VCU Rice Rivers Center

3800 John Tyler Memorial Highway
Charles City County, VA 23030


Inger and Walter Rice Center for Environmental Life SciencesVCU Rice Rivers Center is VCU’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 VCU Rice Rivers 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.

The first structure on the site — the Research Pier — was completed in the spring of 2006. The Walter L. Rice Education Building was dedicated on Oct. 15, 2008, and was certified in March 2009 as the first platinum-level LEED building in the commonwealth of Virginia. This building contains classrooms and wet laboratories, a conference room, office space and a large multipurpose room. Also completed on-site is an outdoor classroom.

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.


  • Free on-site parking