Family program on Delaware’s horseshoe crab spawning survey

Family program on Delaware’s horseshoe crab spawning survey
set for May 16 at Bowers Beach

Horseshoe Crabs, spawning survery, DNERR, DuPont Nature Center, Delaware National Estuarine Research Reserve
Horseshoe Crabs

DOVER (May 11, 2015) – 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.”

pickering beach, horseshoe crabs spawning, delaware bay beaches, sussex county, delmarva
Spawning horseshoe crabs at Pickering Beach … Photo credit James Blackstock
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Space is limited, so it is advised to pre-register by emailing 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 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.

This project is part of DNREC’s Bayshore Initiative, a landscape approach to restore and protect fish and wildlife habitat, increase volunteer participation in habitat stewardship projects, enhance low-impact outdoor recreation and ecotourism opportunities, and promote associated environmentally compatible economic development. For more information, click Delaware Bayshore.                                                                  

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