DNREC, Delaware National Estuarine Research Reserve celebrating National Estuaries Week Sept. 17-24

Date Posted: Friday, September 16th, 2016
Categories:  Delaware Coastal Programs DNREC

Free events planned at the Blackbird Creek Reserve and St. Jones Reserve on September 24

DNERR Boat Trip

A DNERR boat trip on the St. Jones River.

DOVER – Estuaries represent unique and vital natural systems that provide many benefits to people and animals, and Delaware has a place dedicated to estuary conservation, education and research – the Delaware National Estuarine Research Reserve (DNERR). For National Estuaries Week, Sept. 17 to 24, DNERR will host a variety of special events dedicated to getting the public more involved with this amazing resource.

“Estuaries give back to our community in so many ways, including improving the quality of our water and reducing floods,” said DNERR Education Coordinator Maggie Pletta. “But estuaries do even more than that. Our estuary is an ‘outdoor classroom,’ providing opportunities to learn and have fun in a natural environment. That’s what we want to showcase during Estuaries Week.”

The public is invited to celebrate the Delaware Bay on National Estuaries Day Saturday, Sept. 24 with special events starting at 9 a.m. at DNERR’s St. Jones Reserve, 818 Kitts Hummock Road, Dover, DE 19901; and Blackbird Reserve, 801 Blackbird Landing Road, Townsend, DE 19734. Events include:

At the St. Jones Reserve:

  • St. Jones Reserve Open House, 10 a.m.-2 p.m.
    Come and explore the Reserve buildings and get a sneak peak at new exhibits coming soon. After taking in the exhibits, visitors will have the opportunity to learn more about the volunteer and citizen science opportunities offered at the Reserve. No preregistration required.
  • Guided Nature Hike to Kingston Upon Hull, 10 a.m.-noon
    Join a Reserve naturalist for a short hike out to Kingston Upon Hull, a historic building with a long history located on the Ted Harvey Wildlife Area. On the hike you will learn about the natural and cultural history of the St. Jones Watershed. Please wear comfortable walking shoes and be prepared to walk approximately 2 miles on uneven terrain.
  • Explore the St. Jones River by Boat, 4-4:45 p.m. and 5-5:45 p.m.
    Get ready to board our 24-foot skiff as we take an expedition onto the St. Jones River! Designed for ages 5 to adult, this program will meet at Scotton Landing off Barkers Landing Road in Dover. Lifejackets will be provided and are required to be worn on the trip. When registering, please be sure to specify which trip time you wish to attend.
  • Explore the Estuary at Night with a Campfire, 7-8 p.m.
    Join Reserve and the John Dickinson Plantation staff for a fun evening around the campfire to learn more about the history of fire and the role it plays in the natural environment and Delaware history. All ages are welcome to attend and will be given an opportunity at the end of the program to roast marshmallows over the fire. Participants must bring their own roasting supplies and sticks. This program meets at the John Dickinson Plantation Visitor Center, 340 Kitts Hummock Road, Dover, DE 19901.

At the Blackbird Creek Reserve:

  • Give Back to the Bay on National Estuaries Day! 9 a.m.-noon
    Join Reserve staff at Blackbird Creek Reserve (801 Blackbird Landing Road, Townsend DE) in celebrating National Estuaries Day by planting trees to help our local environment. Volunteers will need to supply their own work gloves and wear long pants and closed-toed shoes.
  • Guided Nature Hike at Blackbird Creek, 1-2 p.m.
    Join a Reserve naturalist for a short hike through the woods to learn more about native tree species and how to identify them while in the field. Please wear comfortable walking shoes and be prepared to walk approximately 1 mile on uneven terrain.

To preregister for these events, and for more information, visit the DNERR National Estuaries Day web page.

About DNERR and estuaries
Estuaries are defined as ecosystems along the oceans where freshwater and saltwater mix to create wetlands, bays, lagoons, sounds, or sloughs. These ecosystems are not only home to unique plant and animal habitats, but they provide communities with food, recreation, jobs, and coastal protection. Of the 32 largest cities in the world, 22 are located on estuaries.

The Delaware National Estuarine Research Reserve is part of a national system of reserves that protects more than 1.3 million acres of coastal land and water. Each of the 28 sites receives support from NOAA and local partners. The research and environmental monitoring performed at each reserve plays an important role in protecting environmental health, both locally and nationally. Visit DNERR on the web at, on Facebook, and on Twitter.

This project is part of DNREC’s Bayshore Initiative, a landscape approach to restore and protect fish and wildlife habitat, increase volunteer participation in habitat stewardship projects, enhance low-impact outdoor recreation and ecotourism opportunities, and promote associated environmentally compatible economic development. For more information, click Delaware Bayshore.

This project also is part of Delaware’s Children in Nature Initiative, a statewide effort to improve environmental literacy in Delaware, create opportunities for children to participate in enriching outdoor experiences, combat childhood obesity and promote healthy lifestyles. Delaware’s multi-agency initiative, which partners state and federal agencies with community organizations, is part of the national No Child Left Inside program.

Media Contact: Melanie Rapp or Joanna Wilson, DNREC Public Affairs, 302-739-9902

Vol. 46, No. 341

DNREC Logo The Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC). Want your news hot off the press? Join the DNREC press release email list. Send a blank email to
For more information, contact the DNREC Public Affairs Office, at 302.739.9902

Delaware Coastal Programs manages, protects and monitors the state's coastal resources through the administration of the Delaware Coastal Management Program, the Delaware National Estuarine Re Reserve (DNERR) and the Coastal and Estuarine Land Conservation Program.

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