The James Farm Ecological Preserve receives a $200,000 grant from the Longwood Foundation to improve some of its educational programs.
The funding will go towards a new round of upgrades to the preserve including realigning the trails and adding more educational signage.
Delaware Center for the Inland Bays’ Development Coordinator Anna Short says the construction of an indoor facility will be among the biggest improvements.
“When we have students out for our ‘Day on the Bay program and the weather is bad, oftentimes we have to cancel which of course is a disappointment to us and the kids as well," Short said. "Putting in a three-season education building will prevent those cancelations and also allow us to offer a more elevated curriculum and accommodate more students from more school districts.”
They also plan to add outdoor amphitheatres to add to the educational experience.
Short says the goal is to create a new generation of environmental stewards.
“Environmental education has proven to not only heighten imagination, it also increases critical thinking and empowers students to take responsible action for themselves to help preserve and protect their local environment,” Short said.
James Farm currently serves just the Indian River District, but Short says with this funding they hope to expand to the Cape Henlopen District and other local schools. They also offer programs for the general public for all ages.
The reserve saw a 300% increase in visitors in 2020 from 2012 visitation estimates and expects program spots to fill quickly as summer kicks off.
More information about visitation and public education programs can be found at the Center for the Inland Bays website.