SAIL (SERC Adult Institute of Learning)

This institute is designed to provide lifelong learners (adults 25+) with an opportunity to keep learning, sharpen minds, and learn about SERC science. Currently all programs are virtual but we will include immersive field experiences and nature walks when we can resume in-person programs.


  • The membership cost is $95/season, or $190 per person a year, and covers one program a month for a year on the last Friday of each month. 
  • Programs are 1.5 hours (1-2:30 pm).  
  • You can participate in as many or as few as you like. 
  • Minimum enrollment needed is 12 people. 
  • To register contact Karen McDonald (  You may pay by credit card over the phone with our registrar once you have been signed up. 




Spring/Summer Session
April 30th Identifying reptiles and amphibians of Maryland Talk
May 28 Introduction to native orchids of Maryland & SERC’s fungus research Talk
June 25 Fossil Atmosphere’s research & leaf margin analysis to predict regional climate: Leaf Lab Lab, you will need to collect 10 leaves from your community
July 30 How to read a scientific paper even if you’re not a scientist Discussion & Activity
August 27 Jim Gibb: SERC Archaeologist  (talk title pending) Talk (guest speaker, Jim Gibb)
September 24 SERC Citizen Science: Saw-whet owl banding at SERC, biology and results so far Talk (guest speaker, Melissa Boyle)
Fall/Winter Session
October 29 Fish identification for the Rhode River estuary (if we reopen, we’ll go seining) Seining or Talk (TBD)
November 19 Nature Walk & Identification Skills: New Contee Farm Trail (TBD if not reopened) Walk or Talk (TBD)
December 10 Book Discussion: TBD Based on Vote of Three Natural History Titles Discussion
January 28 Analysis of river otter behavior, and kleptoparasitism (food stealing by raccoons) based on game camera footage Lab 
February 25   Owls of Maryland & Owl Pellet Dissection Lab (must purchase pellet online, usually $2.50/ea)
March 25 Spring Emergence Walk Walk