Donation from Duffield Assoc. to the Delaware Nature Society gives a topographic view of a portion of the Red Clay watershed
The Delaware Nature Society received a donation this month that shows a unique side of the region.
Earlier this summer, local contractors Duffield Associates bequeathed a scale model of the Red Clay Creek corridor as it winds its way from the Pennsylvania border to the White Clay further downstream – roughly a five-mile swath, give or take.
The model is similar to what one might find in a model train enthusiast’s basement, with many of the same elements, hand-cut and assembled.
“This was way before 3D printing,” said Joe Sebastiani, property manager at the Ashland Nature Center, where the model is on display. “Somebody carved all this out.”
Sebastiani said that while the model doesn’t show the entire Red Clay watershed – a region that stretches for miles and includes dozens of tributaries – it does give viewers a sense of the full scale topography surrounding the creek’s path.
“It shows the Piedmont and the hilly areas of Northern Delaware, and as it gets down, it drops off to the coastal plain, where it’s more flat,” he said. “The landforms are really correct.”
The model also shows several easily identifiable landmarks, hand-cut from paper, including Mt. Cuba, the Ashland Center, and several parks, labeled using colored dots with a corresponding legend.
It also shows the Hoopes Reservoir Dam, which is still an active dam used when the Brandywine is low to help supply drinking water to Wilmington and parts of northern New Castle County, Sebastiani said.
Sebastiani said he thinks the model was created sometime in the early 2000’s to show how Duffield could help mitigate flooding with wetlands and flood plains, following a series of floods that wiped out the Glenville development off Route 7.
“I think Duffield were working on some flood mitigation plans, and at that time they decided they would build this as a demonstration,” he said. “I don’t know 100 percent what they were doing with this, but I have a rough idea.”
A piece of the model opens up to expose an underground retention system, which Sebastiani assumes was part of their plan.
Although it’s sitting in the Ashland Center’s main reception area, Sebastiani hopes the model can be used to demonstrate where drinking water comes from, as well as pollution sources.
“For the moment, it’s just [labeled] for a couple of spots along the creek,” he said.
The model is on display at the Ashland Nature Center, 3511 Barley Mill Rd., in Hockessin.