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DNREC Honors Young Environmentalists and Winners

At the Delaware State Fair in Harrington today, Governor John Carney and DNREC Secretary Shawn M. Garvin honored three Delaware students as DNREC’s Young Environmentalists of the Year for their work to protect, restore or enhance our state’s natural resources, and the three winners of the 2022 Youth Fishing Tournament.

“DNREC’s Young Environmentalist awards are an annual reminder of how today’s young people are stepping up to take leadership roles in caring for our natural resources and advocating for the health of our environment. Today, we recognize three of these young Delawareans who are already making a difference today to help ensure a better tomorrow,” said Secretary Garvin. “We also recognize the three young anglers who caught the most fish in this year’s Youth Fishing Tournament, a conservation-minded event to introduce children to the joy of catching – and releasing –  fish.”

Young Environmentalist of the Year Awards:

  •  Elementary School:

Tao Le Marchand, age 10, of Newark, who goes by Ty, is passionate about endangered species. He created his own foundation, Foxtrot, raised $400 for the Wolf Sanctuary of PA and advocated for wolves to be returned to the federal endangered species list by lobbying the White House. Ty also is active in North Star Elementary School’s Earth Club and plans to study zoology toward a career in wildlife conservation.

  •  Middle School:

Anna Spence, age 13, of Harrington, noticed Styrofoam cups strewn around the cafeteria and playground at Lake Forest Central Elementary. She created a presentation that she shared with her principal and superintendent, successfully advocating for change: replace Styrofoam with paper cups, which decompose much faster than Styrofoam.

  •  High School:

James Haley, age 15, of Bethany Beach, planned and executed his Eagle Scout environmental community service project with the Delaware Center for the Inland Bays, leading a team to perform GPS mapping of submerged aquatic vegetation in tributaries of the Inland Bays. For four days this spring, James and the team mapped local tributaries and accrued 146 team hours of environmental community service. This mapping data will help restore and expand beds of seagrass in the Inland Bays, providing habitat for crustaceans and fish. James also earned the Scouts BSA 50th Anniversary Environmental Protection Agency Award and merit badges in the areas of animal studies, outdoor activities, earth science, and public health.

 Now in its 29th year, DNREC’s Young Environmentalist of the Year Awards program recognizes Delaware students whose actions have helped protect, restore or enhance our natural resources by initiating an innovative project, practicing environmental stewardship, increasing public awareness or demonstrating environmental ethics. More information about the program can be found at

2022 Youth Fishing Tournament Winners:

The 2022 Youth Fishing Tournament winners honored were:

  • Statewide and New Castle County winner Onna Crowley, age 13, of Clayton, took top honors by catching 18.8 pounds of fish in Lums Pond, including the biggest fish of the day statewide, a 12.1-pound carp.
  • Sussex County winner Brody Spencer, age 10, of Dagsboro, came in second place statewide, catching 7.19 pounds of fish at Ingrams Pond.
  • Kent County winner Dominic Webb, age 10, of Clayton took third place statewide, catching 5.25 pounds of fish at the Akridge Scout Reservation pond.

Established by the DNREC Division of Fish and Wildlife and sponsored by the Delaware Natural Resources Police, the tournament introduces youth to the sport of fishing and teaches the catch-and-release approach to conservation. The 36th annual Youth Fishing Tournament was held June 4 at three locations, one in each county: Ingrams Pond in Sussex County, Akridge Scout Reservation in Kent County, and Lums Pond in New Castle County. More information about the annual tournament is available at

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