St. Lucie County’s Environmental Resources Department (ERD) is committed to providing County residents with excellent customer service while being vigilant about the CDC’s COVID-19 recommendations. It is our role and responsibility to prioritize two things: the health and well-being of our customers and staff while protecting, preserving, and enhancing St. Lucie County’s environmental resources. To achieve these goals, ERD’s main office, and the Oxbow Eco-Center will be closed to the public, though personnel will still be available to answer phone calls and emails. ERD’s Guided Nature Program series and Earth Day at the Oxbow Eco-Center have been suspended during this time, however, on the bright side, all of our preserves remain open from dawn to dusk every day and are FREE to visit. www.stluciepreserves.com
We appreciate your understanding that as a customer, your experience with ERD may be altered as we navigate this time together.
5400 NE St. James Drive, Port St. Lucie, 34983
What We Are:
The Oxbow Eco-Center is a 225-acre preserve on the North Fork of the St Lucie River. We function as the Environmental Education and Community Outreach Division of St. Lucie County’s Environmental Resources Department. In a partnership between St. Lucie County & South Florida Water Management District, the property was purchased using Environmentally Significant Lands and Save Our Rivers funding. The land is managed and preserved to sustain native wildlife. Boardwalks, pedestrian trails and observation towers allow visitors to fully experience nature without disturbing it!
Trails are open daily from sunrise to sunset. The Oxbow Eco-Center is open Tuesdays-Fridays, 12pm-5pm, and Saturdays 10am-5pm. Dogs are welcome, but must remain on leash. Please pick up after your pets. Bikes are not permitted on trails, but check out other county preserves, as some do allow bikes!
Get involved!Volunteers play an essential role in Oxbow's operations and initiatives. Whether you're looking for ongoing opportunities or a one-time project, check out the volunteer page.
The Eco-Center houses our Exhibit Hall and Discovery Room, and invite you to use all your senses. Touch various artifacts of nature, listen to bird songs, and meet some of Florida’s native reptiles! Our centerpiece exhibit is a life-size diorama of the St. Lucie River that takes you on a journey from its lush freshwater beginnings to the rich biodiversity of the Indian River Lagoon and Atlantic Ocean. Look closely to spot some of your favorite Florida natives…they may be hiding!
Our Discovery Room is home to our Animal Ambassadors and presents various ways to touch, play and explore! Check our calendar for a complete schedule of programs and special events!
Building Green & Being Green
The Oxbow also teaches by example! The Center was constructed using 'green building technologies,' and is a model for sustainability. Passive light design, solar panels, recycled and recyclable materials were used in the Center's construction. In addition, a cistern system captures rainfall to flush the toilets, and the floors are made from salvaged pine trees from the St. Johns River in the early logging days. The building is proof that each of us can lighten our load on the planet and protect our precious natural resources for future generations to come.