Lewes Elementary students color for a cause

Open Space Alliance holds poster contest to highlight Fourth Street Preserve efforts
April 18, 2024

Lewes Elementary students interested in the environment were awarded for their artistic efforts April 12, when they were named winners of the Open Space Alliance poster contest.

The contest was held in conjunction with Open Space Alliance’s inaugural Race for Open Space, set for Saturday, April 20, and designed to raise funds to help purchase the 29-acre Fourth Street Preserve in Lewes. 

Open Space Alliance Campaign Chair Jim Ford III said the idea for the poster contest came from former Lewes Mayor Ted Becker, who suggested involving schools in creating awareness of the environmental aspects of maintaining the forest.

In all, 142 students in third through fifth grade entered the contest, and 15 were named winners on the basis of creativity, design and approach, Ford said; each student will receive a gift certificate from Kids’ Ketch.

Winning posters emphasized the benefits of trees and promoted the importance of habitat preservation, Ford said.

The alliance is an initiative of the Greater Lewes Foundation, Ford said. So far, the nonprofit has raised $3 million toward the property’s $8.3 million purchase price, and Ford said he hopes to have $5 million raised by the end of the summer. The group has until September 2025 to raise funds, he said.

“Then, it would be protected from any development by permanent conservation easement,” he said.

The land would be given to the city to undergo a master planning process for its use so the public has the opportunity to weigh in, Ford said. Conditions and restrictions on land use will prohibit buildings and structures, he said.

The forest will be preserved in its natural state with public access and recreational walking trails, Ford said.

Research has found the property is part of a larger deeded parcel issued by the Duke of York in the late 1600s, Ford said.

“Having kids involved is really neat,” Ford said. “They will be the benefactors of it. They’re all winners for participating.”

On race day, King’s Ice Cream in Lewes will donate a percentage of its sales toward the alliance, Ford said.

“So do the race, and slide over and get some ice cream,” he said.

Award-winning students are third-graders Giana Giroux, Grayson Charles, Colin Strumpf, Jessyca Martinez, Madison Miller and Greta Bender; fourth-graders Bella Sockriter and Annabel Banari; and fifth-graders Sadie Strumpf, Addie Lerer, Natalia Tikiob, Anna Liang, Jameson King, Lincoln Fyock and Dax Lerer.

Principal Kim Corbidge said winning posters will be put on a banner and displayed at the race.

The Race for Open Space kicks off at 9 a.m., Saturday, April 20, at George H.P. Smith Park in Lewes. Participants can choose a 5K or 1-mile fun walk. Register at For more information about the Open Space Alliance and to donate, go to


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