“Everything is connected.” With Marlene Mervine saying this about Chapel Branch years ago, this is never more true today. As my class in Mexico begins to ground ourselves coming back from speaking at a conference in New York, returning to Mexico, we also begin to realize life doesn’t stop, and how do we keep up with the many events going on around us? Taking a break before we close out the remainder of the posting in this blog of events in New York, Tuesday The Nanticoke Watershed goes to provide information on what Chapel Branch means to the surrounding individuals that have grown up with areas such as Chapel Branch and other outlying areas. Here has what has been said specifically when asked about the Vince Morris Trail at Chapel Branch, found at 38°37’40″N 75°38’20″W, this is what we have as a HANDFUL of people among many that have discovered Chapel Branch:
“Watched my kids run cross country there and loved walking the trails while we lived there…definitely not a place to “let go”….Beautiful property. I know my family will never forget all the bonding experiences there.” (Children – Jaime and Cristina Garmendia).
Cross Country Alumni-
‘If I were to detract a part of the name of this trail; break the branch in half until it hangs limply, swinging in the wind until it snaps and falls, leaving only “Chapel”, it would be more fitting. More accurate. More true. Because that was what it was to me – a natural sanctuary. The dirt was my altar, the trees were my idols, and the winding path was my ritual. Five times a week, I devoted my body and mind to this place – to the point where my feet, wrapped in their porous, laced encasing, would blister and crack and burn in exalting veneration. Toward betterment. Toward perfection. I was perfection and Chapel Branch, with its wide, forgiving paths, helped me to obtain that. Chapel Branch gave me perfection – just as it gave me protection – that I wouldn’t trade for anything.”
Long time Devotee to Chapel Branch, all things Nature in Delaware, Melinda Duryea, and current educator at Blades Elementary-
Chapel Branch is a great place to enjoy nature. On my walks there I always see several varieties of birds (even saw a Bard owl..awesome), beautiful flowers in the spring/summer, butterflies, deer, frogs, lizards, snakes, and someone even reported to have seen a fox squirrel. I love it there. Whenever I’m there I feel a solace that is hard to explain. It’s an awesome place.
Cross Country Runner and alumni of Seaford Cross Country, Rob Urell-
“Wow, to describe what Chapel Branch means to me is a pretty hard task. Whenever I think of CB (Chapel Branch) I get an overwhelming mix of emotions. That wasn’t a just a place to practice and to race but that was a place to let go and think. I couldn’t tell you how many times I ran at Chapel Branch or how many times I went there to just walk around and think. Some of my fondest high school memories are there. I’m sure some people have no idea what or where Chapel Branch even is but there is so much more there then just trails, there is years and years of memories. As a cross country team we use to go out to clean up every season while Coach Morris and Coach Perciful (CP) would make sure all the directions were clear with a new coat of paint. Chapel branch is a great place and I think it needs to be maintained for years to come, someday I hope to come back a coach a cross country team there. As a wise man always said “yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, today is a gift that’s why it’s called the present.” They say home is where the heart is…I challenge anyone who second guesses what I say to go out to Chapel Branch and run the course or walk in and down to the bridge and tell me you can’t feel something, you know you can.”
Thanks!, Robb Urell
“I remember the first time I actually approached Chapel Branch. It was the night following Coach Morris’ loss to Leukemia. Coach Morris had very little losses, so this is what struck me the most, that he was actually not beside me to talk this dilemma over with, and I had to do something, go somewhere. I chose this place they called Chapel Branch, and as I approached at close to midnight after a stress filled run all over Seaford, I saw the branches, I saw the hat left behind, I saw the signs that others had visited here already and realized the name “Chapel” was something holy when it came to this place. I vowed to return to find out what it was about.
When I did return, I found that I was offended when people threw their garbage along the trails. Tires, mattresses, clothes left carelessly there reminded me of all the stories from others of Vince spending time after time, making sure Chapel Branch remained a sanctuary for all who needed such a place. Little did I know, that this would always be a home to Cross Country Runners, as their trophy from Vince. Little did I also know, the markers once identified so many important characteristics of the environment, this area truly was a gift. To let it be disappear and degrade to nothing, would be to not acknowledge the importance of the events that had occurred there, and that could not happen.
Possibility. That is what The Vince Morris Trail at Chapel Branch is filled with, more than the mysteries of nature, the countless meetings, practices, walks, 5k’s, and cleanups that have occurred here, Chapel Branch is one of many ares that has possibilities that outlast a lifetime. Creating a nature center, educational arenas, physical education projects, as well as conservation awareness classrooms allows students to take what is available out of the classroom, and bring fresh ideas INTO the classroom. In doing so, we see a treasure in our back yards, just what Coach Perciful and Morris would have wanted. Is that worth keeping?
Take a walk among the trails of Chapel Branch and let your body, soul, and mind help you decide. They have never let generations of participants in Chapel Branch down, and neither will it let you down now as you experience areas that are already so much, and can be so much more for future generations.” – Harry Brake
March 30th marks a gathering of individuals at Chapel Branch to do the yearly cleaning, maintenance, and restoration of this area. We hope you can spread the word to help us, get others to help us, and to continue to prepare for the May 11th 5k at Chapel Branch, which will celebrate this area, the individuals that believed in such an area, and individuals such as Dan Dobson, Lynne Betts, Marlene Mervince, and countless others that have helped maintain this area. Thank you!