History

Founded in 1964, Delaware Nature Society has been a leading environmental nonprofit organization in the region, working to protect the environment and connect people to nature for more than half a century. Here’s a look back at some of our organization’s highlights and milestones…

1964: Delaware Nature Education Center incorporated September 28 with 41 charter members

1965: Interpretative nature programs developed at Cape Henlopen State Park

1966: Indian Spring Nature Center delineated within Brandywine Creek State Park

1967: Permanent exhibits, in-school programs, & nature walks expanded by volunteer guides

1968: Operations moved into Brandywine Creek Nature Center building

1969: First summer day camp held

1970: Wilmington Public Schools contracted for environmental awareness programs in all fourth grades

1973: Natural Areas Survey initiated to identify unspoiled Delaware sites with natural significance

1974: With other environmental groups, we began ongoing defense of the 1971 Coastal Zone Act

1975: Organization’s name changed to Delaware Nature Education Society

1976: New facility at Red Clay Reservation dedicated September 25; named Ashland Nature Center

1977: First Environmental Careers in Industry Conference held for high school students and guidance counselors

1978: Successfully advocated the creation of a State system of nature preserves

1981: Abbott’s Mill dedicated June 7

1982: Farm program started at the Barn on Old Wilmington Road

1983: Wildflower Sale event initiated and supported by volunteers

1984: Land purchased to expand Abbott’s Mill site; designated Cedar Bog Preserve

1985: Stream Watch program started in cooperation with DNREC

1986: The Abbott’s Mill Educational Building constructed and dedicated

1987: Stewardship Recognition Program targeted landowners to preserve natural lands

1988: Organization’s name changed to Delaware Nature Society; new logo

1990: Ashland Lodge dedicated; office area, library, and Nature Store renovated

1991: Greenewalt family donated the Burrows Run Preserve, a 110-acre stream corridor

1993: Stewardship program expanded to include 186 landowners protecting 4,900 acres and 21 miles of stream corridors

1994: Flint family donated 35 acres of Flint Woods, an old growth forest

1996: Soil Watch launched to reduce erosion and sedimentation in streams

1999: Flint Woods Preserve dedicated as a State Nature Preserve

2000: Portion of Burrows Run Preserve dedicated as a State Nature Preserve

2001: Backyard Wildlife Habitat program was introduced (later renamed Certified Wildlife Habitat program)

2002: Isaacs family donated wooded wetlands along Abbott’s Pond tributary

2003: Renovated & expanded Ashland Nature Center dedicated Apr. 6

2004: Abbott’s historic gristmill preserved enabling demonstrations of water power operation

2005: Educating today…preserving for tomorrow, the history of Delaware Nature Society at 40 years was published

2006: Two populations of Baltimore Checkerspots were found at Burrow’s Run Preserve. This is the only known location these butterflies are found in the state of Delaware

2007: Ashland Hawk Watch was established

2008: Coverdale Farm operations center was completed

2009: Programs begin at DuPont Environmental Education Center

2010: 1st year of Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program at Coverdale Farm

2011: Conducted the first prescribed burn

2012: Open Space Farm Land Preservation successfully advocated for full funding

2013: Initiated the Sea Level Rise Awareness Week which educated 3000 people about the impacts of sea-level rise

2015: “Clean Water: Delaware’s Clear Choice” Campaign launched with generous funding from the William Penn Foundation

2014: Commemorated Delaware Nature Society’s 50th Anniversary with year-long celebration events and completed a strategic plan, setting forth a 5-year vision for the organization.

2015: Raised funding to purchase and permanently protect Genevieve Estes du Pont Tract, expanding Coverdale Farm Preserve total to 354-acres.

2016: Commemorated Abbott’s Mill Nature Center 35th Anniversary with year-long celebration events, including instituting an annual Run the Mill 5K race in support our work downstate.

Began a three-year pilot of Red Clay Valley (Important Bird Area) Bird Banding Study with newly appointed staff ornithologist, with generous funding from the Starrett Foundation.

2017: Completed a comprehensive Site Master Plan for Coverdale Farm Preserve to convert sustainable farming practices to regenerative agriculture practices, integrating our conservation land management strategies with farming practices with an emphasis on healthy soil, water, and biodiversity.

Joined Alliance for Watershed Education, a collaboration of 23 nature centers in three states (NJ, PA, DE) collectively working to increase and enhance constituent appreciation, knowledge, and stewardship of the Delaware River Watershed.

Received a generous gift of land from the Frederick family, extending Coverdale Farm Preserve to a total to 377-acres.