The shallow waters of the Chesapeake Bay and its surrounding landscape serve as a natural laboratory for long-term ecological research on the interactions of land, water and air in the coastal zone.

Smithsonian Environmental Research Center

$6 Million goal

Smithsonian Environmental Research Center
Overview

Our Goal: $6 Million

Nearly three-quarters of the world’s population lives in coastal zones. These crucial ecosystems face rapidly accelerating change. The Smithsonian Environmental Research Center is a leader in research of coastal land-use management, overfishing and invasive species and the impact of pollution by toxic chemicals and nutrient loading. Through the Smithsonian Campaign, we will discover more science-based solutions for sustainability and attract the world’s finest scientists.

 

Smithsonian Environmental Research Center
Leadership Message

Leadership Message

I was immersed in the beauty and biodiversity of reefs and kelp forests as a young marine biologist growing up in Hawaii and California. I transformed my passion into a profession at the Smithsonian, researching the nation’s largest estuary — the Chesapeake Bay — and coastal habitats from Alaska to China.

During the past 40 years, I have watched an insidious ecological deterioration as these environments, once teeming with life, have endured pollution, overfishing, deforestation, overdevelopment and now rapid climate change. Despite my alarm, I know environmental science provides solutions to reverse these impacts.

At the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center, our scientists have developed strategies for protecting stream-side forests that prevent pollution from farming and urban runoff. They have promoted tactics to restore blue crab fisheries and advised government officials on regulations to prevent the spread of invasive species by ballast water in ships.

The Smithsonian founded the center 50 years ago at the doorstep of the nation’s capital and made a commitment to long-term research on coastal ecosystems. Today, our Chesapeake research site has increased seven-fold and serves as both a special model and network hub to global environmental observatories around the earth.

I hope you will support our vision to return us to a sustainable future. The need is urgent and our history shows every gift has tremendous power to catalyze success.

  • Anson "Tuck" Hines
    Director, Smithsonian Environmental Research Center
Smithsonian Environmental Research Center
Campaign Case

Investing in Environmental Science to Sustain Our Planet

The Smithsonian Environmental Research Center sits on 2,650 acres of fields, forests and wetlands along the shoreline of the nation’s largest estuary, the Chesapeake Bay.

This setting provides a unique site for integrating long-term environmental research, education and stewardship. It serves as both a model for sustainability and a nexus for global ecological observatories in forests and estuarine ecosystems.

Visiting Scholar Cottages
As a world leader in evironmental science, the center receives frequent requests to host collaborating scientists from around the world. The center is limited in its ability to partner with leading scientists because of a lack of housing on campus. The Smithsonian Environmental Research Center seeks to construct six Visitor Scholar Cottages built to the highest environmental standards. These cottages will be a showplace of sustainable practices.

Endowing Two-Coast Fellowship
This fellowship at the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center will allow the post-doctoral fellows to study specific environmental issues on both the Atlantic and Pacific coasts of North America. Fellows will spend one year at the center's Chesapeake Bay headquarters and another at the Romberg Tiburon Center on the San Francisco Bay, where, for the past 15 years, the center has had permanent research staff. This unique bicoastal approach will foster comprehensive research in areas such as oyster restoration, invasive species, shark population and pollution mitigation.

Environmental Leadership Center
The Environmental Leadership Center at the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center will be an innovative facility where leaders from diverse fields—climate change scientists, educators, governmental officials, business leaders, and concerned citizens—can meet to find solutions to the complex issues of global climate change. The facility will support retreats, workshops and conferences for intensive learning experiences, leading to innovative solutions for environmental stewardship. Designed beyond LEED Platinum standards, this ultra-environmentally sound facility will be the only one in the region.

Smithsonian Environmental Research Center
Priorities

Smithsonian Environmental Research Center

is raising $6 million of the Smithsonian Campaign’s overall $1.5 billion goal. 

Campaign Priorities

Visiting Scholar Cottages

$350,000/each

As a world leader in environmental science, the center receives frequent requests to host collaborating scientists from around the world. The center is limited in its ability to partner with leading scientists because of a lack of housing on campus. The Smithsonian Environmental Research Center seeks to construct six Visitor Scholar Cottages built to the highest environmental standards. These cottages will be a showplace of sustainable practices. 

Endowed Two-Coast Fellowship

$2 Million

This fellowship at the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center will allow the post-doctoral fellows to study specific environmental issues on both the Atlantic and Pacific coasts of North America. Fellows will spend one year at the center’s Chesapeake Bay headquarters and another at the Romberg Tiburon Center on the San Francisco Bay, where, for the past 15 years, the center has had permanent research staff. This unique bicoastal approach will foster comprehensive research in areas such as oyster restoration, invasive species, shark population and pollution mitigation.

Environmental Leadership Center

$10 million

The Environmental Leadership Center at the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center will be an innovative facility where leaders from diverse fields—climate change scientists, educators, governmental officials, business leaders, and concerned citizens—can meet to find solutions to the complex issues of global climate change. The facility will support retreats, workshops and conferences for intensive learning experiences, leading to innovative solutions for environmental stewardship. Designed beyond LEED Platinum standards, this ultra-environmentally sound facility will be the only one in the region. 

Smithsonian Environmental Research Center
Stories

Maggie Godbolt and Steven Bershader, center and right, Anson "Tuck" Hines, left, Smithsonian Environmental Research Center director 

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A Gift Filled WIth Hope

A Gift Filled with Hope 

Concerned about species extinctions around the world, Maggie Godbold and Steven Bershader have made a planned gift to fund an endowment at the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center (SERC). The couple has been friends of the Smithsonian for some 25 years. Bershader is an avid bird watcher, and he and Godbold have travelled the world since retiring from their engineering jobs. “In our travels, we have witnessed the extinctions and near extinctions of bird, animal and plant species,” Godbold says. “SERC’s mission, understanding the human impact to the environment, cause and effect, and educating the world, leaves hope that our granddaughter may yet see what we have seen, instead of seeing the footprints of what once was.” The Bershader-Godbold Endowment will support environmental science education programs, infrastructure and technology. 

Ken Zemrowski and Susan MacKeen at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center. Photo Mark Avino 

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Zemrowski and McKeen

Philanthropic Relationship Honored at the Bay Started Long Ago

Susan MacKeen and Ken Zemrowski launched their wedding reception from the dock of the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center on the Richard Lee boat in 2012, toasting their relationship together and with the institution. The couple had spent time volunteering at the Chesapeake Bay research center before the reception, but their relationship with the Smithsonian had started a long time prior to that. Zemrowski, a member of the Smithsonian Legacy Society, has provided for the Smithsonian through his estate plan and established a charitable gift annuity. His first date with MacKeen was attending the Smithsonian Annual Weekend in 2010. Both have been members of Smithsonian Associates, Friends of the National Zoo, the National Air and Space Society and the James Smithson Society. Through these associations, they have met conservation scientists at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute in Front Royal, Va., and toured behind-the-scenes at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, Va. “I like museums. I also like knowledge. I resonate with ‘the increase and diffusion of knowledge,’ the Smithsonian’s mission. It is an important mission. The Smithsonian is, after all, not just the bricks and mortar on the National Mall,” says Zemrowski. 

Smithsonian Environmental Research Center
Contact

Contact Us

Smithsonian Environmental Research Center Campaign Officers

Smithsonian Environmental Research Center Board

  • Tom E. Lindley, Esq. (Chair)
  • David A. Armstrong, Ph.D.
  • William H. Bohnett
  • Francis H Chaney II  (Emeritus)
  • Kevin Compton
  • Vice Admiral Derwood Curtis
  • Harold R. Denton
  • Diane Ebert-May, Ph.D.
  • Jeanne M. Grasso, Esq.
  • Kyle B. Lukins, Esq.
  • Midgett S. Parker Jr., Esq.
  • C. Jason Payne
  • Nicholas G. Penniman (Vice Chair)
  • John T. Schwieters
  • John C. Stamato

Smithsonian Environmental Research Center

Total Goal:
$6 Million

114.6%

$6.87 Million Raised

As of February 28, 2017

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