VCU Rice Center

Photo of sunlit trees
News and events

Water Matters at the Rice Center

The Rice Center for Environmental Life Sciences is Virginia Commonwealth University’s large outdoor laboratory devoted to environmental research. Located on 494 acres along the James River, the Rice Center is a place where scientists study the role of conservation in helping to protect our rivers and wetlands. This unique field station on the James is in an area rich in natural and cultural resources and is an ideal place to teach how we all can become better stewards of our natural resources.

Watch this video to discover how the Rice Center is making a difference. WCVE Public Radio’s Charles Fishburne reports.

Scientists from VCU and many other institutions conduct research on a wide variety of topics with a primary focus being large river ecosystems and their surrounding wetlands and habitats. Some recent studies include:

  • Wetlands restoration
  • Restoration of Atlantic sturgeon in Virginia’s coastal waters
  • Nutrient dynamics and the role of plankton in the food chains of the James River
  • The ecology of the freshwater tidal creeks along the river

Scientists from the Rice Center believe the best way to involve students in the investigation of their world is by being outside - and the Rice Center is a perfect outdoor learning facility. Educational programs are offered throughout the year for undergraduate and graduate students as well as students in grades K-12. Additionally, the Rice Center's teacher programs are a wonderful opportunity for teachers from across the nation to participate in unique workshops where they explore the James River and the diversity of Virginia’s wildlife, all while earning graduate credit through VCU.

For more information on research and program opportunities visit The Rice Center’s website.