About the center
Promoting better understanding and knowledge of the environment, the river we live on and the natural resources that nourish life.
The Inger and Walter Rice Center for Environmental Life Sciences is Virginia Commonwealth University’s field station devoted to a broad array of environmental research, teaching and public service. Located on 494 acres along the historic James River, midway between Richmond and Williamsburg, the Rice Center is rich in natural and cultural resources. The center has a variety of aquatic and terrestrial habitats that provide many research and educational opportunities.
A primary focus of research at the site is on the science and policy of large rivers and their fringing riparian and wetland landscapes, with the broad and scenic James River as the focal point of that research. The site’s history includes extensive use during the Colonial and Civil War periods and dates back to Native American use some 8,000 years ago.
The center also is very active in undergraduate and graduate educational activities, providing field-based instruction for a number of courses taught at VCU. Many outreach education programs also are taught throughout the year at the center, focused on environmental education for K-12 schoolchildren, their teachers and lifelong learners.