DOVER – Families are invited to a free program on the bay-wide horseshoe crab spawning survey scheduled for 10 to 11 a.m. on Saturday, May 16 at Bowers Beach. The program, hosted by the Delaware National Estuarine Research Reserve (DNERR), is designed for “young scientists” (under 13) and their families who want to learn about horseshoe crabs and the annual “crab count” that takes place in May and June.
The Delaware Bay is home to the largest population of horseshoe crabs on the Atlantic coast. Despite the horseshoe crab’s importance to the ecology of the Bay, little is known about its population status. Since 2001, DNERR has hosted the survey conducted by adult volunteers and scientists who count spawning horseshoe crabs to gather data on their numbers.
“We’re offering an opportunity for families with children too young to participate in our horseshoe crab spawning survey to join us at Bowers Beach and take part in a mock survey,” said Maggie Pletta, education coordinator with DNERR. “The program is a wonderful opportunity for families to learn how we conduct the survey, properly record data and distinguish between male and female horseshoe crabs.”
Space is limited, so it is advised to pre-register by emailing Margaret.Pletta@state.de.us or calling 302-739-6377. Please meet Reserve staff in the public parking lot at Bowers Beach before heading out to the beachfront. Participants should wear shoes that can get wet and dirty, and that will stay on their feet (no flip flops).
After the program, participants are encouraged to visit DNREC’s DuPont Nature Center at Mispillion Harbor Reserve near Milford for the sixth-annual Peace, Love & Horseshoe Crab Festival from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Festivities include children’s games, live music, food and a variety of fun and educational activities for everyone. For information about the Festival, call 302-422-1329 or visit DuPont Nature Center.
For information on this and other free public programs offered through DNERR, please visit http://de.gov/dnerr or find us on Facebook – Delaware NERR.
The Delaware National Estuarine Research Reserve is a partnership between the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. DNERR is administered through the Delaware Coastal Programs Section of DNREC’s Office of the Secretary.