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Osceola Environmental Center

The Reedy Creek Swamp encompasses thousands of acres of wetlands adjacent to Reedy Creek in northwestern Osceola County. Reedy Creek is a slow moving creek, which drains into Lake Russell, and eventually, through the chain of lakes, into the Kissimmee River, Lake Okeechobee, and the Everglades.

The Osceola Schools Environmental Study Center is a 19-acre segment of this vast ecosystem. In this tiny area otter, deer, turkey, alligators, osprey, herons, woodpeckers and many other bird and animal species have been observed.

Many plants are a part of this particular swamp ecosystem. Major tree species include bald and pond cypress, gum, hickory and ash. Orchids, mosses, epiphytes, and ferns are readily observable from the 1800-foot elevated boardwalk.

There are about a dozen virgin bald cypress trees on the property, which were spared by the logging operations that took place in this swamp during the 1930s, '40s and '50s. These trees are very predominant and tower above the forest canopy. Many of these virgin cypresses contain osprey nests.

The human history of the tract includes the logging operations already mentioned. Many of the stumps are visible as well as large sections of trees that the loggers could not move once the tree was felled. There is also an abandoned railroad grade running through the swamp. This railroad line was used to move the logs from the area. There is also evidence of even earlier human activity in the swamp in the form of Indian shell mounds along the creek bank. One of these mounds is accessible by trail from the center.

The Osceola Environmental Study Center is a unique place. Our use policies are designed to protect the plants and animals in the center as well as provide a quiet place to reflect upon and contemplate the natural world.

Copyright © 2010 The Florida Geographic Alliance