programs and hay wagon tours. Mt. Cuba Center is a haven for native wildlife and plants, located less than 10 miles from the I-95 corridor. The gardens are open April through November, with educational programming and special events throughout the year.
Mt. Cuba Center is a botanical garden located in Hockessin, Delaware. Over the past 70 years the gardens at Mt. Cuba Center have evolved, transforming fallow cornfields into thriving, ecologically-functional landscapes, thanks to the initiative of Mr. and Mrs. Lammot du Pont Copeland. Gardens re-open for general admission on April 4, 2018. Classes are offered year-round. Mt. Cuba Center has assisted in the conservation of more than 6,800 acres of open space in the mid-Atlantic region. More information at mtcubacenter.org.