Delaware Association for Environmental Education

Environmental Education Resources and Partner Links

Understand that you have a lot of partners and supportive information available to you to implement environmental education in Delaware!

DAEE provides lists, resources, and links to information and ideas for you to pursue environmental education in Delaware. If you have ideas that aren’t included here that you would like us to share, please get in touch at DAEEonline@gmail.com

I sincerely believe that for the child, and for the parent seeking to guide him, it is not half so important to know as to feel. If facts are the seeds that later produce knowledge and wisdom, then the emotions and the impressions of the senses are the fertile soil in which the seeds must grow. The years of early childhood are the time to prepare the soil. Once the emotions have been aroused – a sense of the beautiful, the excitement of the new and unknown, a feeling of sympathy, pity, admiration or love – then we wish for knowledge about the object of our emotional response. Once found, it has lasting meaning. It is more important to pave the way for the child to want to know than to put him on a diet of facts he is not ready to assimilate.

― Rachel Carson, The Sense of Wonder

Environmental Education resources focused on the Delaware area

The Alliance for Watershed Education of the Delaware River  is comprised of 23 environmental education centers in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Delaware and provides a source of information on events, the watershed, and environmental education centers in the watershed to enhance appreciation, knowledge, and stewardship of the Delaware River watershed.

The Brandywine Conservancy protects and conserves the land, water, and natural and cultural resources of the Brandywine-Christina watershed by connecting people and communities to the resources they protect.

The Chesapeake Bay Foundation provides good resources on learning about and accessing the Chesapeake Bay, the nation’s largest estuary and where a third of Delaware’s waterways flow to.

The Delaware Center for Horticulture inspires appreciation and improvement of the environment through horticulture. DCH has a public demonstration garden, greenhouse, and other facilities and supports urban forestry, community gardens, urban farms, and school gardens while also organizing city park improvement projects and providing educational programs for families and adults.

The Delaware Center for the Inland Bays through school and youth programs uses forests, beaches, and salt marshes as resources for learning and developing a life-long love for Delaware’s Inland Bays.

Delaware ENVIROTHON is an educational program that gives  high school-aged students resources and training on environmental issues and facilitates an annual competition between the students to promote environmental awareness and stewardship while developing critical thinking, cooperative problem solving, and decision-making skills.

Delaware Nature Society has a mission to connect people with the natural world to improve the environment through education, advocacy, and conservation through a variety of ways, including events and its nature preserves: Ashland Nature Center, Abbott’s Mill Nature Center, DuPont Environmental Education Center, and Coverdale Farm Preserve.

Delaware Sea Grant works with Delaware teachers and students to make marine science and environmental literacy a priority in K-12 education.

The Delaware Stem Council offers a variety of links to resources for students, parents, and educators interested in STEM.

DNREC’s website offers a variety of information about how and where to learn more about Delaware’s environment.

EPA’s website provides information about EPA activities and programs that support environmental education and provides youth and educator resources.

The Maryland Association for Environmental and Outdoor Education provides great resources on environmental and outdoor education following their mission to encourage, engage, and empower the community to understand, responsibly use, and promote the natural world.

The Partnership for the Delaware Estuary is a nonprofit dedicated to connecting people, science, and nature for a healthy Delaware River and Bay. PDE’s website has a variety of activities and resources to teach all ages about the importance of the fascinating Delaware River Estuary.

The Pennsylvania Association of Environmental Educators is similar to DAEE as Pennsylvania’s NAEE affiliate and their website has information on their work.

The Schuylkill Center for Environmental Education has a wide selection of programming focused on providing environmental education to foster appreciation, deepen understanding, and encourage stewardship of the environment.

The Stroud Water Research Center focuses on educating a wide audience on the importance of protecting watersheds. Stroud has developed extensive resources for educating adults and students grades 4 and up about watersheds.

“One of my students told me that every time she learns the name of a plant, she feels as if she is meeting someone new. Giving a name to something is a way of knowing it.”

― Richard Louv – Last Child in the Woods

Environmental Education News Sources

The Coalition for the Delaware River Watershed was formed in 2012 to raise awareness of the Delaware River and its surrounding landscape by bringing together groups already working to restore degraded resources, safeguard vulnerable assets, and educate their communities.

The New Jersey Environmental Education News website provides loads of good information on recent topics in environmental education relevant to Delaware. 

The North American Association for Environmental Education news website provides lots of information on events, opportunities, ideas, and other information. DAEE is the Delaware affiliate of NAEE.

Technology can be a friend of environmental education as much as a foe

Children (and their parents in many cases) are more tied to electronic devices than ever before. Computers and smartphones can be a distraction from the world around us but they can also provide access to so much information about the natural world, provide opportunities to engage with a community of people that share a passion for nature and outdoor experiences, and they can actually get some people out the door in Delaware and immersed in meaningful experiences in nature.

You can be creative and find ways to integrate smartphones into outdoor activities. If children want to use their smartphones then take advantage of the opportunity and have them create a photographic field guide of what they find in their backyard, local park, or schoolyard.

There are a host of smartphone apps that find ways to encourage people to find, explore, and learn from nature. Below are a few examples of environmental education resources that are app based that we think you’ll find useful.

A website and app that provides trail locations and allows you to keep track of where you’ve been.  

This is a blog by American Forests that discusses some of the best apps available for helping people get outside and learn about nature. 

The Discover the Forest campaign is a public service campaign created by the Ad Council in partnership with the U.S. Forest Service which encourages parents of tweens to take their kids to nearby forests and parks. The website allows you to search for a forest, trail, or park near you. The website includes lots of great activities and resources that tie in with experiences in forests, including plant, fossil, and animal identification as well as orienteering, stargazing, and much more.

eBird is the world’s largest biodiversity-related citizen science project and gathers information on bird observations and shares it to create a database useful to conservation. The app gives you information on the birds that are currently in your area, as well as help with identification by sight and sound. eBird lets you manage lists, photos, and audio recordings and gives you real-time maps of species distributions. eBird is managed by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology.

An app similar to eBird but for all your reptile and amphibian observations. You can keep track of your observations and what you see gets added to datasets used by conservationists to understand herp populations and their ranges.

iBird is an example of a for profit app that can make a smartphone into a detailed field guide on birds with a variety of illustrations, photos, and audio recordings. 

This app was developed by the California Academy of Sciences and National Geographic and helps you identify any type of organism you can take a picture of and creates a long-term dataset of all your observations. The observations of all the users on iNaturalist creates a database that will be useful for the conservation of biodiversity.

The Delaware Schoolyard Biodiversity Project is an example of an iNaturalist project designed for learning about and monitoring the biodiversity found in your schoolyard. Students and teachers can gather photographic observations with smartphones and they become a permanent record for the school and for conservationists to understand changes in biodiversity. iNaturalist helps you identify your observations. The project is intended for observing wild species, such as wildflowers, weeds, butterflies, or birds, instead of things like potted plants or pets. 

This is a blog by NWF that discusses some of the best apps available for helping people get outside and learn about nature. 

A website and app that provides a compilation of state and federal parks and other public lands and amenities at each location.

A website and app that allows amateurs and professionals alike to create and share multimedia nature journals and contribute to citizen science.

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©Delaware Association for Environmental Education