Delaware Children In Nature


Recent News

Annual Summit On December 19, 2013, the Coalition hosted our First Annual Children in Nature Summit. Both Colin O'Mara, Secretary of DNREC and Mark Murphy, Secretary of DOE spoke about our essential work educating and promoting the benefits of connecting people with nature. 

Mike Riska, Honorary Co-Chair and previous director of Delaware Nature Society inspired guests and shared his expertise as committees worked on future objectives for 2014-15. New and returning committee members focused on implementation strategies and re-calibrated plans for the upcoming year.

2013 Mid-Atlantic Environmental Literacy Summit

The Education Workgroup from NOAA / Chesapeake Bay Program gathered in November and December to collaborate with education and governmental leaders from seven states to address environmental literacy throughout the region. Delaware is hand-crafting an environmental literacy plan based on the continuous efforts of this group that will be sponsored by a vast majority of stakeholders across our state.

Accomplishments and Milestones to Date

Environmental Literacy Committee

  • Started synthesizing Common Core and Next Generation Science Standards in to the process of writing a recommended state 
environmental literacy plan.
  • Identified an updated framework for ELP by joining the partnership of the Chesapeake Bay Program, which produced the Mid-Atlantic Elementary and Secondary Environmental Literacy Strategy.

Meaningful Outdoor Experiences Committee

  • Published Teacher’s Guide to Delaware State Parks, which outlines field trip and outreach opportunities to connect our classrooms in partnership with DNREC.
  • Secured over $27,000 in Community Environmental Projects Fund for free Title I field trips at Trap Pond.
  • A grant was awarded to the Delaware Nature Society to reach all seventh graders in Red Clay, Capital, and Milford School Districts with watershed education programming. Implementation of professional development and student field experiences is occurring in a partnership between the Department of Education and DNS.
  • Partnered with the Department of Education and the Delaware Geographic Alliance to provide teacher training at four schools and establish programming on site for all 5th and 7th graders.
  • The East Coast Garden Center in Millsboro is collaborating with Longneck Elementary School to teach second graders about plants and natural growth cycles. Students receive their own aloe plant to bring home and care for.

Greener Schools Committee

  • Established the voluntary Delaware Greener Schools Program – framework, eligibility, requirements, and evaluation protocols, etc. 
  • Incorporated federal Green Ribbon Schools program and adopted the Delaware’s Pathway to Green Schools Program. Over $15,000 in funds is available to schools through Delaware's Sustainable Energy Utility (SEU).
  • Identified and promoted partnerships between Delaware Nature Society, US Fish and Wildlife Service and DNREC as the “go to” subject matter experts on establishing schoolyard habitats and outdoor classrooms.
  • The Delaware Nature Society is working with Seaford School District to develop four schoolyard habitats along with programs for second and seventh graders.

Outdoor Connections Committee

  • Statewide trail plan has been established and funded by our partners at DNREC.
  • Conducted analysis and identified underserved areas needing green space.
  • Formation of the WHEE for Families (Weekly Healthy Earth Encounters) community group, which is dedicated to getting families outdoors through fun, group activities around Kent County.
  • DNS created a Wilmington teen program that includes monthly outdoor experiences.
  • The Nature Conservancy partnered with DNREC for the LEAF student intern program, where students will assist with trail maintenance and learn about natural resource management.
  • Nemours sponsored “free park entrance days” at Cape Henlopen and Trap Pond State Parks last year, and is looking to announce additional “days” in the future.

Community Outreach Committee

  • Created statewide development program that encourages youth to pursue nature-based careers (The Nature Conservancy, DNREC, DNS, etc.).
  • CIN has formed a developing partnership with the West End Neighborhood to encourage outdoor play in after-school care programs, an expansion of their community garden, and more.
  • Delaware State Parks has worked with the Dover Public Library to create a Nature Nook that allows members an opportunity to borrow themed backpacks to explore the outdoors. Seven backpacks are fully stocked and in circulation.
  • CIN received the “Friends of Recreation Award” February 2012, from Delaware Recreation and Parks Society

Health and Fitness Committee

  • Healthy Kids Day at Trap Pond brings 1000 students outdoors to enjoy the park, learn about natural resources and how to live a healthy, active lifestyle.
  • Delaware Nature Society at Coverdale Farm Preserve is continuing the second year of a Healthy Eating, Healthy Living series with all students at Wilmington’s Urban Promise School.
  • Prescription for Health program in Sussex County, where local doctors and pediatricians write “prescriptions” for kids to spend time playing outdoors to counter obesity issues.
  • Started open dialogue with DelaWell program to push cross promotion.