The Riverwoods Field Laboratory (RFL) is located on a historic section of the Kissimmee River and is managed by the Florida Center for Environmental Studies (CES) in partnership with the South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD). Established in 1995, Riverwoods' main objective is to support research and educational activities related to the restoration of the Kissimmee River and greater Everglades ecosystem. CES hosts research scientists, students, and technicians from state, national and international organizations including universities, water management districts and environmental agencies that are interested in learning about or conducting research on the Kissimmee River Restoration Project. CES, in collaboration with SFWMD, has developed a comprehensive Education and Research Program at Riverwoods targeting secondary and post-secondary students, educators, university faculty, scientists, and environmental professionals. The program highlights environmental education using the Kissimmee River as a living lab and model of the world's largest river restoration. The program highlights the importance of the Kissimmee River restoration to the success of the greater Everglades ecosystem restoration that is outlined in the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP).
For more information about the SFWMD’s Kissimmee River Restoration check online:
Amber Graham has a unique position working for CES under our Riverwoods contract with the SFWMD. She serves as an Environmental Scientist working in support of the Kissimmee River Restoration Project (KRRP). She has been working with us for 10 years, and is an extremely talented and dedicated scientist.
Amber earned her A.A. at Palm Beach State College in 2005 and received PBSC’s Biology Student of the Year. While she was attending classes at PBSC, she attended a lecture about the Kissimmee River Restoration Project. This peaked her interest. Later she learned about a technician position offered by CES at Riverwoods supporting the KRRP research. She says that “With a little luck, I got the position and began the hard work of climbing up the ranks.”
FAU offers an excellent program for staff called the Employee Educational Scholarship Program. Amber took advantage of free classes and continued her education in the Geosciences Program. She worked full time and attended school part time for 4 years to earn her B.A. in Geography 2013. She is now focused on beginning her Master’s in Geosciences.
Amber’s favorite study is the Kissimmee River Channel Vegetation Study that she leads. She says that “this is my favorite project because this was my first scientific lead on a study to support the KRRP. It was a great opportunity to really get hands on experience as an environmental scientist.” Amber has gained a wide variety of experience in environmental field work by supporting all of the KRRP research studies.
When asked her advice to students interested in pursuing a career in environmental science, Amber replied “Go for it! There are boundless opportunities available in Federal, State or Local Government, and Private Consulting firms. There will be a magical job waiting for you at the end of your degree….if you put in the effort! Think about what is special to you, what are your strengths, then apply them to your education. Ask around to find opportunities to intern and learn different fields. Make sure to take a few GIS classes because all environmental research has a spatial application. Be proud of pursuing a career in Environmental Science, the future of our world will be in your hands. It can be as fun as you make it. I have been in my career for 10 years, and I still get excited to go to work!”
Learn more about other scientists working on the Kissimmee River: