The origins of the Mt. Cuba Center in Delaware took root over 80 years ago, when—in 1935—Mr. and Mrs. Lammot du Pont Copeland purchased 126.7 acres of farmland near the village of Mount Cuba to develop their home.
The colonial revival-style house was designed by Victorine and Samuel Homsey and the original landscape was designed by Thomas Sears.Today, what was once farmland has been restored into a lush botanical garden featuring some of the region’s most beautiful native plants.
The Center’s mission is now to inspire an appreciation for the beauty and value of native plants and a commitment to support the habitats that sustain them..
During a bright and clear week in the Autumn of 2018 at the Mt. Cuba Center, more than 150 volunteers worked their way across the grassy hillside, backs bent, planting trees in a tight grid.
These volunteers from the community planted 3,000 trees with Mt. Cuba Center staff in an effort to reforest open space in the region, and to study the most effective reforestation techniques.
Volunteers from the University of Delaware, Wilmington Friends School, Wilmington Christian School, Avon Grove High School, AmeriCorps and Bank of America learned how to plant a small tree before setting out to plant dozens more, row by row.
This mass tree planting is part of an ongoing experiment conducted by Mt. Cuba Center’s natural lands management staff to evaluate six different reforestation methods, specifically studying the effects of planting densely versus sparsely, and with different mixes of trees and shrubs.
The return on investment (ROI) implications of these plantings will be will be studied for years to come. The results will help inform regional land managers about the benefits and costs of each method. Homeowners can learn from them, too.
The mission of the Mt. Cuba Center is to inspire an appreciation for the beauty and value of native plants and a commitment to support the habitats that sustain them.
Photo of volunteer watering sapling courtesy of Mt. Cuba Center.