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).
Riverwoods Field Laboratory, nestled on 15 acres of land adjacent to the Kissimmee River, is the perfect setting for research, adventure and education. Our facility contains a fully-furnished, air-conditioned, conference center with a large kitchen and meeting room that seats up to 25 people. We have overnight accommodations for up to 20 guests. Be sure to bring your own bedding and food. There is a screened-in picnic house complete with a charcoal grill for outdoor BBQ. We have a fire pit with benches and firewood for a nice campfire – so be sure to bring s’mores!
Loisa Kerwin, Director
News from Riverwoods
Manatee Rescued on the Kissimmee River
Manatees travel in most freshwater springs, lakes and rivers in Florida, however they are a rare sighting in the Kissimmee River, especially in the summer! A Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission (FWC) Officer spotted the injured manatee in the southern end of the Kissimmee River that flows into Lake Okeechobee. He contacted the FWC’s Manatee research team that went to the rescue with help from the SFWMD. Two boats with a net stretched between them herded the injured manatee into the net. There were 3 males accompanying the injured female, who was pulled into the boat and rushed to the dock. The team moved the 9 foot manatee from the boat to a box truck which took her to the Lowry Park Zoo in Tampa for treatment for internal bleeding and eventual release.
CES owns a 30-foot US Coast Guard certified, covered pontoon boat, the Kissimmee Explorer that holds a maximum of 16 guests. It is the perfect way to explore the Kissimmee River and learn about Restoration Project. We have a US Coast Guard certified Master Captain and crew that provides interpretive educational programs for secondary students, teachers and adults.