Delaware Center for the Inland Bays survey training continues April 14

April 6, 2021

The Delaware Center for the Inland Bays is continuing preparations for the 2021 survey season by hosting trainings for volunteer participants.

Every year, the center hosts several volunteer-driven surveys to collect data on important species, such as horseshoe crabs and diamondback terrapins, as indicators of the health of their coastal environments. That information can help scientists and decision-makers identify and effectively plan restoration and conservation efforts.

“Volunteers are the heartbeat of the center, and we rely on them to conduct these important surveys,” said Project Manager Nivette Pérez-Pérez. “The surveys are a great way for people to learn more about the natural habitats of our bays, and the volunteers find it rewarding to play such an important role in local science and restoration efforts.”

In April, the center will train volunteers how to participate in three additional citizen science surveys to collect information about diamondback terrapins, horseshoe crabs and reforestation efforts.

This marks the second year of the center’s diamondback terrapin survey, and the first in which volunteers will be able to participate. Diamondback terrapins are an important salt marsh predator and an iconic Inland Bays species, but little is known about their long-term population status and how that changes from year to year and place to place. Terrapins also face a number of serious threats, including habitat loss and motor vehicle collisions. By counting basking terrapins from sites on land or by pre-planned kayak routes, the center is aiming to get a better understanding of their local population and trends.

For more than 10 years, the center has been collecting vital information about the horseshoe crabs that spawn each spring in the Inland Bays through its volunteer horseshoe crab survey. For three nights at high tide around the first full and new moons starting in late April 2021, volunteers will meet on six beaches around the Inland Bays. With flashlights in hand and bug repellent in their pockets, they will count the number of horseshoe crabs, collect additional data on this important species and tag some horseshoe crabs to better understand their movements in the bays and nearby estuaries.

The center’s reforestation survey plays a key role in tracking the successes and challenges of reforestation projects throughout the watershed. Reforestation is a cost-effective way not only to provide additional habitat for wildlife, including rare and threatened species, but also improve water quality by capturing excess nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorus.

This year, all survey trainings will be held online through Zoom. Preregistration is required, and all volunteers must fill out a volunteer application and waivers, all of which are available online at

The Inland Bays Volunteer Horseshoe Crab Survey virtual training will be held at 6 p.m., Wednesday, April 14. To learn more or to sign up to volunteer, go to

The training for the reforestation survey will be held at 7 p.m., Thursday, April 15. Interested volunteers can register at

The training for the diamondback terrapin survey will be held at 6 p.m., Wednesday, April 28. Interested volunteers can register at

Additional trainings for the center’s new osprey survey, James Farm docent program and shorezone fish and blue crab survey were held in March.


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