Six Ways to Celebrate the River of the Year, Right Now!

Take a victory lap with us across the Delaware River watershed

What if the river next to your house was so choked with sewage and industrial pollution that you were sickened by the smell? 75 years ago that was the Delaware River. Today the Delaware was named the 2020 River of Year by our friends at American Rivers for its amazing recovery. 

Thanks to clean-water safeguards and restoration efforts led by National Wildlife Federation and our partners, the Delaware River is a national success story. The great work across the region led to the return of Atlantic sturgeon and American shad to the Delaware’s tributaries. Your support made it possible, so help us celebrate!

But wait, you say, how can we celebrate if we’re all stuck inside due to social distancing? We’ve got your covered!

#1 Learn Something New (or Occupy Your Kids)

From Independence Seaport Museum’s online exhibits, to Tulpehaking Nature Center’s #FindMoreOutdoors series, to Pocono Environmental Center’s video series, ‘Salamander Dance‘, there’s plenty to do to celebrate the wonders of the Delaware.

The members of our Alliance for Watershed Education of the Delaware River stepped up to keep all ages engaged. Visit their wide variety of online and digital programming– enjoy it from anywhere, anytime. My favorite is Delaware Nature Society’s Beginning Urban Beekeeping Lecture Series!


#2 Take a Virtual Tour of the Upper Delaware

Why not take a hike in the region’s most important wild and scenic areas? Created for the National Park Service Centennial celebration, the Upper Delaware Virtual Tour, in five separate modules, is an interactive reference guide to the Upper Delaware Scenic and Recreational River. From eagles to heron, trout to bass, oak to pine – the Upper Delaware River is rich and diverse in animal and plant life. This will help transport you there!


#3 Bring Out Your Bird Nerd

Just the other week I was able to compete in New Jersey Audubon’s World Series of Birding right in my backyard. Birding’s a great activity to do while socially distant. Check out the many resources online from NJ Audubon to get started birding, or join them virtually for events such as spring migration in Cape May, NJ or virtual workshops on such topics as Raptor Migration and Identification. 


#4 Forget the Birds: Fly Yourself!

Philadelphia relies on the Delaware River. Credit: Jonathan Milne

Fly down the entire 13,600 miles of the longest undammed river east of the Mississippi via Google Earth. Check out the Delaware River Index with water quality data overlaid for us nerds.

And if that’s not enough aerials, fly along with our friends at Lighthawk on one of their flights:

#5 Why Stay in to Celebrate? Get Outside (Safely)!

Now’s the time to find your new favorite hike or once the water’s warm enough to get out and paddle the Delaware.

Just because we can’t all get together for a picnic and a toast to the Delaware doesn’t mean you can’t raise a proverbial toast from on top of Mount Kittatinny, on the Markell Trail in Delaware, on the Appalachian Trail with a view of the Lehigh River, or join me (from six feet away) as I hike The Pinnacle in Pennsylvania to pop that special can of Tired Hands beer I’ve been saving for just this moment.

Note: National Wildlife Federation advises following the latest government and local policies regarding coronavirus (COVID-19). Follow your state’s mandated guidelines for area specific updates concerning outdoor activity. Please find your state or territorial health department here.

#6 Snap Some Pictures of Your Favorite Place

We couldn’t have helped the Delaware recover without your support. Join the National Wildlife Federation and our partners in this victory for wildlife by sharing your favorite places on social media. Use #4theDelaware for your best snaps of our cherished Delaware River watershed.

And don’t forget to keep celebrating by advocating for the health of the Delaware River and all of the wildlife who depend on its water and habitat.

Visit our webpage to find out more about how the National Wildlife Federation is making a difference for the 2020 River of the Year.