GEORGETOWN, Del. — The Sussex Conservation District (SCD) recently held an open house and dedication ceremony for the Vanderwende-Evans Conservation Center.
Over 100 guests, state and local representatives attended the dedication ceremony and ribbon cutting then toured the facility.
In late 2019, SCDs board of supervisors voted to rename the facility Vanderwende-Evans Conservation Center, to recognize the efforts of two of the district’s instrumental and longest-serving chairmen. William “Bill” Vanderwende, of Bridgeville, served on the SCD board of supervisors for 36 years and as chairman from 1992 until his retirement at the end of 2013. Cashar W. Evans, of Selbyville, served on the SCD board of supervisors from 1952 to 1991, he spent the last 16 years as chairman.
“Our original plan was to celebrate when the building was completed but the pandemic and Mr. Vanderwende’s passing took the air out of our sails,” said Joel Wharton, chairman of the board of supervisors.
Department of Natural Resources & Environmental Control (DNREC) Secretary Shawn M. Garvin highlighted the partnership between DNREC and SCD and recalled fond memories of Vanderwende.
“I got to meet and know Bill Vanderwende nearly 25 years ago… he was gracious… and supportive and I think it’s a fitting honor to have his name on the building,” said Garvin.
Delaware Department of Agriculture Deputy Secretary Kenny Bounds recalled memories of Evans and Vanderwende and how “future generations will see [Vanderwende-Evans] and it’s up to the rest of us to tell the stories about those names so their legacy can live on.”
Rep. Jesse Vanderwende reminisced about his grandfather, sharing how he only missed two board meetings and how Cashar Evans would refer to him as either Bill or Mr. Vanderwende depending on if Evans liked or dislike something Vanderwende suggested.
On Oct. 31, 1990, the SCD office building on Shortly Rd. was completed and dedicated as the Cashar W. Evans Conservation Center. Expansion and renovations to that building were completed in July 2020.
–Siobhan Kelley, Sussex Conservation District