Delaware

Volunteer

Six people pose together during a stream cleanup event. They are holding large black plastic trash bags and carrying long orange grabbers.
Delaware Volunteers Volunteers clean up trash in the First State National Historical Park in Delaware. © The Nature Conservancy/John Hinkson

Get Connected

Thank you for your interest in dedicating your time to conserving Delaware's nature! Find upcoming events or sign up to become a volunteer by filling out the short interest form below.

Volunteering in Delaware

There is more than one way to volunteer for The Nature Conservancy in Delaware! In addition to participating in stream cleanups and events on our preserves in southern Delaware, our volunteers perform internet research, help at events, educate members, and complete administrative tasks in the office.

We are seeking volunteers to help with:

  • Preserve Monitors: Assist with monitoring TNC’s Edward H. McCabe Preserve on a regular basis (approximately 4-6 visits per year) to assess the condition and needs of the preserve and keep us informed of any issues. Preserve monitors are also asked to help remove smaller branches from trails and pick up litter. Volunteers are also needed at the McCabe Preserve’s 39-acre reforestation site to help stake up trees and cut back encroaching vegetation. Additional guidance and instructions will be provided upon inquiry.
  • Advocate for Nature: Speak up for nature by contacting government and elected officials. You can help influence and shape the Delaware policies needed to create a future in which people and nature thrive. No experience necessary and we will provide all the tools. Learn more about our public policy agenda today.
  • Stream Clean-ups: Hosted every spring and fall in the Beaver Valley unit of First State National Historical Park, these recurring cleanups are necessary due to upstream trash entering the park via Rocky Run. This opportunity is great for kids and people of all ages, individuals, and groups of all sizes.
  • Stream Stewards: If you’re passionate about watershed protection and willing to commit time each month to volunteer, then consider the Stream Stewards project. You don’t need a scientific background, just a willingness to learn about data collection methods and stream health.
  • Volunteer Photography/Videography: Take pictures and/or videos at TNC events or on our preserves for use in TNC’s publications, website, and social media.
  • Social Media: Actively share information about TNC’s work in Delaware on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

Contact devolunteer@tnc.org for more information about current opportunities or fill out the interest form below to receive regular updates.

Guide to iNaturalist

Join a growing group of community scientists using our iNaturalist fact sheet.

Become A Community Scientist

We are creating a community science database of all kinds of life—from lichens to ants, mushrooms to plants, birds to mammals and everything in between for our preserves in Pennsylvania and Delaware.

TNC's roots began with local citizens and scientists concerned about special places and species. That legacy continues today. Across our lands, we are utilizing iNaturalist—a digital platform that gives users an opportunity to share and discuss their findings.

Of the 14 preserve projects in iNaturalist, nine have observations recorded; help us increase that number and our understanding of the species—good and bad, native as well as invasive—that can be found on TNC lands across the state. This information can also help guide and inform our conservation staff's management and monitoring decisions.

A man leans agaisnt a fence in front of a montain range
Jerry Dorneman TNC volunteer in Delaware. © Courtesy of Jerry Dorneman

2022 Delaware Volunteer of the Year

Jerry Dorneman

As a longtime resident of Sussex County, Jerry Dorneman has witnessed the massive growth and development in the eastern part of the county over the last several decades. Born and raised in rural central Pennsylvania, Jerry spent lots of time outdoors hiking, hunting, and fishing with his dad and the Boy Scouts. He recalls when he first moved to southern Delaware, the landscape of farms and forests reminded him of where he grew up.

Luckily for both Jerry and TNC, he lives just a few minutes from our Edward H. McCabe Preserve, near Milton. Jerry enjoys hiking at McCabe throughout the year, helping to maintain the trails whenever smaller issues arise. It’s a big help to our stewardship staff members Natasha Whetzel and Jacob McDaniel who not only care for our 5,000 acres of preserves across southern Delaware but often travel out of state to assist with prescribed burns.

“I just love being outdoors and in the woods,” Jerry says. “Keeping trails cleared and accessible for everyone gives me a sense of accomplishment while I enjoy the solitude of the forest.”

Jerry also joins us for group volunteer events like weed removal in the 39-acre reforestation sites at McCabe Preserve. This task has been especially important since the initial planting of saplings in 2019 because young trees can easily be shaded out by faster-growing weeds.

In fact, Jerry says this project gives him the most joy and hope.

“Because I live so close to McCabe, I see the results of the reforestation several times a week,” he says. “I especially look forward to spring because the grasses and weeds have died off and the surviving saplings show their perseverance. Helping saplings survive and flourish is hard work!”

TNC thanks Jerry for all of his efforts to help make our little part of the world a better place for people and nature to thrive.

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For more information about volunteering in Delaware, fill out the short form below and we'll be in touch with opportunities!

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