What is the Delaware Center for the Inland Bays?
There are two things to remember. One is we’re a National Estuary Program (EAP), a program that helps protect and restore the water quality and ecological integrity of estuaries of national significance. There are 28 of them in the United States, but what makes us unique is we are also a nonprofit organization; not all EAPs are nonprofits. Basically, we’re your local environmental nonprofit for Delaware’s Inland Bays, which includes Indian River Bay, Rehoboth Bay, Little Assawoman Bay and the entire watershed.
How did you end up as the director of development for the Center?
I moved back to the area in 2004 and has been running kayak tours with my brother who owns Quest Adventures in Lewes. I would joke around and say, in the winter, I needed another job, so I stumbled into Dogfish Head Brewery and became their events director and ran the tour world and then ran the Brewery’s Beer & Benevolence program just shy of 14 years. Last spring, I was looking at changing careers and doing something else, and my heart’s always been in environmental work and working with nonprofits. So, when a position opened up at the Center, I jumped at the opportunity.
“We run environmental education programs for people of all ages almost year-round, that are 99.9% free.“
What’s one thing you want people to know about your organization?
We focus on three words: research, educate and restore. Our research includes everything from testing the water quality to horseshoe crab survey work. On the education side, we have James Farm Ecological Preserve, a 150-acre ecological preserve located on Indian River Bay. We run environmental education programs for people of all ages almost year-round, that are 99.9% free. On the restore side of things, we look at the watershed as a whole and work to protect conservation and reforestation as well as water quality issues of tributaries.
What makes the Delaware Coast so unique?
The geography of the area is really special. We have a lot of undeveloped beaches and three bays. We have some great state parks and amazing bike trails that didn’t exist when I was younger; I can now bike from my home in Milton to work and feel safe. We also have oysters in the Inland Bays again. Now, when you go to a local restaurant, you can actually enjoy fresh oysters that were raised here in our bays.
Mark’s Local Favs
- Beach Wherever the waves are!
- Shop Quiet Storm Surf Shop
- Lunch spot Dewey Beer Co.
- Coffee Rise Up
- Trail McCabe Nature Preserve
- Happy hour Taco Reho
- Sunset Spot James Farm Beach
The Delaware Center for the Inland Bays is hosting a Stand Up for the Bays Paddle Race and Fest on Saturday, June 3 at Holts Landing State Park in Dagsboro. For more information and to register, go to inlandbays.org.