Earth Day tour of the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center in Edgewater, Maryland

AMC’s Potomac Chapter recognized Earth Day at the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center (SERC) in Edgewater, Maryland on 21 April.  Led by Potomac Chapter member and SERC Scientist Paul Fofonoff, this annual hike and lab tour was highly successful and provided an outstanding overview of the lab’s research and work on preserving Chesapeake Bay and its watershed.  Along with another SERC Scientist, Dr. Tom Jordan, Paul explained the work of the 17 research groups at SERC. One area discussed was the flow of nitrogen and phosphorus into the Chesapeake Bay and the filtering effects of riparian buffers in the watershed. Other topics included work on invasive species and a talk on a 100-year experiment with an 61 acre infant forest where scientists will watch it grow over the next century to uncover clues about climate change, water quality and the importance of biodiversity. The members were impressed with the scope and intensity of work, the lab facilities, and the Center’s 2600 acres of land, with forests, marshes, and archeological sites.




Land and Water Conservation Fund:

Supporting the outdoors in VA, MD and DC

The Land and Water Conservation Fund or LWCF creates parks and open spaces; protects wilderness, wetlands, and refuges; preserves wildlife habitat; and enhances public recreational opportunities. Outdoor lovers in Virginia, Maryland and DC have all benefited since the Fund’s inception in 1964, but its future is at risk. 

 The LWCF is a visionary and bipartisan federal funding program that protects our nation’s most special places. It “authorizes” (but does not require) Congress to spend up to $900 million annually to conserve lands, forests, and trails across the nation. It operates through a combination of federal projects and state grants that collectively have helped finance over 40,000 athletic and playing fields, 12,000 miles of hiking trails, 20,000 family picnic locations, 5,500 campgrounds, 10,000 swimming and boating facilities, and 600 hunting and nature areas.

 AMC members love to enjoy the outdoors in places protected by the LWCF, from the White Mountains in New Hampshire, to local state parks and trails in the Potomac Basin. In Maryland, for example, the Fund protects Patapsco Valley and Patuxent State Parks and Catoctin Mountain Park; Mason Point and Leesylvania State Parks, the Appalachian Trail Corridor, and the George Washington and Jefferson National Forests in Virginia. In DC, the Fund helps to maintain popular visitor attractions such as Ford’s Theater, the FDR Memorial and National Capital Parks – East.

 Congress last reauthorized the Land and Water Conservation Fund in 2015. It expires in September 2018. Permanently reauthorizing the Fund will provide full and permanent funding with which to support critical conservation and recreation programs.

Call to Action — How you can help:

Add your voice. Speak up by going to the AMC’s Action Center at:, or send a letter to your Members of Congress. You will find a list of your representatives and a sample letter to get you started. You can also get involved in the Potomac Chapter’s conservation efforts by emailing

Contact the Conservation Committee Chair at to:

  • Join the Conservation Committee and help engage chapter members in conservation activities
  • Find out more on any issues listed on this page
  • Send suggestions or ask questions.

Local Conservation News

Members of AMC’s Potomac Chapter helped celebrate National Public Lands on September 30th by working alongside members of the National Aquarium’s Conservation Team. They helped remove debris from the marsh and enhanced the area with beneficial native plant gardens. Data collected during the event was contributed to the Ocean Conservancy’s International Coastal Cleanup efforts.