VCU's River Campus

The VCU Rice Rivers Center, a part of VCU Life Sciences, supports scholarship and student instruction across diverse disciplines, including water resources, climate science, wildlife conservation and wetlands restoration.

Located midway between Richmond and Williamsburg, Virginia along the historic James River, our 360 acres of riparian marshes, tidal creeks and mature forests represent a unique outdoor laboratory for important applied research and innovative, experiential classes. The center’s modern facilities offer offices, classrooms, laboratories and overnight lodging for students, faculty, visiting scholars and community groups. State-of-the-art technologies are deployed onsite to collect information on air and water quality, fish and avian migrations, changing sea levels and a host of other critical data sources. Our ongoing partnerships with state and federal natural resource and earth science agencies provide significant training opportunities for student scholars.

Science that matters to everyone


A bunch of people are in three rafts on the river rapids.

Dec. 12, 2023

Beyond Boundaries spends Veterans Day weekend at Rice Rivers Center

This is the second year the center has hosted the veterans group.

Nina Brundle in waders, standing with a net over her left shoulder

Dec. 5, 2023

Meet Nina Brundle, Rice Rivers Center’s Geospatial Data Scientist

GIS appealed to Brundle’s analytical and statistical interests, and complements her graphic design and environmental backgrounds.

A man is sitting at a table under a tent in the forest, holding a bird. He is trying to get a DNA sample. On the table are laboratory supplies.

Nov. 30, 2023

CILSE Ph.D. student Jorge Garzon travels deep into the rainforest for his research

The difficult journey yields access to endemic birds not well studied.

Research and Restoration

a warbler perched atop someone's hand

VCU researchers and partners study the breeding biology of the prothonotary warbler along the lower James River using the project and its data to explore population genetics, disease and migration ecology, the role of song and plumage in reproductive fitness, and the impact of climate change on diet and timing of breeding.