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Cockroach Bay (Photo Credit: Sean Nordquist)

Welcome to the Institute of Florida Studies Field Expeditions Site!

Please read our 2014-2015 Invitation Letter

What are Environmental Studies Centers?
The Environmental Studies Centers are educational entities designed for the study of the ecology, biology, ecosystems, and understanding of the natural areas of Florida. These outdoor centers of learning are used for conducting educational programs which are available, by reservation, to schools, community members, and private groups. Facilities are located at Cockroach Bay, English Creek, and Upper Tampa Bay Park. The Institute’s Program Biologists, Naturalists and other trained staff are available to plan and conduct quality and interesting educational programs and share their perspective on the significance of the environment we live in.

The Institute of Florida Studies takes all field expedition registrations through our online portal.  This portal will allow 24/7 access to reserving trips for schools, as well as providing all necessary documentation and forms.

Click Here to Register

Registration Instructions

Registration and Cancelation Policy

A Field Trip at Cockroach Bay - IFS Program Biologist Pete Rossi
About ESC's


ESC at Cockroach Bay
Site of the original Environmental Studies Center (ESC), Cockroach Bay is one of the few remaining healthy mangrove estuaries in Tampa Bay. Located on the southeastern shore of Tampa Bay, just south of Ruskin, FL this Center features a nature trails, field, and lab equipment, a 24' mullet boat and kayaks for marine exploration, a screened-in outdoor classroom and an air conditioned classroom for lectures, labs, and workshops. Seine nets and benthic sieves are used in the collection of marine organisms for study. Field trips utilizing the ESC boat and kayaks include use of the above mentioned equipment and the use of an otter trawl. Optional equipment includes dip nets, plankton nets, water chemistry, etc. 

Cockroach Bay is located at 4241 Lavender Rd. in Ruskin, FL 33570.

Please read our Guidelines and Policies for Cockroach Bay here.

ESC at English Creek
English Creek is located on 400 acres in eastern Hillsborough County, just east of Plant City, FL. Four distinct plant communities co-exist and can be visited at the English Creek ESC: Open grasslands, mesic flatwoods, upland mixed forest, and bottomland forest. The creek for which this Environmental Center is named meanders through the property, offering opportunities for activities ranging from water sampling to aquatic organism collecting. A small spring and pond are also available for activities at the Center. Elevated boardwalks offer visitors panoramic view of the communities found here. Foot paths are an option for those wanting a closer, more detailed, look at the inhabitants of the English Creek ESC.

English Creek is located at 2950 E State Road 60 in Plant City, FL 33567.

Please read out Guidelines and Policies for English Creek here.

ESC at Upper Tampa Bay
Situated on the northern shore of Tampa Bay, this Center is located just west of the Town and Country area. This 600 acre Hillsborough County Park is a natural area containing six distinct plant communities: flatwoods, wet prairies, salt barrens, seagrass beds, mangrove forest, and salt marshes. A classroom/lab building allows for on-site study as does the interpretive building with its exhibits and displays. The presence of extensive marine wetlands lends itself to seining, sieving and a host of other marine activities.

Please read our Guidelines and Policies for Upper Tampa Bay Park here.

To reserve a trip for your group, please contact us.

Required forms:

UTB01CRB03