Affiliate of the Week: Delaware Nature Society

In honor of our 80th Anniversary celebration throughout 2016, the National Wildlife Federation is recognizing each of our Affiliate Partners in a special “Affiliate of the Week” blog series that showcases the dedicated conservation efforts taking place across the country each day. This week we celebrate our affiliate, Delaware Nature Society, and their commitment to wildlife.


Who We Are

For more than half a century, Delaware Nature Society, a membership-based environmental non-profit organization, has been a leader in conservation, advocacy and environmental education in the region. Delaware Nature Society helps families get involved and learn how to become responsible stewards of the earth and its inhabitants in their everyday lives through actions that protect important habitats, water and wildlife. They also learn how simple decisions in their everyday life affect the environment and their quality of life. Delaware Nature Society believes that healthy ecosystems are a right of all people and improving them is a responsibility that we share.

What We Do

Delaware Nature Society works to preserve and protect natural resources—the water that we drink, the air that we breathe, the lands where our food comes from and the outdoor places we love. By providing opportunities for people to connect and deepen their awareness and appreciation of nature, they will be inspired to take environmental action that can have a lasting impact on the environment.

Monarch on swamp milkweed. Photo by Jim White
Monarch on swamp milkweed. Photo by Jim White

Delaware Nature Society focuses on four major program areas: education, conservation, advocacy, and citizen engagement.

Delaware Nature Society’s Education programs provide more than 300 year-round outdoor nature programs for all ages. Each year, these programs:

  • Reach more than 35,000 students through 90+ different day & overnight programs
  • Reach under-served urban populations in Wilmington, Dover, Milford, and Seaford through scholarship programs (66% of students reached)
  • Train environmental professionals throughout the country in partnership with the Association of Nature Center Administrators
Coverdale Farm Preserve. Photo by Jim White
Coverdale Farm Preserve. Photo by Jim White

In 1971, Delaware Nature Society pioneered the preservation of natural areas in the state of Delaware. Their Conservation work continues today, continuing to promote land conservation through direct gifts of land, conservation easements and land management consultation. Currently, Delaware Nature Society:

  • Manages nearly 2,000 acres (620 owned) for healthy habitats, water quality, and biodiversity
  • Protects more than 450 acres through conservation easements

Delaware Nature Society’s advocacy work for a number of priority areas impacting public lands, coastal restoration, and clean water includes:

  • Leading a coalition of 328 organizations that has preserved more than 100,000 acres of natural areas, open space and farmland which resulted in dedicated state funding to preserve open space, forested lands, and agricultural lands.
  • Focusing on land and open space, including: state wildlife grants, Land & Water Conservation Fund and species protection, and full funding for Delaware’s Open Space and Farmland preservation programs
  • Wetland protection, dedicated funding for clean water, and advocating for the Coastal Zone Act

Delaware Nature Society coordinates and oversees volunteer citizen engagement programs across the state, including:

  • Stream Watch, which educates individuals, families, scout and school groups about stream ecology, the threats to stream health, and their individual role in protecting water quality
  • Hawk Watch, a raptor migration station where data is collected for the Hawk Migration Association of North America and Delaware Department of Natural Resources. Up to 14,000 raptors have been recorded per fall season and multiple volunteers and public visitors assist the Hawk Watch Coordinator in counting and identifying migrant raptors
  • DNS Native Plant Sale. Photo by Jim White
    DNS Native Plant Sale. Photo by Jim White

    Certified Wildlife Habitat engages the public in supporting clean, healthy water for people and wildlife by creating a backyard or balcony garden, pond, meadow, rain garden, or wooded area using native plants which helps ensure safe, clean drinking water for people and wildlife and restore much needed habitat

  • Nest Watch, where volunteers collect data on birds during nesting season that is included in the Cornell Lab of Ornithology database to determine how climate change affects nesting birds
  • Bird Banding, which looks at the bird population on our lands to determine how best management practices affects bird diversity

Making a National Impact

Water connects us all and Delaware Nature Society has more than five decades of experience working to protect water quality. Delaware Nature Society sits on the Choose Clean Water Coalition (Chesapeake) and the Coalition for the Delaware River Watershed with the National Wildlife Federation and other partners to protect and improve the waters of the Chesapeake and the Delaware watersheds.

Delaware Nature Society organized the Clean Water Alliance, which is a broad-based coalition of organizations and stakeholders across the state working together to secure funding for clean water initiatives. National clean water advocacy efforts include supporting the Clean Water Act, Land & Water Conservation Fund, State Wildlife Grants, and EPA small watershed and 319 grants.


DNS Native Plant Sale. Photo by Jim White
DNS Native Plant Sale. Photo by Jim White

Get Involved

Use Native Plants in your yard or balcony. Attend the Delaware Nature Society’s Native Plant Sale featuring more than 300 rare, unusual and favorite varieties of native wildflowers, trees, shrubs, ferns and aquatic plants for all growing conditions, including drought-tolerant species. Native plants provide much needed food for bees, butterflies, birds and other pollinators. They also provide a great root system that helps soak up rain water, alleviating runoff. Join DNS as a member and shop early or participate in their other events and programs!

Native Plant Sale Days: For members only: May 5 & 6 , open to the public: May 7 & 8

Sale Location: Coverdale Farm Preserve, 543 Way Rd., Greenville DE

Connect with DNS

Connect with the Delaware Nature Society to get their latest news and keep up with their conservation efforts through Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube, or by visiting their website.