We’re helping give the joy of being outdoors to all people, regardless of where they live or their backgrounds, through our Reaching and Engaging through Nature to Empower Wilmington (RENEW) program. Learn how this improves people’s lives, our community, and our environment and discover how to get involved!
RENEW – Because the Outdoors is a Human Right
Delaware Nature Society (DelNature) believes the joy of the outdoors is a basic human right and everyone deserves the opportunity to live in a healthy community – regardless of your background or where you live. When you get outside you connect with yourself, other people, and to the world around us. This connection is critical to increasing people’s quality of life, health, and social well-being – communities are strengthened and we all benefit.
Some Cannot Access Nature
DelNature knows engagement outdoors can be a transformative experience. We are committed to identifying and creating safe, guided opportunities that resonant with all residents of Wilmington. DelNature seeks to work with communities to raise awareness of the outdoors as a resource that is accessible/available to all.
We Help Give Outdoor Experiences to All Communities Through our RENEW Program
DelNature developed the RENEW (Reaching and Engaging through Nature to Empower Wilmington) program to connect youth from Wilmington’s communities of color to outdoor education opportunities. We connect them with a Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) focus and with activities that make learning about the outdoors relevant and fun. Anchored at our DuPont Environmental Education Center (DEEC) location, RENEW encourages and elevates participants’ comfort levels with the natural world. As a result, individuals get more involved and improve their lives, community, and the environment.
RENEW Signature Programs
Youth Nature After-School Programs
Our after-school programs work with youth from H. Fletcher Brown Boys & Girls Club, Kingswood Community Center and William “Hicks” Anderson Community Center. Through outdoor recreation like canoeing and biking, water quality testing, gardening, food education, service opportunities, and STEM-based activities, young people are increasing their connection to nature and their awareness of environmental health.
DelNature partners with the City of Wilmington’s Green Jobs Program providing a 6-week summer internship that is an environmentally focused employment experience. The program introduces City of Wilmington youth, to natural spaces, environmental issues, hands-on environmental work and career skills.
Summer Marsh Experience
Students from Delaware Futures participate in an immersive week-long residential service-learning program doing outdoor projects that support our restoration and education work in the Riverfront’s Peterson Wildlife Refuge. Students give a final presentation of their work to friends and family.
Summer with Southbridge
In the Southbridge neighborhood just across the Christina River from DEEC, DelNature partners with Neighborhood House to supplement their summer activities with youth. We provide a series of engagement experiences with nature, including trips to DEEC to learn the relationships between healthy water, healthy land, healthy food and healthy living.
Trail Ambassadors Youth Development Program
In summer 2020, four Wilmington youth will be hired as Trail Ambassadors – a workforce development and science-education position. Using Southbridge’s new wetland park, DEEC and Wilmington riverfront, students will explore nature year-round, learn to interpret the outdoors to the community and visitors, and mentor younger community members.
Learn More and Apply
Grants are available annually to community members in the City of Wilmington to improve the environment in the City of Wilmington. Three grants of up to $300 are provided per year until funds are expended.
Summer Work Opportunities
Students from the community work in the summer to support our visitor services and education work. Many of these young people have previous involvement with one or more RENEW activities and have expressed an interest in pursuing an environmental career.
Thank you to 2019’s amazing summer staff for bringing passion, laughter, hard work, and creativity to the nature center while leading summer camps, field trips, attending community events, and engaging youth in nature.
Pictured from left to right: LaHaven, Sarafina, Kayla, and Aionna
Learn more about the RENEW program and the many exciting ways you can get involved, including giving financial support.
DelNature extends our sincere gratitude to the following foundations, organizations, and individual donors who have given their support to the RENEW program including BlackRock, Chemours, SL Gimbel Foundation, DuPont, William Penn Foundation, and Guardian Donors June Peterson, Robert Ullrich, Bill Haldeman, and Kara Coates.
Thank you to our program partners: H. Fletcher Brown Boys & Girls Club, Kingswood Community Center, Wilmington Parks and Recreation, Hicks Anderson Community Center, Delaware Futures, Neighborhood House