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Center for the Inland Bays launching new nature tour program

james_farm_docent.jpg
Delaware Center for the Inland Bays
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The Center for the Inland Bays is looking for volunteers to help with some new projects planned.

 

The Center for the Inland Bays is seeing more visitors at the James Farm Ecological Preserve since the pandemic struck as people try to get outside and avoid staying locked in their homes.

 

That’s why the Center is launching a new nature tour program at the preserve.

 

Project coordinator Nivette Perez-Perez says the tours will be tailored towards the docent’s individual specialties.

 

“For example we have some docents that are avid bird watchers. So they will guide tours about bird watching and identifying birds in the James Farm," saisd Perez-Perez. "Other ones are tree enthusiasts or fungi enthusiasts.”

 

Perez-Perez says this new tour program is designed to get people more interested in coming to the preserve and learn more about the ecology of Southern Delaware.

 

The center is hosting a virtual training for new docents later this month. Perez-Perez says volunteer schedules are flexible, based on the person’s availability.

 

She hopes to get the nature tour program kicked off in May, after the center finishes its volunteer trainings.

 

Alongside docent training, the center is also hosting population survey trainings this March.

 

The Center conducts annual population surveys to determine how healthy the local ecosystem is.

 

One of its best known is the horseshoe crab survey. But this year, the center is launching one to monitor Ospreys, and is looking for volunteers to help.

 

Perez-Perez says since Ospreys are at the top of the food chain, they’re an important indicator species.

 

“So having a stable population of Osprey’s means that the inland bays’ environment associated with them is doing good,” she said.

 

The center is teaming up with DNREC on this new survey.  DNREC already does osprey monitoring through its Osprey Watch program.

 

Perez-Perez says if it is successful, the center may bring the program back regularly to keep tabs on the health of the bays.

 

Volunteers can sign up for a virtual training session March 9th on the center’s website.

 

Perez-Perez says this survey is easy to get involved in, since it’s very independent, and can work around a busy schedule.

 

Roman Battaglia a corps member with Report for America, a national service program that places journalists into local newsrooms.

 

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