Smithsonian Environmental Research Center Open House


On Saturday, May 13, 2006, the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center (SERC) held its annual Open House. The center, located on the Rhode River near Mayo, Maryland, is normally the domain of scientists studying forests, estuaries, and the interface between land and water. Scientists have been performing world-class research at the 2,800-acre facility since 1965.

SERC also specializes in environmental education, including professional training for graduate and post-graduate students as well as informal education for young students. As part of its environmental education initiative, SERC "struts its stuff" during its annual open house to enlighten the general public.

This was the first time I attended the open house, and I came away very impressed. There were numerous exhibits and scheduled activites, all of them interesting. There was so much to do and see that even an hours-long visit wasn't enough to do and see everything. At all of the exhibits and activites, you got to talk with the actual scientists, who would explain their research and answer questions. For someone interested in nature and science like I am, it was a fascinating visit.

Hobnobbing with scientists would be reason enough to attend, but as an added plus, some of the activities were way cool:

They also had canoe rides, hayrides, crabbing and seining demonstrations, live music, crafts and activities for children, tasty catered food for sale, etc. They even shuttled you via school buses to and from the public parking area, which was located several miles away at a public school. And best of all, admission was free.

Even though I didn't see everything, I did take lots of pictures, and I present some of them on the next seven pages. You can click on any of the following links, or if you want, you can read through all the pages sequentially by clicking the "Next Page" button at the bottom of each page.

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