Facilities and Centers
ESP Facilities and Research Centers
An interdisciplinary research center on the waterfront, a wetland compound, and a histology lab are among the resources available to our students, enabling them to experience hands-on learning outside the classroom.
Potomac Environmental Research and Education Center (PEREC)
The Potomac Environmental Research and Education Center (PEREC) is located in George Mason University’s new Potomac Science Center on the waterfront in Woodbridge, VA.
PEREC focuses on Potomac River restoration and local sustainability practices, so that the local ecosystem will be healthy for years to come. We translate our research into award winning and engaging field programs for K-12 students and the larger community.
The mission of the GMU Histology Laboratory is to support education and research in histotechniques, histology, and histopathology, serving the departments of Environmental Science & Policy, Psychology (Cognitive and Behavioral Neuroscience), and Biology, as well as the School of Systems Biology (Molecular and Microbiology).
The laboratory is available for the preparation of non-human tissue samples for histopathological examination by light microscopy to support research on diseases, systematics and taxonomy, physiology, microbiology, molecular biology, or other areas.
The Tissue Processing lab in DKH 3060 has a large fume hood for handling fixed tissue samples, automated tissue processor, embedding center, computer and monitor, and dissecting and brightfield (compound) microscopes, as well as sample (wet), paraffin block, and histoslide storage areas. DKH 3061 is the Slide Preparation lab, with two microtome work stations, water baths, slide warmers, lab oven and vacuum oven, smaller fume hood and counter space for manually staining the tissue sections, chemical storage, and flammables cabinet.
For more information, contact Dr. Esther Peters.
Wetland Mesocosm Compound
The GMU Wetland Compound is located in the West Campus area of the Fairfax campus, within the Intramural Arena, on a 100-yr floodplain right behind the first soccer field in the Arena. The compound was the brainchild of Dr. Changwoo Ahn, who proposed it in 2006. Today, the compound supports and facilitates external grant-supported research projects on wetlands, as well as to promote teaching activities, outreach and campus sustainability initiatives as an important asset to the University.
George Mason University Arboretum
ESP associate professor Dr. Cynthia Smith is part of the award-winning 2021 George Mason University Arboretum team.
Read more about the Arboretum:
Boats and vehicles
ESP owns three vehicles and a number of boats for use in research and teaching activities. The vehicles and boats are housed at the Potomac Science Center in Woodbridge.
For vehicle use, drivers are required to have a valid US driver’s license and have taken the university’s Driver Awareness Training (please provide date of training as part of use request). A mileage charge is assessed for use.
For boat use, the boats have a daily charge with their use and must have an approved boat driver on board who can provide a copy of the Boat Safety training certificate/card (course is not offered through GMU, but necessary to fulfill a Commonwealth of Virginia requirement).
While these vehicles and boats may be utilized by Mason faculty and students, with permission, please note that PEREC/ESP contracted research will take priority. When placing a request to use a vehicle or boat please contact Dr. R. Chris Jones and provide: name, status (faculty/student), if student - name of faculty member overseeing the research, what vehicle/boat is/are being requested, who the vehicle and/or boat driver will be, dates and location of use, and source of funding to cover use.
In general, boat use will only be allowed within a 40 mile radius of PEREC and boats must picked up and returned to the Potomac Science Center on the same day.