Annual Report 2022
Photography by Bryan Robinson
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.
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.
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
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
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
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
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
Nestwatch Volunteer Checking Bird Box
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 Opens
October brought the grand opening of the Southbridge Wilmington Wetland Park. We celebrated it’s important purposes:
Create a stormwater management facility to reduce flooding in Southbridge
Restore and enhance existing wetlands
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
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
$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.
You may also view our full Annual Report 2022 for further details.
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.
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DEEC Monarch Butterfly by John Harrod
Thank You Teacher Naturalists!
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