Delaware Nature Society Annual Reports Annual Report 2013 | Page 5

2013 highlights Seaford Elementary Schoolyard Habitats Year of Coverdale Farm Preserve As a result of a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and Chesapeake Bay Trust grant (Capacity Building Initiative) and collaboration and partnership with National Wildlife Federation, Seaford School District & Sussex Conservation District, four rain gardens were installed at Seaford elementary schools (one in each elementary school) to be used as Schoolyard Habitats. These rain gardens provided an outdoor teaching space for over 400 students a year, provided habitat for wildlife, beautifies the schoolyard, captured runoff, prevented erosion, and improved local water quality. In addition, the NOAA B Wet grant also included programming for all 2nd & 7th graders in the district. 2013 was dedicated as the “Year of Coverdale Farm Preserve” to highlight the farm education programming, Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) and 352 acres of nature preserve at the site. During the year, visitors and program participants experienced farm to table programs using our kitchen, explored the natural areas during birding programs, and visited our barnyard animals. Site enhancements included installing a deer exclusion fence, planting 150 native trees (with the help of over 50 community volunteers), and expanding our livestock program, with the addition of a new dairy cow and male calves. The Coverdale Farm Preserve CSA provided 22 weeks of fresh, organically grown produce to 200 families in our region. Delaware Nature Society awarded highly competitive grant for statewide watershed programs DuPont Environmental Education Center program inspires Wilmington teen to pursue advanced education in science The 3M/AEARO Technologies grant funded comparative watershed programs statewide with Red Clay District travelling to DEEC and Ashland Nature Center; Capital District programming at Abbott’s Mill Nature Center and Milford Park; Milford District programming at Abbott’s Mill Nature Center and Blair’s Pond/ Mispillion tributary. In addition to the generous funding provided for the program, 3M/AEARO employees served as mentors to the seventh graders during their field work. Syesha Walley first experienced DuPont Environmental Education Center as a teen participant in our immersive week-long Delaware Futures program funded through the DuPont Clear into the Future conservation program. This unique program provides Wilmington teens access to our hands-on citizen science program exploring the marsh ecosystem at DuPont Environmental Education Center. Syesha started the program with apprehension about nature (and in particular, spiders), but left with a new appreciation for wildlife, conservation, and marsh animals. This interest led her to receive a scholarship and become the first paid summer education intern, generously funded by a private fund at Delaware Community Foundation, established by the late Gov. Russell W. Peterson, and his wife June. Syesha served as a DuPont Environmental Education Center intern for two consecutive summers. This experience has fostered a deeper appreciation for the environment and the natural world. Today, Syesha is pursuing an education degree so she can teach science to children. Sea-Level Rise Awareness Week Along with 14 of our conservation partners, Delaware celebrated it’s first Sea-Level Rise (SLR) Awareness Week September 14th-22nd. Established through a legislative resolution, SLR week reached over 300 people through seminars, volunteer tree plantings, and educational events. We also released a 13 minute video titled “Rising Tides” that detailed how Delaware will be impacted by SLR and what local governments are doing now to prepare. Governor Markell kicked off the week with Executive Order 41 which requires all state agencies to consider SLR predictions in all future planning. Hawk Watch continues to break records Abbott’s Mill Nature Center expands program offerings for the community The 7th annual Ashland Hawk Watch, which runs September – November, counted a record breaking 20,910 raptors and attracted 1,540 visitors. This daily hawk migration watch station is a partnership between Delaware Nature Society, Delmarva Ornithological Society, and Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control. In 2013, Abbot’s Mill Nature Center had 14,467 participants in our programs, of which, 8,821 were students. This is a dramatic increase over 2012. Our team at Abbott’s Mill Nature Center is committed to connecting more students, school groups and adults with meaningful education opportunities at the site. @DENatureSociety 5