Annual Report 2022

Horseshoe Crab - Photography by Bryan Robinson

Annual Report 2022

Photography by Bryan Robinson

Strength in Numbers | Financials

View Full Report | Printable Full Report

From the Executive Director

Dear Members, Volunteers and Friends,

2022 was a year of transition for Delaware Nature Society, with new leadership, new staff, and new norms for how we work and deliver programs post-pandemic. Although all this transition was challenging, it was also an opportunity to thrive.

In 2022, we leaned into our strengths, particularly our long and successful history of delivering high quality nature education programs. Post-pandemic children and families were hungry for outdoor experiences and we delivered with over 2,000 summer campers and a 68% increase in school and group participants over 2021.

We also leaned on each other, working together across sites and departments to regain capacity lost during the pandemic, sharing resources and filling critical gaps to bring back popular programs like Music at the Mill, and start new ones like First Fridays at the Farm. We ramped up vegetable production at Coverdale Farm, opened The Market and U-Pick fields up to the public, and increased sales at the fall native plant sale by 22%.

We leaned into partnership, developing new ones and strengthening existing ones. In Wilmington, we collaborated with local communities and the National Wildlife Federation on a new program of creating green spaces in the city for people and pollinators. With the Delaware Environmental Accountability Coalition we worked on a bill to address the cumulative impacts of pollution and with the Delaware Land Protection Coalition succeeded in doubling funding for the state’s Open Space Program.

These are just a few of our proudest accomplishments in 2022. You can read about these and others in this 2022 Annual Report, along with the financial support that made this work possible. Thriving through so much transition is a remarkable accomplishment that would not be possible without the generosity of so many, including almost 7,000 hours of volunteer time in 2022.

Thank you!
Jen Adkins, Executive Director

Delaware Nature Society envisions a healthy
and sustainable environment for all.

Our mission is to connect people with the natural world to improve our environment through education, advocacy, and conservation.

Group Picture of RENEW Wilmington Youth

youth benefit from the healing beauty and wonder of the outdoors

RENEW Expanded Outdoor Experiences for Wilmington Youth

Reaching and Engaging Through Nature to Empower Wilmington (RENEW) program reached new heights in 2022.

Thanks to supplemental funding, the Neighborhood Naturalist program expanded to include three preschool classes at Kingswood Community Center Early Learning Academy. This is in addition to the existing programs at Kingswood Community Center, Serviam Girls Academy, and Southbridge Neighborhood House.

Trail Ambassadors, our year-round environmentally focused, work-study program for teens, began their workforce with eight teens. These youth engaged the Wilmington community in outdoor activities.

Above: Group picture of RENEW Wilmington Youth

Red Admiral butterfly on coneflower by Suzanne Herel

People & Pollinators benefit from Habitat gardens

Ten New Pollinator Habitat Gardens Created With Sacred Grounds

10 new native plant gardens were established in Wilmington through Sacred Grounds, a National Wildlife Federation (NWF) program.

This effort partners with faith-based communities connecting people to nature and providing access to nature for all.

Alongside NWF, support and resources where given by:

  • Delaware Nature Society
  • Delaware Interfaith Power & Light (DeIPL)
  • Delaware Center for Horticulture (DCH)

These resources and support helped communities implement their pollinator gardens and engaging their community members.

Above: Red Admiral butterfly on coneflower by Suzanne Herel

Coverdale Farm Assistant

Our Future is Brighter when our food supports healthy water & Wildlife

Introducing Our New Farm Assistants

2022 kicked off the Inaugural season of the Coverdale Farm Assistant program.

This program trains and inspires the next generation of Farmers and Educators to Coverdale Farm’s key enterprises:

  • Vegetable production
  • Animal husbandry
  • Community engagement
  • Education

Three Assistants were hired for the season which will expand to 5 in 2023.

Coverdale’s New Flower & Herb Garden

The Coverdale 1.25-acre teaching garden was re-purposed into a diverse flower and herb garden serving the community and wildlife in multiple ways:

  • Pick-Your-Own garden
  • Classroom for camps and seasonal programs
  • A hub for pollinators

Swallowtail Living In Bird Box at Coverdale - Photography by Joe Sebastiani

Nestwatch supports Native Birds & Healthy Ecosystems

Nests Monitored for Bird Conservation

DelNature bird box volunteers, led by NestWatch Project Manager Jen Llewelyn, monitor hundreds of bird boxes.

This monitoring occurs weekly at:

  • Ashland Nature Center
  • Coverdale Farm Preserve
  • Bucktoe Creek Preserve
  • Middle Run Natural Area
  • Mt. Cuba Center

DelNature is the local chapter for Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s NestWatch program which relies on volunteers to check and monitor bird nests. Their data contributes to the international NestWatch program.

Above: Swallowtail Living In Bird Box at Coverdale – Photography by Joe Sebastiani

Bluebird Eggs in Bird Box

Bluebird Eggs in Bird Box

Nestwatch Volunteer Checking Bird Box

Nestwatch Volunteer Checking Bird Box

Butterfly House by Deb Vickery

Butterflies inspire visitors to value and protect wildlife

Volunteers Transform Butterfly House

Our Butterfly House Volunteer Team rejuvenated the Butterfly House and the gardens around it.

Meet the Ashland Butterfly House Volunteer team:

Delaware Master Naturalists Deborah Vickery, Margaretta Frederick, Mary Pro, Suzanne Herel, Melody Kasprzak and her Granddaughter Avery Kasprzak, and Catherine Woodfield.

To transform this habitat, they:

  • Planted native plants used by butterflies
  • Created educational brochures and programs
  • Cared for the Butterfly House

Thanks to our Butterfly House Team for enlightening visitors about these amazing creatures.

Above: Butterfly House by Deb Vickery

Southbridge Wilmington Wetland Park - Photography by RKandK

Wetlands make Southbridge Stronger & More beautiful

Southbridge Wilmington Wetland Park Opens

October brought the grand opening of the Southbridge Wilmington Wetland Park. We celebrated it’s important purposes:

Flooding in Wilmington September 2021

Create a stormwater management facility to reduce flooding in Southbridge

Ducks in Wilmington

Restore and enhance existing wetlands

Rosa Palustris - Photography by Malcolm Manners

Add a new park for the community

Rosa Palustris – Photography by Malcolm Manners

Thanks to a grant from AARP, DelNature was able to provide educational signs about wetlands and habitat value, benches and trees to help make the park more attractive to people and connecting them to nature.

Above: Southbridge Wilmington Wetland Park – Photography by RKandK

Horseshoe Crab Count - Photography by Jim White

Volunteers uphold an ancient legacy

153 Volunteer Hours Supported Horseshoe Crab Conservation

Over 153 hours were devoted by 18 volunteers to counting spawning horseshoe crabs. This took place on Delaware’s Slaughter Beach during the months of May and June.

Delaware Bay is home to the largest population of spawning horseshoe crabs, also known as “living fossils” in the world.

Data gathered helps determine the number of horseshoe crabs that can be harvested for bait to pot for welk and eel.

East Coast states currently have strict legislation limiting the number of horseshoe crabs that may be harvested.

Above: Horseshoe Crab Count – Photography by Jim White

Heron in Wetland

Partnerships Are powerful for environmental Protection

$20 Million for Open-space Land Protection

In 2022, an additional $10 million in funding, for a total of $20 million, was approved by the Delaware Legislature for open-space protection.

Advocacy to increase protection and funding for the preservation of natural areas and open space is a long-standing DelNature priority.

This effort is best done in partnership. In 2022 we worked with the Delaware Land Protection Coalition. This group of conservation organizations are partnered to highlight the need for increased investment in land protection.

Above: DelNature Strength in Numbers. 88 thousand people reached annually. 21 thousands program and event participants. 1.4 thousand children supported through RENEW. 2 thousand trees planted yearly. 2 thousand acres of land under protection. 100 people at each First Friday at the Farm. 425 thousand vegetables, flowers and herbs grown at Coverdale Farm. 120 thousand acres protected since 1964. 125 people at each Music at the Mill. 7 thousand native plants distributed to backyard habitats and gardens. 2.1 thousand summer campers. Numbers from 2023 Annual Meeting. Printable PDF of 2022 Strength in Numbers. Graphics by Christi Leeson.

2022 Financials

You may also view our full Annual Report 2022 for further details.

Financials 2022

Income (excluding investment income): Grants & Contracts 47%, Program Fees 25%, Dues & Donations 17%, Other income 7%, Special Events 4%.

Expenses: Program 84%, Management & General 10%, Fundraising 6%.

Printable version of Annual Report 2022.

Intend to Leave the World a Better Place?

Plan your Legacy with Delaware Nature Society

When you include us in your Estate Plans
or Will, you can trust that you are leaving
a lasting gift to preserve and protect land, wildlife, and natural resources through our conservation and advocacy efforts. You are inspiring future generations through our education programs.

Get started today

Learn how to make a planned gift
and join our Monarch Legacy Society. Contact Marie Graham, Associate Director of Development.

DEEC Monarch Butterfly by John Harrod

DEEC Monarch Butterfly by John Harrod

Thank You Teacher Naturalists!

Our mission succeeds with the support
of donors and volunteers like you.