Environment, Climate, and Conservation Sciences

Support the Don Kelso
Learning Pier Campaign

Learn about Dr. Don Kelso’s legacy and find out how you can help build an extended pier for teaching and research, and contribute to the health of the Potomac River while honoring one of Mason’s most revered professors.

About the Campaign

Dr. Donald Kelso was Mason’s first marine & freshwater ecologist, joining in 1970 what is now the Department of Environmental Science and Policy. Kelso’s legacy includes a lasting impact on many students, who hold him in the highest regard.

In 2017, fulfilling a long-held aspiration, George Mason University opened an exceptional facility in Belmont Bay along the shores of the Occoquan River, a tributary of the Potomac, near Woodbridge, Virginia. Home to the College of Science’s Potomac Environmental Research and Education Center (PEREC), the Potomac Science Center (PSC) is a place for environmental education, for scientific research, and for community outreach and connection.

Unfortunately, the Occoquan River is extremely shallow in front of the PSC, thus Mason’s premiere environmental and marine ecology facility is not accessible by boat, despite its extraordinary riverfront location. What’s more, aquatic research activities that can be conducted from the small dock in front of the facility are extremely limited in scope and by the number of participants the dock can accommodate.

Campaign Updates

The initial step, a feasibility study, was funded by the College and is nearing completion. Preliminary results are encouraging and suggest that a fixed dock of sufficient length can be constructed along PEREC’s shoreline that would accommodate the University’s boats, temporary docking for other boats conducting aquatic research on the local rivers, as well as groups of students from a variety of Mason courses and local K-12 students.  Though technically feasible to construct the dock, the cost is expected to be significant, with most of the funding provided through donations and grants.

Celebrating Dr. Don Kelso

In May 2021 the College of Science hosted an intimate reception for Dr. Don Kelso, his family, his former students and environmental science faculty. See pictures from this reunion event below!

Support the Don Kelso Learning Pier Campaign

Your support of the Don Kelso Learning Pier will provide opportunities for impactful research and teaching for generations to come. Donate now to make a difference.

More Opportunities

Find other ways to get involved and support science.