Appalachian Laboratory

The Appalachian Laboratory is dedicated to the study of terrestrial and freshwater ecosystems. We seek to better understand the effects of natural and human-induced changes on organisms, landscapes, and biogeochemical and hydrological cycles. We then apply scientific results to unravel the consequences of environmental change, manage natural resources, restore ecosystems, and foster ecological literacy.

The Appalachian Laboratory is the headquarters and administrative lead of the Chesapeake Watershed Cooperative Ecosystem Studies Unit (CW CESU), a partnership among 22 university/research institutions and 9 federal agencies whose members strive to understand and protect the natural and cultural resources of the region.

The Appalachian Laboratory is located in the mountains of western Maryland, the headwaters of the Chesapeake Bay watershed. directions

For more information about the Appalachian Laboratory, please visit the "About AL" page.

Appalachian Laboratory hosts Open House - Saturday, May 2

Did you know there could be something other than water in the rain? Have you ever seen a tree breathe? Did you know that not all scientists wear lab coats?  Visit the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science's Appalachian Laboratory for a free Open House on Saturday, May 2, from 10 a.m.- 2 p.m. to find out. Learn about Maryland’s flying mammals, what lurks in pond scum, and more. 

The Appalachian Laboratory is located at 301 Braddock Road, just _ mile north of exit 33 on Interstate 68. Parking is free. For more information, visit or call 301-689-7100.

This year’s Open House is being held in partnership with Frostburg State University and Allegany County Public Schools’ Western Maryland STEM Festival

Hands-on, family-friendly science experiments include:

  • Is Rainwater Just Water?: Come learn how western Maryland high school students are partnering with Appalachian Laboratory scientists to study pollution in our rainwater.  Try your hand at testing rain, and discover what mysteries this apparently clear liquid contains.
  • Maryland’s Flying Mammals: Gain a better understanding of why bats are important to our ecosystem. See demonstrations of field equipment used in bat studies and learn about current threats to bat populations.
  • The Tree Doctor: Have you ever seen a tree breathe? Learn about the equipment that our Tree Doctor uses to measure tree health and annual growth, as well as how climate change could affect trees in the future.
  • Dr. Robert Cranium’s Mad Scientist Show: Learn about chemistry and science through exciting demonstrations.  Watch Dr. Cranium create a cloud in a bottle, make a rainbow, and blow up a balloon without his mouth.  Try your hand at creating the "car of the future."

The Appalachian Laboratory is home to state-of-the-art research on plant and soil ecology, water resources, wildlife ecology, and conservation biology. Three floors of the laboratory will feature hands-on learning about science, including research unique to Allegany County.