CBNERR Public Programs

Community outreach is a priority for the CBNERR Education department. Reserve staff provide environmental programs at Estuaries Day and Marine Science Day, as well as offering a Discovery Lab series open to the public on various marine science topics.

Discovery Labs

The Discovery Lab series provides fun, family-friendly experiences and lifelong learning. Each lab focuses on a specific topic through a series of stations that provide hands-on activities for kids and adults. Participants look through microscopes, observe live animals, partake in crafts and games, and view research posters.  Both VIMS faculty and students participate as speakers, sharing their research with the general public in an intimate setting. 

2018 Topics

To view the 2018 Discovery Lab flyer, click here.  The 2018 Discovery Lab series is complete.  Please check back soon for the 2019 topics and dates.

January 16: Marine Technology

February 20: Predatory Fishes

March 20: Marsh Madness 

April 17: Be a Bay Buddy!

June 12: Animal and Plant Collections

August 21: Feeding Frenzy

September 18: Marine Careers 

Registration is required.  Registration forms are available for the current month's lab only.

 Time and Place

  • Discovery Labs typically take place on the third or fourth Tuesday of each month.
  • The labs run from 6-8 pm with a speaker at 6:30 pm.
  • The labs take place in the Catlett-Burress Research and Education Teaching lab (Building #132 on VIMS campus map).
  • Driving directions (pdf).

Discovery Labs are appropriate for all ages.


Discovery Labs are free.

Discovery Days (Homeschools)

Discovery Days are daytime sessions of our January, February, March, and April labs for the families of homeschool students.  These labs take place the day immediately following the original Discovery Lab. We will have recordings of our speakers available in addition to all of the activities and exhibits that are available at the nightly labs. 

There will be two sessions offered for each Discovery Day. The first session will take place from 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM, and the second session will take place from 1:00 PM – 3:00 PM.  While Discovery Days are free, registration is required due to limited space. Registration information will be sent out approximately one month in advance of each event by CBNERR. If interested, please email so that you may be included in the monthly email correspondences.


Contact Sarah McGuire Nuss, 804-684-7878 for more information.

Past Discovery Lab and After Hours Presentations