One way to learn about Delaware’s coastal areas is to take a trip to the Delaware National Estuarine Research Reserve. It has two components: the St. Jones Reserve in Dover and the Blackbird Creek Reserve in Townsend. It is one of only 28 estuarine reserves in the country and attracts numerous out-of-state visitors.

There will be several big events this fall. The Arts in the Estuary festival at the St. Jones Reserve is Sept. 26. Visitors can check out artwork from local artisans, listen to local music and craft their own art. On Oct. 17 the Blackbird Creek Fall Festival will help usher in autumn with hayrides, birdwatching, a scavenger hunt and more.

In addition to education, the reserve’s mission is to preserve and manage natural resources as a place for research.

Kimberly Cole, environmental program manager, says that there are a variety of programs. “During the school year, we have field trips and we also do community outreach where we actually go to the schools,” she said.

Cole said that the reserve offers boat trips and it has extensive walking trails, making it a good location for birding.

“In addition to birds, we have many animals at the reserve, such as deer, foxes and raccoons,” she said.

Registration is required for the popular hikes and canoe trips. All are free. Registration allows the staff to get a headcount and to notify people of cancellation due to inclement weather.

The estuarine reserve offers volunteer opportunities and anyone who is interested can contact Cole at 302-739-6377.