Mission and history


It is the specific mission of Rice Creek Field Station to develop, equip, staff, and maintain a facility adequate to carry out a coherent, field oriented program of academic instruction, research, and service in support of the instructional and research needs of SUNY Oswego faculty and students, and in response to the needs of the regional scientific and educational community and the public at large.  

Rice Creek Field Station was featured in the Alumni Association Oswego Magazine Winter 2010 issue.

Rice Creek: A Place of Wonder... and Learning
With acres of fields, miles of trails and a fertile pond, Rice Creek Field Station has been an Oswego gem for four decades. Read more  (PDF) 


Rice Creek Field Station was developed on land that was once farmland. The Oswego landscape at the time of the American Revolution supported tall hardwood forests right down to the shores of Lake Ontario.  In 1797 Asa and Elizabeth Rice and their eight children settled at the mouth of Three Mile Creek, now known as Rice Creek, before moving upstream the next year.  In the early 1800s, others joined their 100 acre settlement, called Union Village, as a farming community began to emerge.  The hamlet of Fruit Valley with its rich traditions of orchards and other cropfields, dairy farms, and pasturelands grew from that early settlement. 

Rice Creek Field Station, a unit of SUNY Oswego, is dedicated to the support of academic instruction, research, and public service in all aspects of natural history, especially the natural sciences and environmental education. The establishment of a biological field station at SUNY Oswego was formally proposed in 1962. Rice Creek Field Station was established in 1965-66 when the original field station building was constructed and Rice Pond was created by construction of a dam on Rice Creek. Rice Creek Field Station formally opened in 1966.

Functional and historical ties with the Biology Department at SUNY Oswego reflect the conviction that understanding of natural history and of mankind's place in this universe has important roots in the biological sciences. At the same time, Rice Creek Field Station embraces a broad view of natural history and strives to provide opportunities for research and learning appropriate to the interests of individuals and groups of all possible backgrounds. 

The Rice Creek Associates Board of Directors issued in 1966 A Plan For Growth, a plan for the development of Rice Creek Field Station. This was followed by a space utilization study in 1997 and an architect's conceptual plan for building expansion in 1998.  In 2008, SUNY Oswego's  plans for the field station's growth began to move forward along with the sciences renovations on campus. In mid- 2012, the year-long construction and upgrades of the field station buildings began.