This week, several Affiliations staff treated ourselves to a field trip, and visited our colleagues at the Smithsonian’s Environmental Research Center. Located on 3,000 acres on the Chesapeake Bay (SERC map), SERC is a leading research unit with 16 laboratories devoted to studying things like marine biology & ecology, among other topics. SERC is the national center for research on biological invasions in marine ecosystems; hosts the world’s largest research team analyzing mangrove forests; and is a national leader in the analysis of wetlands. Very impressive.
We met with SERC’s Director of Education, Mark Haddon. Mark’s team reaches millions of kids a year through their extensive videoconferencing program, electronic field trips and mobile ecology lab. They also teach through guided hikes and canoe trips, lectures and “study stations” on their dock and shoreline, for interactive workshops on habitat, water quality and more. Mark has very cool educational tools at his disposal too, from big rubber wading suits and nets to troll for crabs to aquariums and microscopes to a large-capacity boat on which he can take students into the bay for samples. He’s even working on getting hand-held data-collecting probes.
If any kind of marine biology or ecology is part of your mission, check out SERC. They are ripe and eager to collaborate on everything from electronic lessons for students to teacher training to advice on best practices.
Mark suggested we continue our discussion next time during a canoe trip around the property. Any affiliates want to join us?!