January 13, 2006
Karen McDonald 301-238-2737   mcdonaldk@si.edu

The Smithsonian Environmental Research Center Launches a New Outreach Program in Your Own Back Yard

The Smithsonian Environmental Research Center (SERC) is launching a new outreach program this spring with exciting offerings for everyone from toddlers to seniors. Our new program offers an unprecedented opportunity for the public to enjoy the Smithsonian’s 3,000 acre science center with walking tours through some of Anne Arundel County’s largest patches of undisturbed old-growth forest and canoe excursions through miles of undeveloped shoreline. Our spring line-up of activities includes parent-child activities for pre-schoolers, hands-on experiments for school-aged children and adults, projects for home-schoolers as well as a book club and lunch-time speakers series.

Previously our public programs were limited by staff and resources, but we are now able to offer a much broader program, opening the doors to this little-known jewel along Muddy Creek road. SERC is now open from 9:00 am to 4:30 pm Monday through Saturday for general visitors and has special programs for the public throughout the week. In addition to exploring local ecology, our programs will teach visitors about the research we’re doing here and how it relates to important issues such as global warming, invasive species, land use, water quality, watershed ecology and Chesapeake Bay fisheries. Our new programming begins in February, with activities such as “Let’s Make a Tubeworm”, “Animal Track Casting”, and a “Design Your Own Plankton” competition. Plus you’ll find science seminars for the serious-minded, and public lectures for everyone.

A new quarterly publication, “The SERC Sun” will help advertise our programs, and a calendar of events is available on our website at: http://www.serc.si.edu/public_programs/ where you can see a monthly listing of all public events, or follow links to events geared toward specific ages. A pdf version of the SERC Sun is attached to this message. Members of the public interested in receiving a copy of the “SERC Sun”, and media interested in exploring the new programs should contact Karen McDonald at (443) 482-2300 or e-mail her at mcdonaldk@si.edu to be included on the mailing list.

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