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.