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Education Programs

Project Status: Current

“Hands On, Waders On” Environmental Education

The Center is redefining the classroom by turning forests, beaches, and salt marshes into resources for students to learn and develop a life-long love for Delaware’s Inland Bays. From school programs to summer camps, our outdoor exploration programs are fun, informative, and memorable. Let our outdoor education team help your students get outside and learn!

School & Youth Programs

Outdoor exploration taps into a student’s natural curiosity about the world around them. The Center’s programs are hands-on, inquiry-based, and help students develop problem-solving and critical thinking skills. All programs are aligned with Delaware Next Generation Science Standards, and we can help integrate them with your classroom learning.

Students make observations about aquatic creatures found in a seine net.



Our “Classroom”

The Inland Bays Watershed is rich in beautiful natural areas, and the James Farm Ecological Preserve is one of the best. Students arrive at this 150-acre preserve to explore seven different habitats including a beautiful white sand beach surrounded by salt marsh. Students spend 2-6 hours with professional educational staff learning through games, catching and identifying aquatic critters, collaborating during engineering activities, and making observations.



Programs for Adult Groups

Tours and presentations are available for adult and inter-generational groups are available too! Our staff can come to you, or you can join us at the Preserve or at our green office by the Indian River Inlet Bridge. 

Two young outdoor explorers ready to get in the water on the beach at the James Farm Ecological Preserve.



A Legacy of Outdoor Experiences

Established in 1999, the Center’s education program has served over 19,000 students with interactive, science-based environmental education programs at the James Farm Ecological Preserve. Students learn through outdoor education, conservation, and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) activities including a fish seining survey and an engineering activity using sand to construct ecologically friendly “developments.” This day-long program is often the first opportunity that students have to experience the estuary, despite living so close to the beaches and bays.

The benefits of time spent outdoors are a basic human right- one that everyone deserves the opportunity to experience- it opens the door for new awareness and action. An increase in environmental literacy through environmental education promotes a sense of place and connection through community involvement. When students are provided with opportunities to learn more or take action to improve their environment, they reach out to community members, experts, and local facilities to help bring the community together to understand and address environmental issues impacting their local area.


Would you like to contribute to the Center’s education programs and legacy of outdoor experiences? A donation of any amount will make you an honorary “Friend of the Bays!” 




 Scheduling a Program


Schools, scouts, camps and homeschool groups are encouraged to contact our education team to schedule education programs either at the James Farm Ecological Preserve or our staff can come to your classroom! Email jknoll@inlandbays.org or call (302) 226-8015 ext. 708 to reserve your program date! Funding is available to K-12 schools to cover program fees. 


Need more information?

Contact the Center’s Outreach & Education Coordinator:  
(302) 226-8105 ext. 703 | lswanger@inlandbays.org


A middle school student proudly displays a creature from the Bays.


Resources for Participating Teachers

Background and Procedures for the Outdoor Education Program:



James Farm Ecological Preserve Trail Map:

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