Through RENEW, DelNature is addressing the barriers to being outside to ensure it’s a more inclusive, accessible, joyful and positive experience.
RENEW – 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. We believe that everyone has connections with the outdoors, but not everyone is offered the opportunity to contribute, belong, feel safe, and welcome in outdoor activities. We believe that when we get outside, we connect with ourselves, with other people, and to the world around us. This connection is both natural and difficult to describe, but it helps us create a sense of belonging and acceptance which gives us another key to our health and social well-being. Ultimately our communities are strengthened and we all benefit, as we realize we are not only stakeholders, but we can be decision makers and contributors to a healthier future.
Increasing Opportunities to Access Nature
DelNature knows engagement outdoors can be a transformative experience. We are committed to identifying and creating outdoor opportunities that resonant with all residents of Wilmington.
We Help Give Outdoor Experiences to All Communities Through RENEW
DelNature’s RENEW is designed to engage youth from Black and Brown communities in Wilmington outdoor education opportunities. We work with youth to deepen their connections with a Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) utilizing 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, the youth develop deeper connections to the outdoors and learn about other environmental career opportunities through enriching experiences, which they share with family, community members, and friends.
RENEW Signature Programs
The Neighborhood Naturalists program encourages youth to become more comfortable outside, build confidence in trying new things, increase their knowledge of the environment, develop a sense of care for the outdoor world, advocate for issues they care about, and become leaders in their communities. Regular programming is conducted after-school with Kingswood Community Center and Neighborhood House and in school with Serviam Girls Academy.
Trail Ambassadors Youth Development Program
Eight high school Wilmington youth participate as Trail Ambassadors. In this year-round Youth Development Program, youth explore nature, learn to interpret and teach the outdoors to the community, explore careers, and complete environmental community service projects. Learn more.
Wilmington Youth Environmental Corps (WYEC)
Paid 9-session program for City of Wilmington residents ages 14-18 provides career exploration and exposure to environmental issues. Participants complete after-school sessions held at the Dupont Environmental Education Center (DEEC), plus a Saturday field trip. Opportunities for additional hours. This program is run in partnership with the City of Wilmington Parks and Recreation Department. Contact Thea for more information. Learn more.
DelNature partners with the University of Delaware Water Resources Center on the City of Wilmington’s Green Jobs Program providing a 6-week summer internship. The program is a paid environmentally focused employment experience for City of Wilmington youth 14-18 years old. The program introduces youth to natural spaces, environmental issues, hands-on environmental work and career skills.
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. Activities include engagement experiences with nature, including trips to DEEC to learn the relationships between healthy water, healthy land, and healthy living.
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.
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.
Learn more about RENEW and the 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 RENEW including: BlackRock, Chemours, Corteva, DuPont, PSEG Foundation, REI, William Penn Foundation, Brokaw Foundation and Guardian Donors, June Peterson and Richard & Jessie Benjamin.
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, and Riverfront Development Corporation.