Hope, Del Tech, woolly bears and Chaz

October 22, 2013

22 OCTOBER 2013 - I hightailed it across Route 9 one day last week, turned in to the campus at Del Tech, closed the car door behind me and floated through the autumn air to Campus Director Ileana Smith's conference room.  A meeting.  Ileana, Bill McGowan, artist John Donato and me.  Wonderful company.  Our mission was to discuss the first 20 years of Del Tech's popular Today and Tomorrow Conference.  The conference grew out of a doctoral dissertation written by Smith before she was campus director, all the way back to the Jack Owens years.  Collaboration.  Sharing information.  Progress through getting people together to discuss issues and seeing what action would arise, if any.

Donato's job is to reduce our 90-minute discussion into a graphic portrayal of the conference's first 20 years.  He does it well.  A recent one involved a geeking session at Lewes Public Library. We'll see how an artist sees the Today and Tomorrow Conference.  His portrayal will be passed out at this year's event scheduled for Wednesday, Oct. 30.

On the way to Del Tech I saw a bumper sticker that provoked thought.  HOPE IS NOT A STRATEGY.  I took it as a slam at the Obama administration but Ileana saw it in much more positive terms. "Hope is a motivator," she said.  "It isn't a strategy. In many ways, hope is what drives us at Del Tech."

I was happy to hear her positive spin.  That's Ileana.  That was Jack Owens too.  They believe in people. They believe in giving people hope, and the tools to make those hopes achievable.  That's Del Tech.


If the number of woolly bears crossing local roads from field to field is any indication, look out.  Crossing Delmarva the other day I saw literally thousands of the black and brown caterpillars.  I don't know if they metamorphose into beautiful butterflies but I hope so.  This beauty greeted us at our front door to the office the other day. Pix of woolly bears and butterfly are below.


Chaz Salkin is stepping down at the end of the month as director of Delaware's Division of Parks.  He leaves behind a magnificent and steadily improving system of parks which he plans to enjoy more now that he is retiring.

Through my role as a board member of Sussex County Land Trust, I've been working with Chaz in a public/private partnership to restore the Wolfe House on Wolfe Neck Road.  It's been a slog but we're making some progress and Chaz and his folks in parks have been supportive and patient.

Chaz and his wife, Susan, of the Division of Arts, who is also retiring, are regulars at the annual Rehoboth Film Festival.  When you see them there, thank them for their many years as passionate supporters of parks and arts in Delaware.