Governor John Carney presented the Governor's Urban Conservation Award for Sussex County to The Delaware Botanic Gardens at Pepper Creek (DBG).

At a May 3 ceremony held at the Delaware Agricultural Museum and Village in Dover, Delaware, Governor Carney said, "Today's honorees have demonstrated their ongoing commitment to improving the environment, and on behalf of the people of Delaware, I would like to thank each of them for their dedication and for their time, effort, and investment to implement model conservation practices." The Governor was joined by Secretary of DNREC Shawn Garvin who added, "This year's honorees are wonderful and diverse examples of how we can learn from the success of others and can all be better environmental stewards by taking thoughtful and important actions to protect and enhance our water and air quality."

Ray Sander, DBG President, said "On behalf of the DBG Board, our Advisory Council, our distinguished business partners, our Sussex County legislators, the Sussex Conservation District, and our generous donors and supporters, we are honored to be recognized for our commitment to conservation. Conservation has been one of our core values from the very beginning of our project. Conservation is also one of the core values of the great companies who have brought their talents and positive values to the Delaware Botanic Gardens project."

Business and thought leaders have offered their reactions to DBG's conservation award: 

"Economic growth motivated by environmental conservation greatly contributes to the economy and promotes sustainability. Botanic gardens motivate business and residential choices and encourage investment in natural resource protection. Pennoni is very proud to be the Consulting Engineers for the Delaware Botanic Gardens, a role we have played from the inception of the project. Pennoni’s investment in providing time and talent to projects such as this is an investment back into our communities on iconic projects that provide a social bene- fit" said Chuck Pennoni, Chairman of the Board, Pennoni Associates.

Greg Sawka, President and CEO of Bancroft Construction noted "we are excited to serve as the project's Construction Manager and to work alongside some of the most devoted owners and inspirational designers in the business." Chris Baker, president of George & Lynch, commented "as a life-long resident, I appreciate the vision and extraordinary efforts of the founders to provide for conservation, education and sensory enjoyment. The Delaware Botanic Gardens will be a unique cultural resource and a great asset for residents and the tourism industry."

Casey Sclar, Executive Director of the American Public Gardens Association, noted "on behalf of our 600 Association member gardens, we are thrilled that with this award, Delaware has recognized the unique conservation contributions made by public gardens. The Delaware Botanic Gardens will contribute to the improved health of the Inland Bays and will benefit the unique ecological and agricultural features that co-exist in Southern Delaware." Mariah Calagione of Dogfish Head Brewery & Distillery, added that "we are participating in this great project because we support DBG's important environmental education role to motivate people to interact with nature and to learn first hand the importance of conservation."

"Our nationally and internationally renowned designers, Lake/Flato Architects, RAS Landscape Architects and Piet Oudolf have strong commitments to helping us create a beautiful, sustainable public garden which celebrates our region and demonstrates the value of conservation," said Sheryl Swed, DBG Executive Director. "The DBG conservation commitment will be evident in every aspect of our management of the land and our approach to plant and water conservation," remarked Gregg Tepper, DBG Director of Horticulture.

The Delaware Botanic Gardens at Pepper Creek is embarking on a multiyear, multiphase plan to establish a flagship botanic garden for Delmarva that manifests the values motivating all garden lovers everywhere—from the magnificence of nature to the role of horticulture in learning, enjoyment, and health. Founded in 2012 as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, the Delaware Botanic Gardens will celebrate the coastal plain with a flagship sustainable garden that delights and educates visitors and inspires them to preserve Delmarva’s native landscapes. It will create a unique, inspirational, and accessible garden for public benefit and pleasure.

Further information on the Delaware Botanic Gardens, including membership and donations, can be found at and at